Alexander Baal is director of sales operations at Jungheinrich UK.
Rental, along with used forklift trucks, is now seen as a compelling solution for businesses and there is no doubt that many are beginning to rethink the way rental can be used both tactically and strategically - providing both short- term cover to manage volatility and supplementing fleets for a longer term.
With rental being considered as an alternative to three- to five-year contracts, or as an option to work alongside these traditional contracts, here are three key considerations businesses should keep in mind when looking to rent rather than buy a forklift truck.
1. How can a rental contract help my business?
Hiring forklifts is a cost-effective way of managing materials handling equipment demand during peak periods. What is specific to the rental market is that there is no need for businesses to worry about interest, depreciation, insurance premiums or service costs.
At Jungheinrich, for example, we offer break clauses in contracts and trucks can be returned at any point during 12 months. The majority of our rental fleet is also less than two years old and is regularly updated to ensure maximum levels of performance and reliability. This means that businesses benefit from efficient, up to date technology whenever it is needed.
2. How long does it take for rental trucks to arrive?
For organisations across distribution, logistics and transport, manufacturing, construction, wholesale and retail, rental plays a key role in managing exceptions - from peak demands to seasonal fluctuations. There is growing demand for faster access to trucks to manage demand volatility and the seven-day wait that is often in place across the materials handling market does not offer the required speed of response.
Fast delivery times and cost are of near-equal importance when it comes to hiring a truck and the majority of businesses would benefit from quicker delivery of hired forklifts.
3. Why is the use of telematics in rental trucks so beneficial to my business?
Technological innovation is key to meeting new expectations for faster delivery, on-demand usage and 24x7 operations. One of the most significant changes in the warehouse and logistics market has been the strong interest in a rental model predicted on truck usage - based on telematics data - rather than a fixed-term agreement. Such confidence in telematics data is reinforcing the way organisations are increasingly exploring technology to drive innovation in so many areas, including the Internet of Things (IoT) - and equipment rental should be no different.
When telematics is used in combination with GPS, businesses have an increased level of security, as trucks can be located on a map and quickly recovered should they appear in an unexpected location. Analysing telematics data also allows for preventative maintenance programmes to be implemented, so a vehicle can trigger repair work as required, rather than adhering to time-based schedules or arranging unnecessary maintenance. This results in minimal downtime and avoids disruptive failures or outages.
Opportunities to release working capital, scale up and down without risk, find ways to respond to customer demands and explore technology innovation without long-term commitment are business critical.
A forklift fleet operator must be prepared for all eventualities, whether that's for technological, procedural or economic reasons, or to address short-term or country-specific requirements.
When looking at options to rent forklift trucks, businesses need to ensure that the supplier they choose is able to work collaboratively with them and is able to support them with the new pace of operations and demand patterns that are putting pressure on lead times. If businesses want to remain competitive and be able to future-proof their business, it has never been more important to make sure that additional flexibility is being built into their business model.