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The latest tips and advice on forklifts, materials handling and industry efficiency.

How Hiring the Right Forklift Driver Can Impact Your Productivity

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If your business needs to move goods from one place to another, there is a high likelihood that you will have a forklift to do it. But, having a good forklift driver can have a massive impact on productivity in your business. There are qualities you need to keep in mind when hiring a forklift driver so that they can meet your expectations.

How does a good forklift driver impact your business?

The difference between a good forklift driver and a bad one can mean thousands of dollars of difference to your bottom line. It is important to know what qualities to look out for, so you can have peace of mind that your products and equipment will be handled with the highest standard, and that they will exercise safety requirements daily. Otherwise, you could be left with costly damage to your products and equipment, and be open for liability.

A good forklift driver will:

Implement safe driving practices

A well trained forklift driver will always operate the forklift safely. The little things can add up quickly, such as unnecessary spinning of the front drive tyres that can cause the tyres to wear quicker than normal, making it necessary to change them as a cost to your business. Unnecessary braking can also cause wear and tear to the forklift, again meaning your business will have downtime and repair costs.

A good forklift driver will always drive safely and carefully, ensuring that the forklift and your business products are well looked after while taking into account the safety of others.

Always look for the most efficient procedure to load and unload

Loads come in all different shapes and sizes, with no two loads ever loaded exactly the same. A well-trained forklift driver will always take the time to inspect the load before trying to unload.

Taking that time to inspect the load can be the difference between your products being safely unloaded and your products being damaged.

Effectively communicate to all

Effective communication is crucial in any business to ensure smooth operations. A good forklift driver knows and understands this, and will communicate to everyone. It’s important to notify pedestrians that might walk in front of a forklift that it is unloading. Forklift drivers will communicate to supervisors regarding potential safety hazards and service related issues that the forklift might need attention.

More importantly, a good forklift driver will communicate with a stakeholder, which is the main point of contact between where the load is and where the load needs to be moved to.

Always adapt to the surrounding environment

Environments can change quickly. It’s important that a well trained forklift driver knows how to assess the environment that they might be operating a forklift in. If they work outside, they need to be able to assess changes in weather and how it might affect the forklift, including the loading and unloading of products. Unloading in windy conditions might necessitate additional care and restraints when operating the forklift.

If a forklift is operating inside, they might need to allow for pedestrians walking through a warehouse. Forklifts are equipped with safety devices such as horns, flashing lights and reversing alarms, which drivers can utilize to notify pedestrians of their surroundings. They are particularly useful within high traffic areas. This prevents accidents from happening in the workplace and ensures pedestrian and driver safety. Whatever the environmental changes might be, a forklift driver is able to assess those changes and adapt to how they need to operate the forklift.

Take care of the equipment

A good forklift driver will take care of their forklift as if they own it. Having a forklift driver that treats the forklift as if they own it can save your business thousands in repairs and maintenance costs each year.

If they take care of the forklift by doing simple things like operator prestarts and reporting small things before they become a big problem, they minimise the risk of the forklift breaking down and impacting warehouse productivity due to forklift down time.

Things like taking care in either washing or wiping down the forklift regularly keeps dust at bay, which also helps with servicing.

How does a bad forklift driver impact your business?

A bad forklift driver will:

  • Disregard speed limits. Whether it happens as a consequence of a lack of knowledge or interest, this is not a good sign of professional work conduct. Usually this type of behaviour can result in damaged forklift or avoidable injury.
  • Take the longest way to load or unload. These types of operators know how to drag out loading or unloading, ensuring maximum time cost to your business. It can cause flow-on costs as well if products are late being delivered. This can lead to a domino effect and cause other deliveries to be late. This can even eventually have an effect on the business reputation if it happens frequently.
  • Fail to prioritise good communication. A bad forklift driver will know if there is something wrong with the forklift, and think that it’s ok to not tell anyone. Instead, they’ll wait for something to go wrong or for someone else to find it. These types of forklift drivers can cause excessive cost and downtime to your business operation.
  • Never stop to look at the environment. Operating environments change all the time, and a bad forklift operator will never slow down long enough to notice, no matter where they are. This type of reckless forklift driving can potentially cause unnecessary damage to products, forklifts and property.
  • Overlook the right procedures needed to care for equipment. One area that a forklift driver can affect your business productivity is by not taking care of your forklift. If they don’t look after it, the forklift will start to break down more frequently, causing delays and costs to your business.

Finding the right partners for forklift driver hire

Simple things like the above make a huge difference to your business and the productivity that comes with having a well trained, licensed forklift driver. It is important to choose a forklift driver who is trained when there are major changes, such as a reorganised warehouse, a change in machinery and pedestrian traffic flow, or legislative requirements.

At Lencrow Forklifts, we pride ourselves on the employing & training superior forklift operators. With more than 40 years’ experience, our fork and driver hire offers highly experienced ready to take on any workload. Call us on 1300 516 431 today to speak to one of our experienced team members.

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