Container handling whitepaper

Five tips to help you keep container handling moving

Do you have a plan if your container handling equipment suddenly fails? Have you taken steps to make sure your operation is not caught unprepared? Are you taking measures to reduce the risk of failure to begin with?

Ports and terminals simply cannot afford tight margins to be threatened by the productivity and profit impacts that result from equipment downtime. In this blog, the experts from Hyster will give you 5 practical steps to help minimise the risk of container handling equipment downtime.

  • Understand planned and unplanned downtime

Planned downtime is something that organisations expect and can work around such as routine maintenance. But unplanned downtime is a very different story – it’s unexpected and must be resolved as quickly as possible to minimise operational disruption.

Therefore, reliability is an essential quality for container handling equipment, along with the resources and processes to address unexpected issues. If a truck must be taken out of service to replace a critical part, operations need to source and install the replacement part quickly, so the truck is only out of service for hours – not days or weeks.

  • Know the consequences

Does downtime always mean disaster? Not necessarily – time is the critical factor. The significance of a downtime event is greatly influenced by the part in need of repair or replacement, and the availability and transit time of that part. The parts support and service capabilities of the local dealer and the equipment manufacturer can cause resolution timelines to vary widely.

A part is considered ‘mission-critical’ if its failure can take equipment out of service, such as hydraulic pumps and cylinders necessary for lifting and lowering containers or smaller items like controls and sensors.

  • Minimise downtime risk

Consider reliability and durability as critical factors when evaluating equipment and be sure to look especially closely at critical parts. For example, masts, which are essential to the operation of a container handler, must be built to last. Look for a proven track record – consult with your industry peers to help make the right choice of equipment supplier with reliability and maintenance in mind.

Then, evaluate if vendors can support and respond in the event of a service issue. Can they secure parts and make timely repairs? Consider the location and resources of your equipment dealer and manufacturer. Is the dealer able to rapidly deploy parts or service technicians in the event of an issue? Does your local dealer stock not only regularly used maintenance parts, but mission-critical parts that are used less frequently?

  • Make a support plan tailored to your operation

No two ports and terminals are exactly alike, and some may have unique characteristics that may require additional precautions to protect parts supply. This can include the dealer and manufacturer working with the terminal to identify a list of priority parts, based on criticality and anticipated need for regular replacement.

Location is also an important factor to consider when planning for how to source parts. To prevent downtime, a long wait for replacement parts to arrive from hundreds of miles away isn’t an option. In the case of Hyster, a widespread network of dealer partners throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa keeps stock locally, so customer requirements can be met, fast.

  • Re-evaluate performance over time

No equipment is perfect but examining reliability records for container handlers can provide a reference point for how different equipment compares in practice, both in terms of overall reliability and regarding specific components.

If structural component failure happens in multiple container handlers, terminal operators might question whether they should continue to pay a premium based on a perceived reputation for reliability. Over time, unexpected repairs can reveal that high prices do not equate to quality. In a search for the optimal balance of quality, support, and price, get references from other terminals and re-evaluate expectations for cost and support.

  • Partner with your Hyster® dealer to optimise uptime

Effectively managing downtime risk is a team effort. It requires collaboration between purchasing and operations when first evaluating container handling equipment. Then, long-term ownership tests the capability of manufacturer and dealer support.

Download our free whitepaper for more insight and advice.