Lift truck user survey: How customers acquire, maintain and replenish their fleets
April 01, 2012 - MMH Editorial
How does the economy impact fleet acquisition?
Time is money, and, especially since the recession, decisions based on future business conditions can be difficult. The survey results grant some insight into the impact of the economy on fleet acquisition, with more than half of respondents saying the economy influences their decisions either to some extent or to great extent.
“The economy is a barometer, and it’s more about emotion,” says McKean. Generally speaking, the lift truck market will grow or contract in direct proportion to the state of the economy. But for those customers who claim the economy has little or no impact on their fleet acquisition, one of two things might be happening. The customer might be on a fixed replacement cycle and is comfortable having idle trucks during slow times.
“No one ever complains when the lift truck is parked,” says McKean. “They complain when it’s not there.”
Or perhaps the customer’s acquisition habits are based on fleet management data, or considerations of the core fleet and seasonal fleet.
“Folks who fleet manage might not make wait-and-see decisions or might not consider the economy the direct driver of acquisitions,” says McKean, who says good data can prompt seemingly counter-intuitive buying decisions in an economic downturn. “Say for instance the maintenance costs are up on a high-use lift truck when the economy suddenly slows. A wait-and-see customer might have a hard time justifying the cost to replace that vehicle, but a company with a well-managed fleet will be able to see the savings that purchase can produce.”