While planned preventative maintenance and repairs for your industrial batteries can be a big expense, they are a necessary one that should be prioritized and included in your warehouse budget.
In fact, if you ignore these initiatives thinking it will help you to cut immediate costs, it will end up costing you much more in the long run. How? We are here to breakdown why forklift battery maintenance is so important, the hidden costs of overlooking it, and tips for improving your battery maintenance program!
Why is Forklift Battery Maintenance so Important?
You rely on your forklifts to move the inventory that drives revenue for your business. So, keeping them fully operational is essential for warehouse optimization, long-term efficiency, and business success. This starts with proper battery maintenance. After all, industrial batteries are the power behind your forklifts—without them, your valuable motive power equipment will be left sitting idle.
When you prioritize planned preventative maintenance and quickly make the necessary repairs to your industrial batteries and chargers, you are getting the most out of your investment in expensive motive power equipment, inventory, and warehouse storage space.
The Hidden Costs of Poor Forklift Battery Maintenance
It’s clear you need functioning industrial batteries to power your forklifts and keep business moving forward. However, there are also many hidden costs of poor forklift battery maintenance that may not be as obvious, and can end up being detrimental to your warehouse operations over time. Here are a few examples:
Reduced Productivity and Increased Equipment Downtime
If you think battery maintenance doesn’t have much of an impact on your warehouse operations, think again. Poor battery maintenance can drastically impact productivity and efficiency throughout your entire warehouse. If your industrial batteries are not fully charged and functional when you need them, forklift capacity is reduced and maximum power cannot be utilized. This slows down processes and means your employees won’t have the tools they need to do their job to the best of their ability.
Plus, when poorly-maintained batteries are taking longer than normal to charge, or employees have to keep stopping in the middle of their work to switch out faulty batteries, it results in increased downtime. This can negatively affect your profit margins, cause frustration among your employees, and create a ripple effect throughout your entire organization.
For example, if increased downtime means your forklifts are moving less inventory per shift, that could delay shipments and deliveries to your customers—which could cause them to leave negative reviews about your business or stop purchasing from you altogether.
Higher Battery Repair Costs
It’s simple to brush off your battery maintenance program and think, “I’ll just handle battery repairs later so I can allocate that budget to more important things now.” In reality, prioritizing battery maintenance is one of the most important things you can do to boost overall warehouse optimization. By conducting routine planned preventative maintenance, you’ll be able to identify when smaller repairs are necessary and quickly make them before they turn into bigger, more expensive problems.
For example, if industrial batteries aren’t properly maintained, they can corrode or become so damaged that they won’t be able to properly power a forklift. If you ignore these problems, you’ll have to replace your forklift batteries more frequently, which drives up the total cost of ownership (TCO) of your warehouse’s motive power fleet.
But, if you’re regularly checking your batteries for maintenance issues, you would be able to identify which batteries need cleaning, preventing them from becoming further sulfated or corroded. This will prolong their useful life, saving you from having to buy a completely new battery sooner than anticipated.
Risk for Workplace Injuries
Ignoring battery maintenance doesn’t just affect your warehouse operations, productivity, and revenue—it also affects warehouse safety that can put your employees at serious risk for injuries. Lead acid electric forklift batteries can be dangerous to handle if they aren’t properly charged and maintained, and if an industrial battery is overfilled or incorrectly charged, electrolytic fluid can spill and cause serious burns. Additionally, forklift operators are put at risk when their machines have malfunctioning batteries that can cause operational problems.
Unsafe working conditions can cause a lot of problems for your entire business. If your employees are worried about their safety, they’ll be slowed down and unable to do their job confidently. Eventually, this could lead to high staff turnover if the problem gets so bad that your employees are quitting to work for a competitor with safer working conditions. Plus, if an employee is injured on the job, you’ll have to pay higher worker’s compensation fees, and be faced with potential legal and insurance fees.
Forklift Battery Maintenance Tips for Warehouse Optimization
Now that you know why forklift battery maintenance is so important, you might be ready to transform your warehouse’s battery maintenance program. Here are a few battery maintenance tips that help get you started.
Be Aware of OSHA Regulations
There is a laundry list of OSHA regulations when it comes to using, charging, changing, storing, and maintaining industrial batteries. Make sure you are aware of these standards and following them throughout your warehouse. Being OSHA compliant and implementing the right battery safety equipment is essential if you want to avoid penalties and fines, protect your employees, and get the most out of your industrial batteries, chargers, and forklifts.
Invest in Industrial Battery Training and Education
Educating warehouse management and employees about best practices when it comes to using and maintaining industrial batteries is an essential part of any battery maintenance program. That’s why SSE offers both on and off-site battery and charger training classes taught by our motive power expert technicians. With our training and tips, your entire staff will be empowered to maximize usable battery life, improve safety conditions, and prevent expensive repairs due to premature battery failure.
Turn to the Experts for Guidance and Assistance
As a warehouse manager, you already have a lot going on. So, if you want to have the most effective battery maintenance program and practice the best warehouse maintenance habits, it can be helpful to turn to the professionals. They’ll have the knowledge and experience necessary to help you come up with the maintenance plan that fits your unique needs, then help you carry it out with confidence.
At Southern States Enterprises, our motive power experts are ready to help you form the maintenance strategy that works best for your warehouse. We even conduct battery safety surveys to provide you with a written checklist on the condition of every battery in your fleet and what repair or replacement services are needed. Then our on-site service technicians are available 24/7 to handle any battery repairs and install new equipment.