Predicting our weather doesn’t get any easier. Some forecasts indicate that we can expect ice and snow this winter, while others suggest another mild spell. What is clear however, is that businesses need to plan for every eventuality. Some of the worst conditions can strike when retail and logistics companies in particular are at their busiest. While many businesses will already have plans in place to cope with the Christmas rush, carrying out a few extra checks will help ensure the risks posed by unforeseen events – and that includes bad weather – are kept to a minimum. The performance and reliability of even the very best materials handling equipment can be compromised by extreme weather, particularly snow and ice. Failing to take any practical precautions can cost businesses thousands, and not just in terms of lost productivity and penalties for failing to fulfil orders. It is therefore worth taking the time to carry out a few simple maintenance-related equipment checks. Most firms inspect tyres, but there are other truck components that are easily overlooked. We recommend the following checks: <ul> <li>Hoses that connect hydraulic elements of the lifting system naturally work loose over time, so check them at regular intervals and tighten them up if necessary</li> <li>Make sure the coolant system in diesel engine trucks has a suitable concentration of anti-freeze</li> <li>Keep oil and other lubricants topped up to ensure the truck runs smoothly in the cold</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Ensure that the service schedule on all trucks is up to date and carry out daily checks on significant components</li> <li>Check that operators know how to use the equipment safely in adverse conditions and provide training if necessary</li> </ul> It’s not just the trucks that need a health check, either. The operating environment should also be inspected before winter sets in. Even a light dusting of snow can hide pot holes and other hazards that can cause significant truck damage, so now is the time to identify and repair any flooring defects. It also pays to have a plan to remove snow and ice from operational areas. Run through it with your staff, so they understand what is required and can implement the plan quickly and effectively. Making a few, straightforward checks could make all the difference, reducing the risk of potential problems at a time when supply chain businesses are focussed on dealing with a spike in demand.
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