Lift trucks: Simplifying maintenance

Rawlings revisited lift truck maintenance in its central distribution facility, increasing up-time and efficiency.

By ·

Eight years ago, managers realized they had a problem at the central distribution facility for Rawlings, where they managed 40,000 inventory lines of sporting equipment and apparel. As the company had grown, its fleet had been expanded piecemeal, resulting in a hodgepodge of equipment providers and a maintenance department scrambling to keep up.

Mike Campbell, senior director of distribution at the 480,000-square-foot Rawlings distribution center in Washington, Missouri, said the decision was made to contract for outsourced maintenance services. Rawlings partnered with Heubel Material Handling, a member of the Raymond Corporation’s dealer network, to implement Raymond’s consultative approach for providing support.

“Our overall impression is outstanding,” said Campbell. “I would not go on record if I didn’t genuinely appreciate how this has worked out.”

Terrie Semsch, safety manager at the facility, said that before outsourcing maintenance the facility experienced lots of downtime and much less efficiency.

“We went for days sometimes without a mechanic being able to make repairs,” she says. “Now within a few hours we have someone working on it. We have virtually no downtime.”

The company initially outsourced all of its maintenance needs, before settling on a roughly 80/20 split of outsourced to in-house services. The company’s two full-time maintenance personnel now work side-by-side with Heubel technicians to service the facility’s 60-truck fleet. The on-site parts cabinet is stocked and monitored by Heubel, and Rawlings is only billed for parts as they are used.

Since the agreement, Rawlings has also standardized the lift truck equipment in the facility, slimming from eight lift truck suppliers to just two. The move has simplified the efforts of maintenance personnel, who previously had to juggle parts and knowledge of a variety of brands.

“That was the way we lived eight years ago, when utilization was about 65 to 70 percent,” said Campbell. “There were horrible issues with competitors before we transitioned to a contract service agreement. Now our utilization is at about 98 percent.”

Long term lift truck maintenance
Tired of throwing good money after bad, fleet managers are turning to training, technology, and dealer support to better understand when to replace, repair or retire.


About the Author

Josh Bond, Senior Editor
Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Mobile Solutions: Improving Supply Chain Efficiencies
To meet customer's ever-increasing service expectations and improve their business efficiency, companies are looking to their supply chain operations – especially material handling and warehouse operations managers.
Download Today!
From the January 2017 Issue
The lighting manufacturer reaped savings by reducing maintenance costs and product damage, and using labor more productively. The bottom line: A two-year ROI.
Double Up on Labor Efficiencies
7 Warehouse E-commerce Best Practices for 2017
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2016 Warehouse/DC Operations Webcast: Confronting omni-channel complexity
During this webcast we’ll examine the current activities, trends, and best practices in warehouse and DC operations management and how companies plan to address complex issues associate with omni-channel fulfillment.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Using AGVs at LEDVANCE
The lighting manufacturer reaped savings by reducing maintenance costs and product damage, and using...
System Report: Sustainable Distribution at REI
Specialty outdoor retailer REI’s new distribution center brings together the next generation of...

System Report: Whirpool puts mobile robots to work
In Whirlpool Corp.’s Clyde, Ohio, factory, mobile robots have automated the delivery of parts to...
Modern Materials Handling’s 2017 Casebook Collection
The 2017 Casebook features more than 35 case studies that put the spotlight on successful innovation...