By Keith Trumbull, VP of Material Handling Equipment, Element Fleet Management
In order to make strategic decisions when it comes to asset management, it’s imperative to stay up-to-date on the latest trends. As a fleet manager, how do you manage your material handling equipment? Do you create partnerships with select manufacturers, work with warehouse managers at individual local branches, or do you employ a different method entirely?
The most common methods are partnering with a manufacturer or having individual warehouses oversee assets. However there are also challenges associated with these two approaches that should be considered when developing a material handling equipment strategy. Some fleet managers reference the lack of visibility into overall costs, inconsistent equipment capabilities, dependence on one manufacturer’s expertise and inconsistent policies as challenges for their organization. As company executives look for continuously higher levels of performance, they are exploring new ways to operate with fewer obstacles.
“Brand independent” management is one of the newest and most popular ways to organize and operate assets. Being brand independent simply means an organization is not aligned with a specific manufacturer or brand. So why are fleet managers increasingly turning to brand independent providers?
1. Providers can acquire the right equipment for your needs – By not being tied to a particular manufacturer, a brand independent management company is able to remain neutral, ensuring you are not limited to the capabilities of one provider. This impacts your productivity and ability to deliver your product to customers
2. Providers can control maintenance costs – A brand independent provider has the ability to manage the servicing of fleets that operate equipment from a mix of manufacturers. This can help you control or reduce maintenance costs by objectively evaluating repair estimates, replacement costs, etc.
3. Providers can effectively manage rentals – An independent provider can help you in two key ways regarding rentals: 1) Assist with securing the right equipment at the right time, coordinate returns in a timely manner and help you avoid extended rental periods and costs. 2) Analyze whether renting, leasing or owning could be financially beneficial
4. Providers can deliver end‐to‐end solutions – Local dealers will address a number of your needs – but they may not have the exact fit for the job you need to accomplish. An experienced provider has a full suite of services across all nameplates and can help you implement consistent policies and practices across multiple locations.
Ultimately, the asset management style that is the best fit for your organization depends on many variables. What’s most important is finding the technique that works best for your business and optimizes performance of your material handling equipment.
Each month Fleet Management Weekly features material handling equipment guidance from Keith Trumbull, vice president of material handling equipment at Element Fleet Management.