Chris Aiello Chris Aiello

Stressing safety and safety related services to your customers is good business

With this month’s issue we are putting the spotlight on safety, it is a good time to discuss some products, accessories, and services that can be a part of a dealership’s aftermarket offering.  Additionally, discuss how Customer Service Sales Reps, Parts Professionals, and Service Technicians can all drive the sales of said products and services.

In my last article, I talked about dedicated customer service sales reps will allow your dealership to provide focused and professional aftermarket parts support, along with dedication to targeting and obtaining service agreements and the upselling of service repair quotes.  Let us explore a few safety items and safety-related services that your customer-facing sales, service, and parts teams can quote and sell to your customers.

Safety Lighting

Safety lighting such as strobe lights come standard on the forklift from the original equipment manufacturer.   Operators and pedestrians in the warehouse can easily become ‘numb’ to these standard-issue strobe lights.  This creates an opportunity for your dealership to sell upgraded safety lighting for your customer’s forklifts.

Safety lights prevent forklift collisions and accidents and illuminate blind spots. Types of safety lights include rotating and flashing lights that attract attention, along with projection warning lights. These have become very popular in recent years; you may be familiar with the blue spot projection warning light.  Projection warning lights create visual warning signals for people around the forklift.  It’s easy to see which direction the forklift is moving in, which helps avoid collisions, accidents, and injuries.  There are even some projection lights on the market now that project a ‘do not enter zone’ to ensure pedestrians keep a safe distance away from the forklift.

All of these aftermarket safety lighting options are products that you can add on during the Pre-Delivery Inspection of a new forklift sold to your customer, up-sell during service maintenance, or demo during a customer service sales visit.

Chains, Forks, and Tires

OSHA’s daily pre-operation forklift inspections call for the inspection of a variety of items on the forklift prior to starting the forklift.  A few of these items are ‘high-wear items’ that can be inspected by a technician that is performing service or scheduled maintenance on the forklift or by a customer service sales rep visiting your customer or potential customer’s facility.

First, let’s discuss the forklift chain.  Application factors like chemicals, dust, or even weather can certainly shorten the life of a forklift chain.  Ensuring the chain can operate safely, look for misalignment, rust, corrosion, cracking, damaged pins, cracks, or any other visible defect on a forklift’s chain.  The chain elongates as it wears leading to a significant increase in actual pitch and potential chain failure.  At 2% elongation, a service tech or customer service sales rep must advise on how much life is left until a replacement is needed.  At 3% elongation means that the strength of the chain has been reduced by 15% and the chain must be replaced immediately.  A great device for your technician or customer service sales rep is a forklift chain wear gauge.  This device measures chain wear and indicates the percentage of elongation as noted above.  This will allow them to show the customer their forklift chain elongation and quote the service labor and parts required to replace the chain.

Second, let’s take a look at forklift tires.  A forklift’s tires will wear down faster than other parts on a forklift.  The weight of the forklift and its load causes a lot of wear and tear on the tires. Worn-out tires can be dangerous for the forklift driver but also for everyone in the surrounding area.  Part of the OSHA pre-operation inspection for the operator is to check the tire condition and pressure including looking for cuts and gouges.  Sometimes these items get overlooked, so tires are another item that your technicians and CSSR’s can be looking to quote and sell replacements to your customers.

Finally, let’s discuss forks.  Per OSHA standards, forks should be part of the pre-operation inspection. Forks that are not in good working order must be replaced.   Forklifts should not be operated if the forks show any defects such as surface cracks, blades are not straight, the difference in height of fork tips, excessive fork hook wear, etc.  Another great device for your technician or customer service sales rep to have is a fork wear caliper.  This device allows your tech or CSSR to measure the fork blade wear, the fork hooks, and the fork angle.  The fork angle deviation must be within a margin of 3 degrees. That means that the angle between the blade and the shank must be between 87 and 93 degrees.  When the fork angle is outside of this degree range, the forks must be replaced.  Furthermore, OSHA standards state that forks with 10% or more wear to the blades must be removed from service.  Being equipped with this fork wear caliper device will allow them to show the customer the fork wear and quote the service labor and parts required to replace the forks.

Operator Training

According to OSHA standards, only trained and competent operators shall be permitted to operate a powered industrial truck. All powered industrial truck operators must be trained and certified to operate the equipment legally.  Additionally, re-certification is required every three years.  Many of the customers you sell to will not have their own in-house trainers and may be looking for a third party to meet these operator training requirements.  Many lift truck dealers already have this training as part of their product and service offerings to their customers.  If your organization does not currently offer this service, I recommend looking into exploring it.  This value-added service will not only drive revenue to your dealership but also drive customer loyalty to your brand and your organization.

Celebrate and promote National Forklift Safety Day this month, your customer-facing sales, service, and parts teams can create awareness and shine the light on forklift safety to your customers.  The safety of your customers is a priority, make sure they’re educated on the importance of these safety-related products and services mentioned that your organization can offer.

About the Author:

Chris Aiello is the Business Development Manager at TVH Parts Co.  He has been in the equipment business for 16-plus years as a service manager, quality assurance manager, and business development manager. Chris now manages a national outside sales team selling replacement parts and accessories in various equipment markets such as material handling, equipment rental, and construction/earthmoving dealerships.


In the May issue of Material Handling Wholesaler, we had an error in the statistics in the Aftermarket column.

The paragraph should have read:

According to the MHEDA data, a typical lift truck dealership revenue mix consists of the following:

  • New Equipment Sales:  29.2%
  • Used Equipment Sales:  7.9%
  • Parts:  18.4%
  • Service:  20.4%
  • Rental Billings:  14.4%
  • Other Revenue (not listed above):  9.7%

We apologize for the error