• What is Your Turn Out Strategy?

    “Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” – Harvey Mackay

    Time, it’s the one resource we are all given an equal amount of every single day. Each day our time account is filled with 86,400 seconds and every day we drain the account completely empty, only to have it refilled once again the next day.

    A key difference between successful companies and unsuccessful companies is how they use their 86,400 seconds. It is essential to spend every day as efficient as possible to make the most out of those valuable seconds we are all given at the start of everyday.

    Mobile equipment plays an integral role in the efficiency of your operation by contributing to your overall productivity. The right equipment will enhance your efficiency and offer a certain Value Per Hour (VPH) which in turn will improve your bottom line. But even the right equipment has an opportune life cycle which is why having a proper turnout strategy is so critical.

    So, what’s your strategy?                                                                    

    What is Your Turn Out Strategy?Do you have a set interval for replacing equipment based on a total cost per hour? Or is equipment replaced based on looking at the oldest equipment in the fleet and using a gut feeling to pick the worst of the lot? The majority of companies I speak with use option number 2 simply because they have “always done it that way”. The problem is, most of said companies have grown significantly since their inception and managing equipment has become a much larger task than it was originally.

    Fortunately, there are best practices for creating a turnout strategy for your equipment. First, we need to understand the total lifetime costs associated with operating equipment and only then can we develop an optimum turnout time. At the end of the article, I’ll explain some of the challenges with managing costs and then show you a strategy which allows you to focus on your core business while your equipment is operating seamlessly in the background.

    Total Costs

    Did you know the price tag on equipment doesn’t come close to covering the total lifetime cost of the machine? In fact, the initial acquisition cost typically only equates to 25% of a machines life cycle cost. Here is the total cost equation and all of the components that cost you money over the life of a machine.

    Acquisition Costs
    Preventative Maintenance Costs
    √ Service and Repair Costs
    Downtime Costs
    Intangible Costs
    Less Residual Value

    Arguably the most significant costs out of the above list are the downtime costs associated with an inoperable machine. The cost of downtime reaches out far past the equipment itself and can have a detrimental effect on the production of your facility. Think about the number of people who are tied up when a machine goes down, even for a small period of time? Or the number of machines you keep as spares just to mitigate the risk of lost production? These are all added costs that are associated with downtime as a result of aging equipment which should ultimately be replaced.

    In addition to downtime, the remaining costs all contribute to the lifetime cost of a piece of equipment. It’s imperative to understand what you can expect to spend on your equipment above and beyond the initial purchase price.

    Aside from the initial acquisition costs, the remaining items all increase over time as the machine ages and major component repairs are required. This is where it becomes clear how important it is to have a thorough understanding of the application before purchasing equipment. There are many variables to consider when determine when to pull the trigger and update your fleet.

    Optimum Turnout Time

    If your mobile equipment costs are going to increase over time, how do you know when it’s finally time to replace? It all depends. Every application is different. Some facilities operate 24 hours per day, 7 days per week whereas others might only use their equipment for an hour or two per day. There is no “one size fits all plan” and anyone who tries to convince you of that is flat out lying.

    There is, however, a formula to calculate the optimum turnout time and it works for every application. The trick is to look internally at your own costs and turn out your equipment when it’s at its lowest average cost.

    So, how is this determined?

    The chart below is an example of the depreciation and maintenance costs on a large forklift. Notice any trends?

    Turn Out Strategy Graph

    You can see how, in the first year, maintenance costs are very low with an average cost of around $650/month. But have a look at the depreciation; it’s the highest in the first year in order to account for the initial drop in fair market value. In the second year depreciation slows down and by year 4 the monthly depreciation costs levels out.

    On the contrary, the line showing maintenance costs is getting steeper as the machine ages and expensive major components need replacement. The main difference between depreciation and maintenance is that eventually, the depreciation stops when the machine no longer has a value on your books. Unfortunately, the maintenance costs will continue to increase without an end in sight.

    The best time to replace the machine? When the costs are at their lowest monthly average of course! This is when the equipment is costing you the least amount of money and the risk of downtime is still manageable. If the machine has been depreciated to match market value, you’ll be able to sell it without taking a loss on your books and carry on to the new replacement. Sounds easy, right?

    Challenges Managing Total Costs

    Unfortunately, this can be easier said than done. There are a number of challenges in trying to manage total costs and truly create a cost effective turnout strategy.

    Depending on how costs are allocated within your company, it can be challenging to determine how much a machine is actually costing you. There are so many ways costs can be shuffled around to skew the picture and give the illusion of a lower operating cost on a machine. It’s also hard to track costs like downtime, administrative costs (cutting a PO), and supervision requirements.

    Even if you do a great job of tracking your costs right down to the penny, you’re still going to have to justify why your capital requirements are more important than your colleagues. This is especially true when times are tough and cash flow becomes increasingly important.

    Worst of all, what if you realize the machine needs to be replaced but it’s sitting on your books for a value which is way above the fair market value? Chances are you’re accountants will want you to keep it around as a spare or take on a large expense to keep it up and running until the book value is down.

    Bringing ​It ​All Together

    What is Your Turn Out Strategy?At the end of the day, your core business probably isn’t mobile equipment, and that’s okay! The key is understanding your strengths and more importantly, looking for areas to pass responsibility to an expert. Every good manager knows the key to efficiency is delegation, and the same goes for your mobile equipment fleet.

    In my article 4 Methods of Equipment Acquisition I discussed the method of Fleet Management. To refresh your memory, fleet management allows you to pass the responsibility of managing your mobile equipment over to the experts at Leavitt Machinery so you can focus on your core business.

    We eat, sleep, and breathe mobile equipment and have seen firsthand what works and what doesn’t. Our ability to understand fair market value means we can accurately depreciate and turnout your equipment at the optimal time. The goal of the program is to keep your total lifetime costs of the equipment to a minimum while also minimizing the risk of any downtime or lost production. You don’t have to worry about unexpected costs, old equipment, or even dishing out large amounts of capital year after year.

    Your cash can be used towards other projects and you don’t even have to think about an optimum turn out time because we monitor it all for you. Not only do we monitor the turnout, we conduct quarterly meetings to find areas of improvement and we can make adjustments to the term if it looks like a change is required. The program is designed to meet your specific needs, no matter what they are and ultimately reduce your operating expenses.

    Mobile equipment is a necessary evil to keep your business running, why not let someone else take care of the headache for you?

    If you’re interested in learning more about fleet management or any of the services offered by Leavitt Machinery, please give us a call at 1-866-LEAVITT or click here to ​email us directly.

    Thanks for reading, have a safe day!

    Ace Coustol | Territory Manager Prince George, BCAce Coustol
    Northern BC Territory Manager
    Direct: (250) 645-2800 | Cell: (250) 640-0027
    Leavitt Machinery
    View Karen Lally's profile on LinkedIn
  • Sweep or Scrub Basics

    Which Floor-cleaning Approach Fits Your Application

    Sweep or Scrub? Sweeper/ScrubbersThere are numerous reasons for sweeping or scrubbing floors in a plant or warehouse – increased productivity, worker safety, and product contamination. Not to mention protecting the floor surface and maintaining a quality image.

    On average, a manufacturing plant spends 931,850 hours per year maintaining floor surfaces – 551,984 of those hours are spent sweeping and 379,554 hours are spent scrubbing, with the remaining hours spent polishing or resurfacing.

    When you consider costs to clean, a manufacturing facility spends, on average, $3.05 annually per square foot on maintenance, with labor accounting for over 90% of total floor-cleaning costs. That's why it's essential to find a floor-cleaning approach that not only meets your facility's cleaning requirements but also helps increase your productivity – both in time and labor. However, determining whether to sweep, scrub or both – and what type of equipment to use based on your cleaning needs is not the straightforward decision it might seem.


    Here are some initial factors to consider when determining whether sweeping, scrubbing or a combination of both is best for your plant or warehouse.

    •  The size of dirt and debris particles generated
    •  The amount of dirt and debris generated
    •  The character of the dirt (fibrous, oily, dusty, wet)
    •  The type of floor surface (tile, bare concrete, coated concrete, outdoor, etc.)
    • A definition of what constitutes “clean” for your facility

    Sweep or Scrub? Scrubbers“Clean” can mean anything from getting rid of chunks of dirt on the floor to creating a shiny, scuff-free surface. Your facility's cleanliness goal will be a factor in your equipment choice. For example, if “clean” means getting rid of forklift tire marks and other stains in addition to dust and debris, then your cleaning process will have to include scrubbing as well as sweeping.

    After you assess the size and amount of dirt and debris to be removed, your primary decision is “sweep or scrub.” This decision is not always straightforward. For example, if the material to be cleaned is mostly fine dust, it would seem that a sweeper would be the ideal tool to remove it. But the best way to handle dust is to “add water,” which in turn eliminates your dust problem; this means a scrubber may actually be the better equipment choice.





    Light, bulky debris



    Heavy or wet debris



    Dust control

    Oil or grease



    Floor marks



    Light debris, plus oil or grease




    Once you have matched the general type of debris in your facility to the type of sweeper to handle the job, your next step is to determine the size and mode of equipment you need. Check back next week when I discuss how to select the size and mode of sweeper based on your facility’s needs.

    Learn more about this on Brad's LinkedIn blog or speak with him directly.

    Brad Neufeld | Speciality ProductsBrad Neufeld
    ​Specialty Products Manager For BC
    Direct: (​604) ​472-​3558| Cell: (​604) ​349-​0810
    Leavitt Machinery
    View Karen Lally's profile on LinkedIn

  • The 4 Methods of Equipment Acquisition

    The end of the year is approaching quickly and you may be in the midst of planning your budget for 2016. If you’re looking at purchasing new equipment, you’re probably wondering about how you should acquire it. Many factors play into this decision and it can be taxing trying to decide which method is best for your particular position.

    I’m going to explore the 4 options we provide and explain both the benefits and downfalls to each method. At the end of the article, I’ll provide some questions to ask yourself which will help you determine which avenue you’d like to pursue.

    Benefits of Buying

    Buying a machine basically means converting cash to an asset on your balance sheet. This can be a good decision if your company has a healthy amount of cash and is looking to add to their assets. In owning an asset, the machine is always available to you and you are able to do with it as you please which gives great flexibility.

    In terms of overall cost, purchasing for cash with be the lowest cost of acquisition because you don’t have to pay any interest and you can extend your depreciation schedule to whatever you please. If you don’t plan to use the machine very often, you can spread this cost out over a longer period of time.

    Another benefit to a cash purchase is the ability to customize the machine to your own unique needs. The specifications can be adjusted for your application and once on site, you are free to customize the machine however you feel. Want to add a rockin’ stereo and a paint job? No problem, the equipment is yours to do as you please.

    Downfalls to Buying

    Laying out cash for equipment does have it benefits, but there is a downside to buying equipment outright. First off, in many cases it requires a large capital investment which is going to reduce your available cash flow. If you’re planning on a major expansion or another acquisition in the near future, this could potentially limit your ability to do so.

    This method also means you are entirely responsible for the equipment including any maintenance, repairs, liabilities, and management which can be time consuming. Setting a depreciation schedule is great when you can extend it, but what happens when the machine only lasts half as long as you anticipated and it’s still sitting on your books at a high cost?

    Needs of a business may also change as well and it’s difficult to change equipment when you have a lot invested into it. While buying equipment does eliminate interest costs, there are some intangible costs which can make life difficult if not properly accounted for.

    Benefits of Leasing

    Leasing is a good option when you’re looking to keep the equipment long term but you also want to conserve cash flow. Leasing is typically used as a form of financing by providing a small buyout at the end of the term and offers a lower monthly rate than a rental options. Given the current interest rates available, leasing offers the lowest monthly rate of any method of acquisition. Operating leases can be offered under certain circumstances and can be tax deductible.

    Leasing makes acquiring new, more expensive equipment available to more companies, especially when cash is tight and allows you to run higher quality equipment which will be less likely to require repair. The accounting and budget management is simplified by only having one payment to think about.

    Downfall to Leasing

    Does your company have a solid credit history? If you’re new in business or you’ve gone through some rough financial times, you might have trouble qualifying for a lease. In some cases, you might be approved but the terms will not be favorable given a high interest rate or significant down payment.

    Leasing also requires commitment to a set term with limited to no options of early cancellation or payout. This can make changing out equipment difficult as your business requirements change and new variables are added.

    While leasing offers the lowest monthly cost when compared to the next 2 methods, there is still a cost to borrowing money. You’re also still obligated to pay even if you’re not using the equipment. If times are tough and business is slow, the lease rate continues on at the same rate no matter how much revenue you’re bringing in.

    Benefits of Renting

    When you’ve got short term equipment requirements and need flexibility, renting is the way to go. This option allows you to use only the equipment you need, for how long you need it. If your needs on the job change, you can call off the rental or change to a different machine usually within a day or two. The machines are typically available on short notice and you don’t have to worry about any storage or warehousing costs while the equipment isn’t being used.

    Most rental machines also include planned maintenance if you’re working on a local site. This reduces maintenance costs and eliminates one component you need to plan for. Further to this, downtime is also significantly reduced by operating a new rental fleet. 88% of Leavitt Machinery’s rental fleet is model year 2012 or newer so you know you’ll be renting a quality machine which won’t be breaking down and costing you money.

    Renting also allows you to cut capital costs and instead, operate equipment as a monthly expense. This not only increases cash flow, but can also have significant tax benefits at the end of the year. The monthly expense is adjusted depending on the duration of the rental, further reducing monthly costs which will benefit your bottom line.

    Downfall to Renting

    Convenience comes at a cost; this is why a short term rental is typically the most expensive option over time. This can be reduced when renting over a longer period of time, but it won’t come close to a capital lease when looking at a longer term. The monthly rental payment also builds no equity so, while you’re taking advantage of the tax benefits, your balance sheet’s asset value will not improve.

    When the economy is booming and projects are starting, rental equipment availability can be limited and isn’t always guaranteed. This means you might have to settle for a machine which is one size smaller or larger than what you originally intended. Specialty requests can be difficult to find depending on the machine required and specs might not always be an exact match to what you requested. This isn’t always the case and exceptions can be made in certain circumstances, but it’s not always guaranteed.

    If you have a special situation where a specific machine is required, let us know here and we can work through the options and create a solution for you.

    Benefits of Fleet Management

    Our fleet management program offers the tax benefits of renting, with the customization capabilities of buying or leasing. This method has been developed by Leavitt Machinery as a comprehensive way to reduce total operating costs and is tailored specifically to each customer’s application.

    With this program, the responsibility to manage your equipment is on us and in return, you pay one monthly payment for easy budgeting. This also eliminates the risk of unforeseen costs such as improper depreciation, major component failure, lost productivity, and unexpected maintenance repairs on old equipment.

    Similar to renting, fleet management is a fully tax deductible operating expense however; this method can accommodate specialty equipment required for unique or specialized situations. Cash flow is conserved, and you are able to operate the latest technology without any carrying costs for your equipment.

    The rates are typically less than renting as they are adjusted to meet your specific usage and they can also accommodate a number of different options. Some of these items include equipment maintenance, annual nondestructive testing (NDT), tire replacement, battery replacement, extended warranties, and even custom attachments for your machine. Managing equipment probably isn’t your core business, Fleet Management takes this responsibility off your to-do list and allows the experts at Leavitt Machinery to take care of it all for you.

    Downfall to Fleet Management

    As with any method, there are some downsides to fleet management. First of all, you must commit to a given term. This is usually determined with the help of your account manager by determining the optimal turnout time for each specific piece of equipment. In an application where the machines experience a higher utilization, the term will be shortened and thus a higher monthly rate will be applied. While this will reduce total costs over time, it can be a bit of a shock if you’ve been using a longer depreciation schedule prior to this.

    With this method you also don’t build equity in to the machine, similar to renting. With that being said, the goal of the program is to reduce your total operating costs of your equipment by taking into account the cost of buying, depreciation, maintenance, and intangible costs. So while this may seem like a downfall at first, your total costs will be decreased over time and you won’t need to dish out the capital for equipment every year.

    Which option is best for you?

    While every option has their pros and cons, the fact is the right method will ultimately depend on your own unique situation. When deciding on a method, dig deep and ask yourself questions to find the best fit:

    1. Are my needs constantly changing?
    2. Could I better use capital towards other projects?
    3. How long will I need the equipment?
    4. Is my equipment meeting my needs?
    5. Do I value convenience over cost?

    These are just a few questions to ask but they will help drill down and determine which method is the best fit. A customer in a highly volatile and unpredictable business might prefer short term rentals whereas a company with strong mechanical abilities and a healthy cash flow will prefer buying. In the end, it all depends on your situation.

    Every business is unique and has their own distinct needs. No matter which method you choose, it’s important to work with a company who understands this and can develop a plan which works for your situation.

    If you have questions or would like further information on the described methods, give us a call and one of our trained account managers will be happy to help or you can leave a comment below. If you enjoyed the post, I always appreciate help from my connections to spread the word by emailing it to a friend, or sharing on Facebook, twitter, or LinkedIn.

    Thank you!

    Ace Coustol | Territory Manager Prince George, BCAce Coustol
    Northern BC Territory Manager
    Direct: (250) 645-2800 | Cell: (250) 640-0027
    Leavitt Machinery
    View Karen Lally's profile on LinkedIn
  • 5 Tips for Operating Equipment in Cold Weather

    Winter is a cruel mistress whose cold shoulder can wreak havoc on your equipment if the necessary precautions are not taken. Fortunately, there are many starting and operating aids to help warm the cold soul of Mother Nature. These aids for starting include block heaters, battery blankets, hydraulic tank heaters, and oil pan heaters. While the use of these aids will help, they are not enough to prevent breakdowns in the harsh northern winters.

    We have developed the following 5 step process to not only warm the engine, but also the entire hydraulic system and drive train to prevent down time and keep your equipment hard at work.

    1. Allow the equipment to run for a minimum of ten minutes before operating any other functions. This step will warm up the engine and get it ready to start working in the other components.

    2. Work the hydraulics slowly in and out, progressively stroking the cylinders further until all cylinders have been fully extended and retracted. Make sure this is done with all functions of the machine including any auxiliary functions. REMEMBER: Hydraulic fluids will NOT warm up at engine idle, the oil must be warmed up by slowly operating the functions.

    3. Slowly rotate hydraulic drive motors on the wheels in both directions for hydro-static drive and hydraulic swing motors on the turret of manlifts.

    4. The transmission, drop boxes, differentials and planetary compartments must also be warmed up. Slowly exercise the drive system by traveling in forward or reverse slowly. This will work the components, put heat in the oil and subsequently the metal components themselves.

    5. Gently drive the machine and work the hydraulics until reaching full speed. This will not only warm up the metal and oils, but also ensures the seals do not obtain too much stress and ultimately fail.

    Here’s a few reasons why these steps should be taken:

    • Reduce oil leaks
    • Decrease hose failure
    • Increase equipment up time
    • Improve productivity

    Forget to follow these steps? No problem! Give Leavitt Machinery a call and one of our factory trained technicians will be on site to get you up and running right away.

    Here's a picture you can use as a reminder this winter when you're on the job site:

    Cold Weather Start Infographic

    Read Ace's other blog posts on his LinkedIn blog or speak with him directly.

    Ace Coustol | Territory Manager Prince George, BCAce Coustol
    Northern BC Territory Manager
    Direct: (250) 645-2800 | Cell: (250) 640-0027
    Leavitt Machinery
    View Karen Lally's profile on LinkedIn
  • Why You Should be Considering Electric Forklifts

    Check out this LinkedIn Blog series by Ace Coustol.

    Let’s face it, these days vehicle technology is changing and improving so rapidly that it’s hard to keep up with all of the advances. It wasn’t long ago we were using nickel cadmium batteries in cell phones and power tools, worrying the whole time about leaving an imprint on the battery and reducing the usable charge.

    Now, we have electric cars that can travel over 420km on a single charge with the ability to replenish the battery to 80% in as little as 30 minutes! The technological advancements in zero emission automobiles far surpasses that of the internal combustion counterpart and we’ve only just scratched the surface.

    The same trend is occurring in the industrial world with the growth of class 1, electric forklifts. Look back to the 1950’s and compare the forklifts used then compared to now and you’ll notice the design has changed minimally. The power systems, on the other hand, have changed dramatically.

    ​

    Zero Emissions

    Zero Emissions Electric ForkliftsAs I mentioned yesterday, the forklift truck has sustained the same general design since its beginnings in the early 20th century. Sure, there have been minor tweaks in design over the years and new features have been developed, but overall the look remains the same. You might be thinking “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” but I’m going to encourage disruptive thinking so you can improve while others are at a standstill.

    “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”

    Albert Einstein

    In recent history we have seen a large push to reduce emissions and minimize our effect on the planet in a number of different ways. Many companies are moving to alternative fuel sources in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint on the planet and decrease greenhouse gases. This effort can be seen not only in mobile equipment, but in all areas of a company’s operation, from electronic paperwork to biomass energy projects. More and more companies are making sustainability a top priority and a key component of their corporate responsibility.


    Reduced Operating Costs

    Reduce Operations with Electric ForkliftsIn the last article we discussed how your company will benefit from reducing the emissions generated by your mobile fleet. Your employees will be thanking you for better air quality, you will achieve far greater energy efficiency, and you can even improve your business image to you customers. But at the end of the day, if it doesn't make dollars, it doesn't make sense and I'm going to show you how being eco-friendly can also be cost effective.

    I want to be transparent with you, electric forklifts cost more upfront which can deter even the most environmentally savvy customers. But consider this fact: It is estimated that the initial purchase price of a forklift only equates to approximately 25% of the total lifetime cost to operate the machine. This means the remaining 75% is made up of fuel, maintenance, and repairs of the machine. This is where the electric forklift really starts to shine and will often show a return of investment in less than 2 years!


    Increased Life Cycle

    Why Opt for an Electric ForkliftSo, we know electric forklifts reduce emissions and maintenance costs, but what if I told you these benefits can be experienced for LONGER than the life of your current machines?

    Think about these questions:

    How often are your forklifts sitting idle while they wait for the next package to make it to the end of the out feed?

    Do your operators leave their machines running during the winter to keep warm? Or in the summer to keep that AC blowing?

    What about the time spent strapping a pallet, do your operators shut the machine off each and every time?


    Improved Operator Comfort

    Electric Forklifts Increased Life CycleCreating change around the workplace can be extremely challenging, especially when it comes to changes which will affect the daily actions of your employees. Most operators aren’t concerned with reducing emissions, decreasing costs, or a longer life span of equipment. Their main concern is how the change will affect their daily tasks and productivity by which they are measured.

    “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” - John F. Kennedy

    Forklift operators are an essential component of any business where the movement of product affects the production of a facility. No matter the operation, the operators will play an integral part of the success or failure of a change in equipment and it is extremely important to ensure their needs are met. After talking to multiple operators who have switched from internal combustion forklifts to electric, nearly all of them prefer the operation of the electric forklift, here’s why:


    Learn more about this on Ace's LinkedIn blog or speak with him directly.

    Ace Coustol | Territory Manager Prince George, BCAce Coustol
    Northern BC Territory Manager
    Direct: (250) 645-2800 | Cell: (250) 640-0027
    Leavitt Machinery
    View Karen Lally's profile on LinkedIn
  • Buying a Forklift: 8 Questions to Answer BEFORE Calling the Dealer

    8 Questions to Answer When Buying a Forklift
    So, the time has come. You’ve decided now is the time to add a new machine to your fleet and replace that old relic, which seems to be in the shop more than its moving material. Now, you’re faced with some difficult questions.

    How do you know what to look for? Which options you need? Or better yet, what chassis type is required? The next thing you know you’re talking to a dealer, frustrated because you don’t know which type of machine is best suited for YOUR operation.

    Lucky for you, I’ve outlined the top 8 questions to answer BEFORE you start looking for a new machine, so you can walk into the dealer feeling like a pro.

    What Surfaces Will The Forklift Operate On?

    From polished concrete floors to mud that will overflow into your boots, the ground equipment works on can vary dramatically and will change the type of forklift and chassis you require.

    The different classes of forklifts are all suited to different operating conditions, with some classes only suitable for smooth concrete and others which would be overkill in the same application. You might also need the forklift to work on multiple surfaces, which again will narrow your options. This question helps refine your search and eliminate a few classes of forklifts from the mix.

    Indoor, Outdoor, or Both?

    Although this question is self-explanatory, it plays a key role in guiding your purchase decision and understanding your climate. Operating outdoors for extended periods of time will, in most cases, be more comfortable with an enclosed cabin; whereas an open cab will offer better visibility in an indoor facility with a controlled climate.

    This question will also help decide which fuel type is best for your application. Even with changing emissions standards, most customers prefer to keep diesel forklifts for outdoor use only. Propane is versatile and can be used both indoor and outdoor, however the fuel tanks are smaller requiring more frequent refueling than diesel. Electric options are most commonly used for indoor only applications; however some models are now able to operate both indoor and outdoor and on multiple surfaces.

    What Do You Plan To Lift?

    Load dimensions come in all shapes and sizes and in the forklift world, the weight of the object doesn’t always determine what capacity you need in a machine. Length, width, and height will determine the load center of the object which will ultimately affect the capacity of your forklift.

    Take a measurement of the load you plan to lift and figure out a good approximation of the weight of the object. This information will help your forklift sales representative calculate the right lift capacity required for the job at hand.

    How High Do You Need To Lift?

    This question should NOT be answered by looking at the maximum fork height of your current forklift. Take a measurement of your highest racking or package to determine your required max fork height. Don’t forget to take into account any obstacles you may need to lift over when placing product onto racking or into position.

     Are There Any Height Restrictions?

    Height restrictions are any items that limit the overall lowered height of a machine – the height of the forklift when the forks are on the ground. This can include doorways, overhead ducting, beams, or trailer/van heights when loading cargo. If the forklift will be operating inside of a trailer or van, will you need to stack product while inside?

    Understanding these height restrictions combined with lift heights will determine which mast type you will need. A standard mast will have better capacity retention and visibility but will increase the height of the machine. A triplex mast offers greater lift heights with a lower height than a standard mast however; capacity retention will be lowered along with visibility.

    Where Will The Machine Be Stored?

    Certain machines should not be stored outdoors while they are not being used. Your operation may be perfectly suited to see substantial savings from an electric forklift, but if there is no way to store the machine indoors while being charged, this solution won’t work for you.

    The storage of the machine also determines particular options required depending on climate. Machines stored outside in northern climates will require cold weather options which can include a block heater, oil pan heater, hydraulic tank heater, and cold weather hydraulic fluid.

    How Often Will You Be Operating The Forklift?

    Does your facility run a single, double, or triple shift operation? Are you operating a continuous operation where a forklift is an integral component of production or is the forklift merely a support machine which is used periodically throughout the day? High usage operations will cause increased wear and tear and decrease the overall life of a machine, meaning a new machine is probably your best bet. If you’re equipment see’s less than 4 hours of run time per day, a used machine might be a suitable option.

    Are There Any Other Additional Preferences?

    The above questions cover the basics of what you will need, but maybe there are some options you want as well. These can include additional lighting, fire extinguishers, air conditioning, fingertip controls, or maybe even an air ride seat for added comfort. This is your chance to get the optimal machine for you or your operators, why not take the extra time to make sure nothing is missed?

    These 8 questions will help take the stress out of buying a new forklift by giving you a better idea of what you need. If you’re ready to start looking at a new piece of equipment or you would like some help answering these questions, give Leavitt Machinery a call and one of our trained representatives will be happy to come by and complete a free, on-site analysis for you.

    Ace Coustol | Territory Manager Prince George, BCAce Coustol
    Northern BC Territory Manager
    Direct: (250) 645-2800 | Cell: (250) 640-0027
    Leavitt Machinery
    View Karen Lally's profile on LinkedIn

  • Introducing Pettibone

    Leavitt Machinery is proud to introduce the latest in our line of industry leading equipment manufacturers. Recently featured on Manufacturing Marvels, Pettibone equipment is known across the globe for their industry leading designs and heavy duty capabilities.  

    Since the 1950's, Pettibone Equipment has been dedicated to the development of materials handling equipment. This dedication to a specific type of equipment has enabled them to develop superior machines with the highest lifts, longest reaches and heaviest capacities in their class.  

    From the overhead reach of the Cary-Lift line, the extended reach of the Extendo and Traverse line, to the versatility of the Speed Swing and ARDCO drill buggies, there is a Pettibone machine for almost any job. 

  • Hyundai’s 160D-7E Diesel Forklift brings muscle to demanding operations

    Hyundai 160D High Capacity ForkliftBy Forkliftaction.com, Dec 2014. Read the full article.

    Hyundai’s 160D-7E diesel forklift incorporates power and efficiency with durability and safety, a necessary combination for completing any job.  One of 24 models in Hyundai’s high-performance, fuel efficient, diesel forklift product line, the 160D-7E is capable of handling even the toughest applications in the container handling, timber, lumber, concrete and steel industries.  

    Built with a 6-cylinder, turbo-charged, Tier III, 162 hp, Cummins QSB6.7 engine, the 160D-7E provides optimum power, low noise and unparalleled fuel efficiency.  This model features an engine control mode, which according to operator preference, can be adjusted from Standard Mode, a fuel reduction mode for light-duty operation, to Power Mode, for heavy-duty or slope operation.  A fully automatic transmission offers easy, convenient handling and soft, smooth shifting while also allowing operators to select between two kinds of automatic modes.  

    The 160D-7E forklift’s robust, high-output engine offers greater acceleration, better gradeability and faster travel speed on tough terrains or slopes.  Additional features include cruise control, a transmission control switch and front, mast and rear work lamps for excellent night work.  

    Key Specifications:

    Horsepower kW(hp)@rpms 119(162)@2,200
    Extended Mast Height (in) 185
    Load Capacity (lbs) 35,273

    In addition to providing power and fuel efficiency, Hyundai’s 160D-7E forklift offers the ultimate comfort and usability.  Like all Hyundai equipment, this model was designed with operators in mind, to relieve fatigue and increase efficiency.  This model is equipped with operator-friendly gauges and a water-resistant monitor panel, as well as an easily adjustable suspension seat, providing superior comfort and safety.  The 160D-7E also features high-output air conditioning mounted on the upper side of the cabin to maximize space and ensure a pleasurable environment.  Another beneficial feature of this machine is its Engine Start Limit (ESL), which, if selected, makes engine starting possible only after password verifying as well as the rear view camera monitor, which supports four camera channels making operation safer and easier.  Also included to maximize ease of use and comfort are a centralized instrument switch panel, MP3/CD player and remote control, quick response operating control levers, ergonomically positioned pedals and an adjustable steering column.

    Safety and durability remained top priorities for Hyundai during the design of the 160D-7E forklift.  This highly durable machine has a carriage manufactured entirely with rugged, high tensile structural steel.  The 160D-7E is equipped with an up-to-date cooling system, making minimum fuel consumption and low noise possible by applying the hydraulic cooling fan which senses intake air, transmission oil, coolant and hydraulic temperatures.  Hyundai’s 160D-7E also features an Operator Presence Sensing System (OPSS), which allows mast tilting, lifting and lowering only when the operator is in the normal position.  This model has a durable hypoid-type planetary reduction drive axle, which smoothly delivers desired torque to the drive wheels as well as a auto parking feature, which automatically engages when the transmission is in neutral and the operator leaves the seat.  The 160D-7E is also equipped with a wet disc brake system, fitted protector for hub bolts, a cylinder guard and a large footboard and handle for improved convenience and safety.  

    To minimize downtime and ensure easy access and convenient maintenance, Hyundai’s 160D-7E forklift features a large engine hood with a highly accessible engine compartment.  An automatic cabin tilting system makes servicing of all power train components quick and easy, electronically allowing tilting of the operator cabin to the left side, approximately 65 degrees.  The 160D-7E forklift is also equipped with an easy change air filter with sensor alerts for clogging, a cabin air fresh filter, a compact fuse box for easy inspection, an automatic self-locking gas spring, a large tool box, a pressure gauge port and an easy maintenance oil check, all of which make maintenance quick and easy.  

    Hyundai Forklift offers quality, high-performance material-handling equipment, including electric, diesel, internal combustion cushion and internal combustion pneumatic forklifts.  
  • A New Approach To Forklift Certification

    Forklift Certification It’s not surprising to learn that OSHA statistics indicate there are roughly 34,900 serious injuries each year involving forklifts. Like operating a car or truck, a forklift can be a powerful tool or a dangerous weapon and it all comes down to the operator.

    Forklift operator training is critical to the safety of your operators and your equipment. It reduces the risk of accidents and resulting injuries to operators and coworkers, but it also protects your company against both product and property damage.

    Leavitt Training has introduced a new blended learning platform for forklift operators and in-house forklift instructors. This combination includes our online forklift training course, online WHMIS and Transportation of Dangerous Goods course and practical training at one of our 13 training branches.

    Our blending learning option significantly speeds up the process and enables operators with busy or irregular schedules to get certified quickly and easily. Online training for WHMIS, TDG and the Forklift operator safety theory can be taken at any time from any place, offering a flexibility Leavitt Training has not been able to provide until now.

    Call us today and save $135 when you purchase our forklift training blended learning package. This program includes the cost of your WHMIS/TDG online course, Forklift Training online course, and the forklift practical training at one of our facilities. This introductory price won’t last long, so call us today to save on your training.

  • We Will Remember

    They are our grandfathers, brothers, mothers and sisters, neighbours ... heroes. Canada's Veterans - their courage, service and sacrifices have kept us strong, proud and free.

  • The 9th Annual Bridging the Gap Conference

    We are gearing up once again to attend the 9th annual Bridging the Gap Construction Safety Conference on November 14th and 15th. Held at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel in Richmond, BC, this two day conference offers informational sessions on a wide variety of safety topics in the construction industry.

    From conflict resolution, traffic control and mobile equipment to  occupational disease prevention and alternatives to ladders, this conference is jam-packed with information. Whether you are a health and safety officer, site coordinator, tradesman or site supervisor this conference is geared towards you.

    Register now, the first 100 reservations will be entered to win an iPod touchTM. The Conference is filling up fast, so reserve your spots today.

    We look forward to seeing you there!
    Bridging the Gap Safety Conference

  • Leavitt Employee is First Overall in 2014 NLL EntryDraft

    Ben McIntosh | Edmonton Rush

    We are proud to announce that Ben McIntosh, a Leavitt Machinery employee from Edmonton, Alberta was the first overall pick in the 2014 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft in September of this year.

    Ben was signed to the Edmonton Rush for a two year term by General Manager and Head Coach Derek Keenan. Labeled the most pro-ready prospect in this year’s draft, Keenan believes Ben’s size, scoring touch and his playoff and championship experience will give him an edge in the coming season.

    It will be exciting to follow Ben as he continues his Lacrosse career with the Edmonton Rush; the team had one of the best regular seasons this year with a 16-2 mark. With his 191 career goals, this Coquitlam, BC native was considered one of the “Big Four” with the Coquitlam Adanacs.

    Join us in cheering on Ben and the Edmonton Rush in their upcoming season. 2015 Edmonton Rush Season Tickets are now on sale.  For more information, please visit www.edmontonrush.com  or phone 780-732-RUSH to speak with a ticket representative and get your tickets to the 10th year of the Edmonton Rush.

  • 2014 Pacific Entrepreneur of the Year

    Entrepreneur of the YearWe are proud to announce that EY Canada has awarded Tom Leavitt the Pacific EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2014, after naming him the category winner in Business to Business services.

    This prestigious business award recognizes Tom Leavitt, but it also gives recognition to all the people who have followed his leadership, shared his vision and worked as a team to grow Leavitt Machinery as a business and a brand.

    The win means that Tom will be representing the Pacific region when he goes to Canada’s EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 Gala on November 25th. He will be competing against top entrepreneurs from the Prairies, Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic regions for this prestigious honour.

    “Tom is a true innovator,” says Lui Petrollini, Entrepreneur of the Year Pacific Program Director. “He’s turned a good idea into a successful business that thrives on innovative thinking. From business processes to new technologies, Tom’s desire for continuous improvement is what sets him apart.”

    Since 2001 when Tom founded Leavitt Machinery, we have worked as a team to build a strong foundation of innovation and exceptional industry knowledge. In this time we have grown from 10 to 24 branches and expanded from 3 to 5 territories in both Canada and the USA, making us one of the fastest growing materials handling equipment dealers in North America.

     “Gravity-defying entrepreneurs do more than just grow their businesses – they grow their communities,” says Petrollini, “We’re thrilled to recognize Tom and the amazing achievements of Leavitt Machinery in and outside of the boardroom.”

    Tom has taken his dedication to continuous improvement and is striving to make a difference globally through Leavitt Machinery’s charity Harvest for Humanity. Through this charity, Leavitt Machinery employees have donated goods, raised money and even traveled to Haiti to teach English and offer their services to our children’s home and the orphans who live there. It is through these self-sustaining, income generating and educational projects that we set ourselves above the rest as humanitarians as well as industry leading business men and women.

    Join us in celebrating this amazing achievement, and thank you all for your dedication and hard work.

    “Thanks, it belongs to all of us.” ~ Tom Leavitt~

  • Leavitt Machinery In Port Kells Takes The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

    Last week the marketing department and OPSC of Leavitt Machinery in Port Kells, BC, took part in the ALS Ice bucket Challenge in support of the 5600 people diagnosed with ALS each year.

    We have challenged Leavitt Machinery branches in Langley, Kitimat and Edmonton to take the challenge and make a donation on our fundraising page.

    Check out the video below and check out our youtube channel for more videos as the other branches join us in this challenge.

  • Aisle-Master wins the FLTA Innovation Award

    Aisle Master Cold Storage ForkliftFor cold storage materials handling, Aisle-Master Forklifts stand out among the competition. In 2013, their new cold store model won the UK FLTA’s Award for Excellence over six other shortlisted nominees.

    The requirements needing to be met to win this prestigious award were intense. Aisle-Master teamed up with major names in the cold store and temperature controlled warehousing industry to ensure they specifically addressed the issues of operator comfort while improving productivity and running costs.

    With a fully enclosed heated cab, the Aisle-Master cold storage forklifts ensure drivers keep warm throughout their entire shift, reducing the need for regular breaks. Heated windows eliminate condensation when driving between different temperatures. A powerful 930 amp battery prevents possible draining of power even during prolonged operation, and low energy LED work lights are standard with every unit.

    The FLTA had a glowing review of Aisle-Master’s new design. “When space comes at a premium, flexible solutions are needed. Combining the capabilities of narrow aisle fork lift with the protection offered by a fully enclosed cold store cab, the articulated Aisle-Master cold store model ensures maximum efficiency – even at minus thirty degrees.”

    Contact us for more information on Aisle-Master’s cold storage units, or to request a demo unit.

  • Spyder Mini Crawler Cranes: A new breed of crane

    SpyderCrane and Leavitt Machinery would like to challenge the way you think about cranes. We all see traditional self-erecting and tower cranes as we drive through our cities. We see them flanking high rises and littering cityscapes, but you would never expect to see them moving through doorways or assisting in indoor applications……until now.
    Spydercrane rentals BC

    Manufactured by the Japanese crane industry expert Furukawa Unic Corp, the SpyderCrane Mini Crawler Cranes offer unparalleled versatility, maneuverability and lifting capacity. Their compact design allows it to travel where no crane has gone before, all models fit through standard doorways enabling you to easily navigate restricted and confined spaces.

    Buy Spydercranes in BCWith individually adjustable outriggers, all SpyderCrane models offer multiple leg extension and angle positions making it possible to set up and around obstacles. With 360-degree continuous rotation the mini crawler cranes provide safe lifting in all directions and closer to the center line of rotation when the outriggers are set in the maximum position.

    As an additional benefit, all cranes include a fully functional radio remote control to increase operator flexibility. Increased visibility, safe proximity and precise load placement make this a highly desired piece of equipment for complicated construction and indoor renovation jobs.

    If you are interested in more information or would like to rent or demo one of our SpyderCrane mini crawler cranes, please contact us or visit our Spydercrane manufacturer page.

  • Introducing Carer Electric Forklifts

    Introducing Carer Forklifts
    We’re excited to introduce a new line of high capacity electric forklifts to our customers. Founded in 1976, Carer Forklifts specializes in producing counterbalanced electric forklift trucks for standard and special applications. Recognized for reliability and being pioneers in the application of electronic principles and technology in their forklift designs, Carer Forklifts has been optimizing and improving the quality and performance of electric forklifts for decades.

    Targeting very specific, demanding, niche markets, the Carer philosophy is based on ensuring the highest level of specialization and efficiency during every stage of construction. With Carer Forklifts it’s about the details, in every stage of manufacturing Carer’s technicians are required to pay the utmost attention to the details of each forklift in production.

    For more information on Carer forklifts and the product lines available, contact us today or visit our Carer manufacturer page.


  • Tough Mudder 2014

    This year our outbound sales parts support guys participated in Tough Mudder a military style obstacle course at the Whistler Olympic Park. Designed to test physical and mental strength and promote team-building, our  guys trained individually and as a team for one hour every Wednesday for the five months leading up to this competition. 

    We might have teased them for leaving their training gear all over our warehouse, but it all paid off. Tough Mudder releases course details only two weeks before the event so our team trainer Nelson Dominguez developed a unique training circuit centered around running and muscular strength

    For their first work out Nelson led the team on a 1 km run, he started to panic not sure if they were going to make it when they collapsed after it. Eventually with a common circuit of body weight exercises, kettlebells and more running the guys started to improve. 

    For their last training session they ran close to 8 km in addition to their circuit training, everyone was surprised by the difference in their endurance compared to that first session. In the end our guys finished the race together without out any injury with an amazing time of 4 hours and 15 minutes.

    What did we learn? No matter how bad your fitness level is, with a little commitment, teamwork and a good program even office guys can master a program like Tough Mudder. 

    Tough Mudder Whistler 2014
  • Proudly Supporting the Canadian Bobsleigh Team

    This year we are excited to support the Canadian Bobsleigh Team Rush as they head to the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. Having completed the World Cup Series, with three top 6 and four top 10 finishes, Lyndon Rush and Jesse Lumsden brought home the overall World Cup two man bobsleigh title on Saturday in Sochi, Russia.   

    Meet our Canadian Bobsleigh Team:

    Team Rush Sochi 2014

    Lyndon Rush- One of the top bobsleigh pilots in Canada, Lyndon has raced on the American Cup circuit in 2004 and the Europa Cup circuit until 2006 and also gained World Cup Experience. Learn more…


    Team Rush Sochi 2014

    Lascelles Brown- This two time Olympic medalist will be vying for his third Olympic medal while competing with Team Rush at Sochi 2014. Learn more…


    Team Rush Sochi 2014

    David Bissett- One of the top brakemen in the country, this two time Olympian has pushed four-man and two-man sleds to countless World Cup and World Championship podium finishes in his short career. Learn more…


    Team Rush Sochi 2014

    Neville Wright- Joining the Canadian Bobsleigh Team in 2009, Neville has competed in the World Cup and at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Learn more…


    Check out Team Rush at their Whistler Training Camp!