The Forklift Boss Blog

Blog posts from Marshall Cromer, "The Forklift Boss". Follow us for information on forklift safety, available parts, & upcoming technologies shaping the future of material handling!
Forklift Boss Blog
  • Forklift Safety Accessories: What's Out There, and How it Helps

    By Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss | Nov 02, 2015

    Just this month a forklift operator in the UK died when his forklift fell and crushed him. He could have survived if he’d worn his seat belt that day.

    In 2014 a forklift operator runs over a warehouse worker who was looking to the right and didn’t see or hear the forklift coming.

    As much as we try to prevent terrible workplace accidents like these, they do happen. That doesn’t mean we should stop trying to prevent them though.

    I spoke with a new customer the other day about accidents like these. Then I found out he didn’t know what a blue light was.

    I suggested he subscribe to this newsletter, which he did. For his sake, and the sake of any subscribers who could use a reminder, let’s look at the safety accessories available in our industry.

    Forklift Safety Accessories & Their Uses

    BLUELIGHT_Blue Light. We did a whole newsletter on these. Blue Lights attach to forklifts, and cast a blue light on the ground before or behind the forklift as it moves.

    safetyvest-orange_Safety Vests. Highway repair workers wear safety vests all the time. Those neon orange & yellow vests you can see a mile away? That’s why. They make you just as visible in a warehouse environment too.

    strobelight1_Strobe Lights. While a blue light points down, a strobe light is positioned around eye-level. When it activates, all workers immediately see the flash. Right away they know large equipment is coming, or someone’s had an accident. The worker in the YouTube video above would have seen a strobe light & avoided injury.

    lpgtank_Lightweight Propane Tanks. The new Doosan composite tanks we mentioned in September actually improve safety too. A much lighter LPG tank saves your back (since it’s only 7 pounds), and reduces injuries from dropping (it will just bounce off your shoe).

    SeatCaddy-Back_Seat Caddy. Caddies fit over the forklift seat, with pockets on the back side. They hold tools, water, phones and other small items. Which keeps these items out of the operator’s hands and lap, so he can focus on the important thing—driving!

    BackupAlarm_Backup Alarms. We’ve all heard these. Beep! Beep! Forklift backing up! Get out of the way and you don’t get run over.

    ledroadflarelights_LED Road Flare. These are big flat LED lights with a magnetic back. Push a button & it lights up. Put one on a forklift and you have an instant warning system. If the operator lights up the LED Road Flare, then something’s wrong with the forklift. You could also put them on doorways, racks, gates…anywhere you want to let people know there’s a problem.

    How & Where to Use Safety Accessories in Your Facility

    Here’s my idea for a fully safety-conscious workplace.

    1. Each forklift is equipped with seat belts, blue lights, backup alarms, a composite LPG tank and a seat caddy.
    2. Electric Pallet Jacks are also equipped with a blue light and backup alarm.
    3. LED Road Flares stand attached to every row of shelving in the warehouse, every forklift, and at both entry & exit gates.
    4. Workers assigned safety vests, gloves & hard hats (as needed), with extras available at midway points in the warehouse/facility.
    5. Safety Training for all workers, renewed annually (at least), to make sure everyone knows what to watch out for, and what to do in the event of an accident.

    Seems pretty simple when you read it. It’s always more complicated in practice, I know. But it does work. It does keep our workers safer.

    You’ll find all of these products on Cromer’s ecommerce site

    Seat Caddy
    Blue Light
    Strobe Light
    Backup Alarm
    Safety Vest (Green)
    Safety Vest (Orange)
    Composite LPG Tank from Doosan

    See you next month!

    Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss
    Cromer Material Handling Deal of the Month


    oct2015_dealYour workers’ safety is paramount. That’s why we’re offering some of our newest Cromer products for the October Deal of the Month:
    Buy a forklift, get a free safety vest & seat caddy.

    Cromer Safety Vests come in green (pictured) and orange. They include pockets for your phone, pens, notepads, and more.

    Cromer Seat Caddies drape on your forklift’s seat. They have pockets on the back for pens, tools, water, etc. Everything you’ll need for the shift.

    This Deal of the Month applies for ALL new & used forklifts on

    But it only lasts until Thanksgiving Day – so order now!

    Click the link to visit or call Cromer at 800-974-5438. Don’t forget to tell us what color safety vest you want!

  • How to Use the Ecommerce Store

    By Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss | Oct 06, 2015

    We’ve had some questions on how to use A few customers asked for help with their orders, or wanted reassurance on order security.

    For our September newsletter, we’re giving you a full tutorial on how to use These instructions will help you do everything from set up an account to arrange equipment delivery to your office. We hope they help answer any remaining questions!

    How to Set Up an Account

    To order from, you’ll need an account. Just like Amazon or eBay. To set one up, look in the footer for the “Register” link ( ).

    Clicking brings you to the New Account page. Under the “Create a new account” section, enter the following:

    • Your email address
    • Your email address (again)
    • A password you’ll remember – make sure it’s complex too, something like Fork@lift2015!
    • Re-enter the password
    • Your name, address, & phone number
    • Your Federal Tax ID number

    Click the “Submit Registration” button when you’re done. You’ll see the Login page next. Login is accessible in the footer as well ( ).

    Enter your email address and password, and click Login. You’ll see a “My Account” page. From here you can change your contact information, password, and payment settings.

    Most importantly, now you’re ready to start ordering!

    How to Place an Order

    1. Navigate through the site using the menu bars along the top.
    2. Use the left-side menu to choose specific product categories you want.
    3. When you find a product you want, click it.
    4. Enter the quantity you want, and click “Add to Cart”.
      • You’ll see a small popup window with a “View Cart” button. You can ignore this and keep shopping, or click “View Cart” to view your shopping cart. (The shopping cart is always accessible by clicking the yellow cart icon at the top right.)
    5. In the Cart, click the “Get Shipping Options” button to see what options are available to you. (See the next section for more details on these.)
    6. Select the option you want, and click “Proceed to Checkout”.
    7. You’ll see the Checkout page. Click the “My Saved Billing Addresses” menu and you should see your default address. Click it and the Billing Information boxes will auto-fill.
    8. Select the Shipping Option you wanted, and the payment option you prefer. Current payment options are by credit card and wire transfer.
      • (If you’d prefer paying a different way, please call Cromer at 800-974-5438 and ask for Sales.)
      • Payment details are saved in your account to speed up future orders.
    9. On the right you’ll see estimated totals for your order. If you have a special handling request, please enter it in the Order Comments box.
    10. Click Place Order.
    11. If you selected Wire Transfer, you’ll see the wire transfer information. If you selected Credit Card, you’ll be prompted to fill in your credit card details.
    12. Done!

    Delivery Options Available

    Since we want customers throughout Northern California to order and receive quality material handling equipment, we added several delivery options to

    Currently, customers can choose from the following delivery options.

    1. In-Store Pick-up at your nearest Cromer location (Oakland, Sacramento, Manteca).
    2. UPS Ground Shipping.
    3. Local Delivery from your nearest Cromer location (Oakland, Sacramento, Manteca). Delivery is limited to 50 miles from the Cromer facility, and requires a $50 fee.
    4. If you’re outside of this 50-mile radius, there’s an option to call for special delivery rates.

    Our Guarantees

    All Transactions are Secured. Ordering online saves time, but payment details need protection. We set up to employ the same level of security Amazon uses.

    It’s Right or Your Money Back. If you order a rack, you will receive the exact rack you ordered. If you don’t receive the products we said you would, you get your money back. Guaranteed.

    Please save this tutorial for your future reference. We hope it continues to help our customers, present and future.

    If you have any suggestions on making easier to use, please send them in to

    See you next month!

    Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss
    Cromer Material Handling Deal of the Month


    Is it time to replace your forklift’s forks? For our September Deal of the Month, we have 3 sets of forks on sale!Forklift Fork Set from Cascade

    Forks Set #1: A 2” x 7” x 48” from Cascade. Meant for lumber carriage, these are heavy-duty forks made for long hard work. On sale at for $690.00.

    Forks Set #2: A 1.75” x 4” x 48” set from Cascade. Standard forks for the day-to-day warehouse jobs. On sale at for $231.54.

    Forks Set #3: Another Cascade set, 1.75” x 5” x 48”. Little bit wider than the previous set. On sale at for $311.10.

    Click the links above to visit and order the forks you need. Questions before buying? Call Cromer at 800-974-5438 and ask about the September ForkliftBoss deals.

  • Cromer's 2015 Forklift Safety Checkpoints

    By Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss | Sep 08, 2015

    We’ve addressed worker safety many times in our newsletter.  Just as often as maintenance (maybe more).  Everyone wants to avoid workplace accidents…and if we put in a little regular effort, we can spot workplace dangers before they become accidents.

    Like last month’s newsletter, we’ve gathered up those safety articles in one place.  You’ll find guidelines for spotting wear & tear on forklift parts, good practices for keeping the workplace accident-free, and which forklifts work fine outdoors.

    Save this email for informing your safety inspections.

    • Inspect Your Forks & Chains - What to Look Out For, and Why it Matters to Worker Safety
      Like tires and batteries, a forklift’s forks and chains wear out eventually.  This article is a complete how-to on testing your forks for safe use, what to look for when you inspect chains, and what to do with these parts when they need replacing.
    • Forklift Safety Training: Do I Have to Keep Taking it?
      OSHA requires all employers to keep their forklift operators continually trained on safety.  So does the State of California.  Luckily, you can take one safety training course and satisfy both of them.  Plus you’ll learn new safety procedures, and avoid potential fines.
    • Is it Safe to Use an Electric Forklift in the Rain?
      There are forklifts which are safe to use in the rain.  European manufacturers such as Jungheinrich worked to create a standard for equipment protection against water, solid particles and impacts.  Jungheinrich forklifts are in fact completely waterproof—even their electrics!
    • How and When to Replace Forklift Tires Safely
      Forklift tires incorporate a method for determining when it’s time to replace them.  Use this article to find out when that is, depending on what type of forklift you use.  We’ve also listed out the process for doing tire replacements (which can be done on-site).
    • Forklift Driver Engulfed in Flames - An Avoidable Accident
      In 2013, posted a video showing a serious forklift accident.  An improperly-secured propane tank fell off a moving forklift – and the forklift burst into flames.  The very lucky driver was able to get away with only minor burns.  But the entire accident was avoidable with proper tie-downs.  Don’t make this same mistake.
    • Forklift Lifting a Forklift? Do Not Try This at Work!
      Using a forklift to lift a forklift – for ANY period of time – is very unsafe and never recommended.  Yet that’s exactly what two workers did in this video, posted to YouTube in August 2014.  Share it around; it’s a great way to show everyone what NOT to do when they need to lift some pallets.
    • Use Blue Lights on Your Forklifts to Keep Workers Safe
      Our first safety article.  One blue light on a forklift tells everyone where it’s going.  It’s a cheap and powerful way to prevent accidents.  So powerful that we mention them in our safety training courses.  If your forklifts don’t have blue lights installed on them, call us & order some right away!
    • Doosan LPG Tank One final safety recommendation:  When it’s time to replace LPG tanks, pick up Doosan composite LPG tanks.  They work just like your regular LPG tanks, but they’re made of fiberglass composite.  Which makes them much stronger, and much lighter.  These tanks don’t explode in a fire.  And they only weigh 7 pounds—much lighter than the 25 pounds a standard steel/aluminum tank weighs.

    Oh, and they’re DOT-rated safe—even safer than regular tanks.  Worth checking out.  We have some of these new Doosan LPG tanks on for $229.

    Safety is a year-round concern.  This is a topic we return to over & over, because we want to keep safety in the back of everyone’s mind.  Our customers have great safety records – we at Cromer see it as part of our job to make sure they stay that way.

    See you next month!

    Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss
    Cromer Material Handling

  Deal of the Monthpalletrack_botlessshelving

    For our August Deal of the Month, we have another double sale!

    First up, a 12-foot pallet rack with 3 levels.  Good and sturdy, for holding up plenty of pallets.  Normally priced at $540 – on sale now for $390. – Pallet Rack 12 Starter $390

    Next up, a 48” x 24” 7-foot boltless shelving unit, with 4 shelves.  Ideal for back rooms and warehouse corners.  Normally priced at $130 – on sale now for $85. – Boltless Shelving 48”x24” $85

    Visit to order.  Questions before buying?  Call Cromer at 800-974-5438 and ask about the August ForkliftBoss deals.

  • Cromer's 2015 Forklift Maintenance Guide

    By Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss | Aug 03, 2015

    When’s the best time to do maintenance? Right before something breaks down. But, since nobody knows exactly when that will happen, it’s best to do maintenance on a regular schedule.

    We’ve written many articles on forklift maintenance over the past couple years. To save you time, I’ve gathered them all up into a quick “maintenance guide.” Everything from knowing when to replace your forklifts’ tires, to when to replace the forklift!

    Save this email, and you’ll have a free maintenance guide when you need it.

    • How and When to Replace Forklift Tires Safely
    • Forklift tires incorporate a method for telling you when it’s time to replace them. This article explains those methods for both cushion tires and solid pneumatics. We also list out the replacement process, so you’ll know exactly what needs to happen for a safe tire replacement. 
    • How and When to Replace Electric Forklift Batteries 
    • Are your forklifts’ batteries dying? Use the reference list in this article to make the call. When it’s time to replace them, we have a process (fully documented) to make it quick and easy. We even do the replacements on-site!
    • Signs a Forklift is Ready for Retirement
    • Like any piece of machinery, forklifts eventually reach the end of their usable life. Watch out for these 5 signs – downtime and work orders, for example. We also give some reminders on the dangers of pushing a dying forklift too hard.
    • What to Do with a Forklift at its End-of-Life
    • When you’ve determined that a forklift is a danger to keep using, it’s time to retire it. You may not know—but you can recycle a forklift! In this article we show how we recycle end-of-life forklifts, and some good reasons for the recycling.
    • Why Won't My Forklift Start? - Common Causes of Forklift Failure
    • A forklift can fail for many reasons. We list the 4 most common in this article, such as hydraulic leaks. How do you avoid failures? Check your trucks! We wrote out several quick checks you can make to help prevent forklift failures.
    • Choosing the Right Forklift Tire
    • One of our first newsletter articles! What are the differences between a cushion tire and a pneumatic tire? What are the two types of compound tire? When should you use a smooth tread tire (even if the manufacturer ships with a traction tread)? The answers are all here.
    • Reminder: Keep All Your Forklifts Up to CARB Code
    • CARB established air quality standards for California. Your trucks must meet CARB emissions standards while operating. Here’s how to tell if your trucks are up to CARB Code…and what happens when they aren’t.
    • Facts About Propane
    • The important details on propane – different fuel varieties, how to tell if a propane tank is leaking, what an OPD is, where to safely store propane tanks, and more.
    • Get Tuned Up for the Year
    • All forklifts need maintenance. Without it you risk your daily operations and equipment (not to mention worker safety!). This is a reminder on what’s involved in regular forklift maintenance, and what our technicians will service when you bring forklifts to Cromer.

    Summer’s winding down soon. For some of us, the coming months will be the busiest time of the year. Now’s the time to get your forklifts and industrial equipment serviced. If you don’t have it on the schedule yet, give us a call and we’ll get it done!

    See you next month!

    Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss
    Cromer Material Handling

    Cromer FUTURE of the Month


    The future is here! Our July Deal of the Month is a brand-new BYD 80-volt electric forklift.IMG_2764a

    • It takes only 2 hours to charge. Two shifts per charge.
    • It has a 6000lb or 8000lb capacity. The production is the same as (or better than) an LPG truck.
    • The lithium battery has a 10-year warranty. Plus, you don't have to recycle the batteries - they're perfectly safe to throw away!

    This IS the future of forklifts. Get it for your warehouse today. Call Cromer at 800-974-5438 and ask for "the BYD Forklift".

  • Buy Rack, Shelving, Pallet Jacks, Even a Forklift at the New Online Store

    By Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss | Jul 10, 2015

    Introducing an all-new way to buy material handling equipment – online!

    Cromer has launched its new online store at

    It’s an ecommerce website for ordering the material handling equipment you need. From your phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop.

    What Can You Buy at

    • Warehouse Rack
    • Industrial Shelving
    • New Forklifts
    • Used Forklifts
    • Forklift Parts like Blue Lights, LPG Tanks, etc.
    • Forklift Attachments like Fork Clamps and Rotators

    Why Should I Go Online to Buy a Forklift?

    Material handling equipment may not seem like something you’d want to buy online. Forklifts don’t fit in a box, after all!

    There are several benefits to buying at though. For example, you can:

    1. See visuals of the equipment right away.
    2. Get details on the item’s condition, 24/7.
    3. Choose when & how you want the item delivered – We have direct delivery within most of Northern California, as well as shipping options.
    4. Get the price – we have THE best prices you’ll find in Northern California, online or offline.
    5. Select a payment option – Right now you can pay through Credit Card, PayPal, Wire Transfer…or just pick up the phone and finalize your order.

    How Do I Use the Online Store?

    If you’ve ever bought a book or office supplies online, you already know how to use our online store. Here’s the Ecommerce Site

    • Go to:
    • Click any of the 5 categories to navigate:
      • Storage & Material Handling
      • New Forklifts
      • Used Forklifts
      • Forklift Parts & Accessories
      • Forklift Attachments
    • Browse around until you find a product you want.
    • Click the “Add to Cart” button for it.
    • Click the Cart icon (top right) to complete checkout, just like you would at Amazon or eBay.
    • Done!

    Easy right? That’s the whole point. We built to make ordering material handling equipment fast and easy.

    We’ll still happily work with you by phone or email, of course. This new online store is one more way we help you get the right product for the right job.

    What do you think? We’d appreciate your feedback. Call us at 800-974-5438, or email your thoughts to

    Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss
    Cromer Material Handling

    Cromer Deal of the Month


    Need another reason to try out How about a coupon?

    Use this code at checkout: FORKLIFTBOSS1
    And get 10% off your first order!

    That’s all. Every rack, shelving unit, even forklifts…10% off. Just for using

    (One use per customer. Minimum order 3 products.)

    Questions about how to use the online store? Call Cromer at 800-974-5438 and ask for “Ecommerce Help.”

  • It's Time to Reorganize the Warehouse

    By Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss | Jun 09, 2015

    We’re noticing a trend in our Allied division. A lot of pallet rack orders. Same with small-parts storage shelving.

    Why now?

    Now’s a great time for organizing the garage & the warehouse, actually. It makes sense for several reasons.

    1. Tax Season is over. Money held over to cover taxes is now freed up (hopefully!).
    2. The next fiscal quarter starts July 1. Active budgets either need to finish up, or businesses have new budgets going forward.
    3. Here in California, we’re right at Harvest Season. Successful growers may need extra space.
    4. Summer’s coming fast. The heat often means more automotive & industrial repair work.

    All this explains why two customer types are organizing/reorganizing the most: warehouse storage and automotive garages.

    The warehouses are redoing their layouts to increase capacity. Automotive dealers want to stock more parts for better turnaround times in their service departments.Applied-Drawer1

    Getting Ready for Allied Orders

    We at Cromer decided to help out our customers with all this reorganization. We’ve brought in extra stock of Cromer Allied products, from industrial shelving to warehouse rack.

    All at the best price you’ll find anywhere in Northern California.

    Need Help Reorganizing the Garage? We Do That Too.

    Not only do we stock rack & shelving products, we’ll help you design your garage/warehouse layout.

    One of the most frequent calls we’ve had this spring was, “Can you help me reorganize the garage?” Often it’s automotive dealers who call. Their mechanics work hard—but get into a rush, and end up piling parts & tools everywhere.

    Solution? Call a Cromer technician for small-parts shelving and a storage layout design. Much cheaper than hunting for a warehouse to rent (more efficient too). More details are on our Warehouse Design page.

    Better Organization Means Better Efficiency, Before the Rush Hits

    Now is the best time to build out your storage capacity. Prices are lower, there’s time to design an optimized space, and you’ll have everything in place before the summer – and well before the holidays too!

    See you next month!

    Cromer Deal of the Month

    NEW BOLTLESS SHELVING – 48x24 FOR $75boltless-june15

    Here’s a sale price on some shelving, only for newsletter readers. Our popular boltless shelving at 24” x 48” is the May Deal of the Month. Only $75 per unit.

    Every shelving unit is gray steel, with four particleboard shelves. Each shelf has a 500-pound capacity, for holding up the heavy boxes. Since they’re boltless, setup only takes a few minutes.

    We’ve got plenty of these, so order as many as you need! Call Cromer at 800-974-5438 and ask for Chuck Davies, our VP of Allied. Or email Chuck at

  • Now’s the Time to Reserve Your Forklift Rentals for Harvest Season

    By Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss | May 04, 2015

    The drought continues to affect everyone living & working in California. We’re all doing what we can to conserve and use water wisely. Now, with Harvest Season approaching, it’s time for our farmers & vineyards to reap the results of their hard work.

    Which means it’s time to start thinking about renting the necessary equipment.

    Earlier this month we took our first rental reservation – 25 forklifts for cherry harvesting. That’s 25 fewer forklifts available, right out of the gate.

    We continue to expand our rental fleet, of course. But there are only so many trucks available. We encourage all of you—if you do need extra material handling equipment for this year’s Harvest/Crush, call us right away to reserve it!

    Harvest Rental Inventory & Our Recommendations

    Our current rental fleet stands at over 200 forklifts. LPGs and electrics. Indoor, outdoor and indoor/outdoor. The average rental forklift’s age is only 2.5 years (the newest you’ll find for any Northern California rental, by the way).

    This year, we recommend customers consider renting 80-volt indoor/outdoor electric forklifts. Why?

    1. Longevity. We’ve mentioned before that an electric forklift runs for 2 shifts on 1 battery charge. You save money on fuel, and get more productive time out of each truck.
    2. Clean. Since they’re electrics, they don’t burn fuel. No smoke hovering over your already drought-stricken fields.
    3. The Right Tires. These forklifts use tires which grip well on dry soil. Keeps your operators safe.

    Not to worry, we have plenty of LPG forklifts in our rental fleet too. As well as attachments like rotators (with hold-downs), bin dumpers, specialty forks & load handlers. Attachments come from these manufacturers:

    bolzoni126 BOLZONI - Clamps, Pallet Handlers
    cascade125 CASCADE - Clamps, Push/Pulls
    liftmaster124 MALAVAK/LIFT MASTER - Gate Controls, Dumpers
    rightline128 RIGHTLINE - Forks, Load Handlers

    How to Reserve a Rental Forklift or Handling Equipment for Harvest

    For all of Northern California: Please call Kathy in our Oakland headquarters at 800-974-5438 (or 510-534-6566 locally). She will help you reserve what you need.

    Each Cromer facility has its own stock of rentals. However, we coordinate rentals through Oakland so we can deliver the right forklift to the right job site. No matter where it’s stored.

    Due to the high demand, we prefer a 3-month minimum rental period.

    Remember: Our rental fleet is always reserved well before Harvest Season start. Now is the time to make your reservations.

    See you next month!

    Cromer Deal of the Month


    We have four Jungheinrich EJE120 electric walkie pallet trucks coming off the rental fleet. They have been inspected, tuned up & are ready for warehouse work.

    Each walkie jack has a 4,500lb capacity. They’re easy to move and have great stability. The EJE120s are especially good at loading/unloading inventory from trailers.

    Need one? Call Cromer at 800-974-5438 and ask for the EJE120s on sale. They won’t last long at this price!

  • Inspect Your Forks & Chains - What to Look Out For, and Why it Matters to Worker Safety

    By Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss | Mar 31, 2015

    Today, let’s talk about 2 parts of the forklift we haven’t yet – the forks and chains.

    Forks are solid hunks of metal. They have to be, to lift all those pallets! Treated properly, they’ll last you a long time.

    But forks have a lifespan too.

    After a while, they’re no longer safe to use. If you do, you risk a fork snapping, dropping its load or flinging sharp debris across the warehouse!

    How Fork Wear & Damage Happens

    The usual causes of fork damage & wear include:

    • Normal wear from use over time
    • Improper chain adjustments
    • Tire wear/damage (disrupts forklift stability, can cause the forks to scrape or tilt)
    • Accidents (tip-over, running into racks & walls)
    • Loaded beyond their rated load capacity

    One thing I’ve found about fork safety is that, if you make sure to include forks in your inspections, you’ll catch problems long before any forks break.fork-tips

    For standard (single-shift) operations, inspect your forks every 12 months. Or whenever a defect is spotted (e.g., operator reports a fork is scratched).

    When inspecting, look for:

    • Surface cracks
    • Straightness of the blade, and the shank
    • Improper angle on the heel (beyond 90 degrees)
    • Are the fork tips at the same level?
    • Signs of wear on the fork surface, tips or hook
    • Thickness of the fork (see the next section)

    If you see any material defects, remove the fork from service immediately.

    Got Fork Calipers? Fork Thickness Matters Too

    Over time, the metal on a fork wears down from repeated use & load weight. It’s a slow process, but it adds up eventually.

    The Industrial Truck Standards Development Foundation (ITSDF)’s safety regulations state that if a fork has lost 10% of its original thickness, either on the blade or the heel, then that fork must be removed from service.

    You find out how much wear your forks have with a fork caliper. Fork calipers measure how thick a fork blade, heel & hook are. It’s a quick-use tool, showing you right away whether your forks are thick enough to continue using safely. Or whether it’s time to retire them.

    Chain Safety

    If a fork can wear out, the chain can too. Forklift chains typically last for 6,000 hours or 3 years of use, with proper lubrication.

    Chains are more susceptible to environmental factors though. Moisture, high/low temperatures, corrosive atmosphere, abrasives (sand/gravel) and overloading will all shorten a chain’s lifespan.

    Inspect chains every 6 months, at least. Look for issues like:

    • Wear on link plate edges
    • Protruding pins
    • Elongation of the chain (total)
    • Cracks
    • Tight joints
    • Corrosion

    Tight joints can be re-lubricated. If there are no other issues, you can resume using the chain. Otherwise, replace the chain at once.

    What to Do with Retired Forks

    The best thing to do with damaged forks is to send them to salvage. You'll get a little money for them that way.

    If you want to repair the forks, do not do the repairs yourself! You can accidentally weaken the forks further. Send forks to their manufacturer for repair instead.

    If a fork or chain is damaged during shift, stop use of that forklift immediately.

    (Forks and chains are available in our Parts Inventory. If you do send damaged parts off to salvage, call us for a quick replacement.)

    Make Sure You Watch the Forks and Chains

    If you're already inspecting your lift trucks’ forks and chains, great! Keep it up. If not, time to start.

    Want some more information on taking care of your forks & chains? Use these resources:

    1. Cascade has a Fork Inspection Kit with a caliper, guidebook and safety poster.
    2. Cascade also offers an up-to-date guide called “2015 Forks Fork Facts” (PDF). It has charts for fork types, capacity, vocabulary, and safety procedures. Plus it’s free.

    If you don't have time to check forks and chains for your fleet, Cromer inspects them as part of our Major Interval Service and Fleet Planned Maintenance. Regular maintenance plans like these mean you don’t need to spend the time—but your workers are kept safe.

    Until next month!

    Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss
    Cromer Material Handling

    Career Opportunities at Cromer

    Come work for the Forklift Boss! We have the following job openings available:

    • Territory Sales Representative
    • Service Technicians
    • Dispatch/Administrative Assistant

    We’re looking for can-do people with the skills and drive to make things happen. Visit our Careers page on to view the job listings and apply.

    If someone you know – who’s not currently working for your employer – would be interested in these positions, please forward this email to them. boltlessshelving-Mar15

    Cromer Deal of the Month


    Install shelving fast with these Boltless Shelving units. Suitable for warehouse or office storage. 48” by 36” means you’ll have plenty of space for storing boxes, parts, and everything else.

    One 48”x36” unit, with 4 shelves included, is only $100. We run through stock fast on these, so if you need shelving, don’t hesitate!

    To order some, call Cromer at 800-974-5438 and ask for the Boltless Shelving Pack.

  • Forklift Safety Training: Do I Have to Keep Taking it?

    By Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss | Mar 02, 2015

    Yes you do. Who says? OSHA and the State of California.

    OSHA: "Every employer using industrial trucks must comply with safety requirements..."

    OSHA mandates that all employers meet their safety standards. Industries which use material handling equipment (warehouses, heavy industry, etc.) must follow OSHA guidelines for operating and maintaining industrial equipment.

    That includes certifying your operators are “competent to operate a powered industrial truck safely, as demonstrated by successful completion of the training and evaluation specified in the OSHA standard.”

    Two of OSHA’s training requirements are as follows:

    1. “It is the employer’s responsibility to train, test, evaluate and authorize every one of their forklift operators.”
    2. “From a liability standpoint, we recommend that the employer takes two hours every year to re-certify their forklift operators by providing classroom instruction and driving evaluations.”

    California: "Plus these extra standards too."

    Not only that, but California State Law requires you to re-take safety training at least once every 3 years. Their State Plan not only follows OSHA rules, but they added unique standards for:

    • Toxic Chemical Handling and Exposure Safety Training Says NO!
    • Agriculture
    • Repetitive Motion Injuries
    • Child Labor
    • Heat Exposure
    • Noise Exposure

    California State Plan (Details) – Occupational Safety & Health Administration

    So either way, you have a standard to meet.

    Luckily, you can meet both OSHA’s and California’s standards with the same training. Think of it this way: It’s just one morning a year per operator. And then – provided your workplace is up to code – you’re all set.

    Are There Benefits to Safety Training? Yes, and You Avoid Dangers Too!

    There's more than one reason for your operators to attend regular training. 4 reasons in fact: 2 benefits to regular training, and 2 dangers you can avoid by taking the class.


    1. Learn new safety procedures. Forklift technology still evolves. New models may work a bit differently. When that happens, safety procedures must evolve too. Where do you find those out? In a safety training class.

    2. Spot forklift problems before they escalate. Part of the training class covers inspecting forklift components like batteries, load stability and parking. Another part addresses load maximums and keeping loads secure during transport.

      It’s a refresher for the mind. When you head back to the job site, you’ll keep a sharper eye out for anything wrong.


    1. Forklift Accidents. In December 2013 we blogged about an “Avoidable Accident” where a forklift burst into flames. The propane tanks were not properly tied down. The driver was lucky and avoided serious injury.

      In December 2012 we blogged about a tragic forklift accident where an Oakland worker used one forklift to lift up a second…and was killed. Most forklift accidents are due to dangerous practices like these.

    2. OSHA Fines/Penalties. Skipping safety training can hurt your bottom line. If OSHA determines that your operators have missed training, they can impose fines of $7,000 to $70,000 *PER* violation! What if you have 20 drivers who forgot to attend last year? You’ll hear about it...from your accountant.

    Since all of our forklift customers must remain OSHA-compliant, it’s important to us that you & your operators all stay current.

    I don’t want to see anyone dealing with a serious fine. Or worse, a serious accident!

    Here’s our Safety Training page if you need to join a class. Stay safe, everyone.

    Until next month!

    Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss
    Cromer Material Handling


    2008 DIESEL DOOSAN TRUCK - $15,400

    Diesel 2008 Doosan TruckUp for the February Deal of the Month is this used 2008 Doosan forklift. Diesel-powered with pneumatic tires and a 6,000-pound capacity. It only has 2,408 hours of use—these Doosans will keep going and going!

    Ready for retail work with its 42” forks. Great deal. On Sale for $15,400.

    If this is your next forklift, call Cromer at 800-974-5438 and ask for the Diesel Doosan.

  • Announcement: California Storage Systems is Now Part of Cromer Material Handling

    By Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss | Feb 06, 2015

    To start the New Year, the Forklift Boss has an announcement!

    As of January 1, California Storage Systems is merging with Cromer Material Handling.

    We’ve worked with Cal Storage for a few years now (joint ventured since 2010). Chuck Davies has a long-standing reputation for finding solid material handling products in Northern California—more than 25 years’ experience!

    It’s been a good working relationship. The time was right. So we made the move.

    The New Arrangement

    Cromer now fully owns the California Storage operation and inventory. Both are being folded into Cromer’s product base and our facilities’ available inventory.

    With the merger, Chuck joins Cromer as our Vice President in Charge of Allied Material Handling. Chuck’s still doing what he does best – finding and delivering the highest-quality material handling products. Like these:

    • Warehouse Rack
    • Shelving (All Types, e.g. boltless, heavy-duty metal shelves)
    • Hoists
    • Lockers, Benches, Partitions
    • Cabinets and Drawers
    • And many more.

    Now that Chuck is working with us, we have better control of our accessible inventory. Forklifts, accessories, pallet jacks and allied material handling products, all processed in one spot by Cromer’s distribution team.

    How the Merger Benefits You, Our Customer

    This is the sort of merger which provides direct benefits to our customers. For 2015 and beyond, you can expect:

    1. Larger Inventory – Now that Chuck is in charge of all our allied material handling, we can expand our stock. You’ll have additional choices in vendors and order volumes.
    2. More Products at Your Local Cromer Facility – Each Cromer facility will carry a larger amount of material handling products for immediate purchase (or rental). For instance, our Manteca/Stockton facility is getting big shipments of industrial shelving in already.
    3. Faster Sourcing and Delivery – You’re now able to access Chuck’s expertise by coming to Cromer. He’ll source the parts needed, and our delivery drivers will be on their way to you. Not sure which products best suit your worksite? Chuck will take care of finding the right one.

    This isn’t our only change planned for 2015 though. No, not at all...

    Keep an eye on upcoming issues of this newsletter. Our subscribers will be the first to hear about the changes in the works.

    (While you’re at it, please share “News from the Forklift Boss” with your colleagues! They’ll benefit from the new information coming your way in 2015. The sharing buttons are at the top right. We appreciate all referrals.)

    Until next month!

    Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss
    Cromer Material Handling

    Career Opportunities at Cromer

    Come work for the Forklift Boss! We have the following job openings available:

    • Territory Sales Representative
    • Service Technicians
    • Dispatch/Administrative Assistant

    We're looking for can-do people with the skills and drive to make things happen. Visit our new Careers page on to view the job listings and apply.

    If someone you know – who’s not currently working for your employer – would be interested in these positions, please forward this email to them.

    Cromer Deal of the Month


    CAT is still running a special lease deal on selected new lift trucks. You pay only $266 a month for a 40-month lease. If you want to extend the lease, the rate gets even cheaper.

    Details in this flyer: Cromer CAT Special Flex Lease (PDF)

    We only have 4 trucks left! They WILL NOT last. So call Cromer Headquarters at 510-534-6566 to take advantage of the Cat Flex Lease.

  • The Section 179 Tax Deduction is Still Available - Save on Your Equipment Purchases Before January 1

    By Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss | Dec 04, 2014

    Two years back, we talked about the Section 179 tax deduction. Last year it was extended. I’m happy to say that it’s still available, and you can still use it to save on industrial equipment purchases.

    Forklifts, of course, but also pallet jacks, rack & shelving, and so on. Best of all, the equipment can be new or used. Letting you save even more.

    If you’re planning purchases before the end of 2014, make sure you take advantage of Section 179.

    What is Section 179?

    IRS Tax Code Section 179 is a special deduction on buying new & used equipment.

    Normally, a business would depreciate its newly-purchased forklift over its expected life (average 5-7 years). That means the tax benefits of purchasing a new unit are spread out over those tax years.

    The 2008 Stimulus Act changed that by introducing Section 179. It allows a business to deduct the full price of purchased equipment in the year it was purchased and put into service.

    You can deduct any equipment purchased up to $25,000, if the total amount of equipment you buy doesn’t exceed $200,000. If it does, the deduction is phased out gradually until you hit $225,000. After which point Section 179 is not available.

    Here’s an example of how Section 179 breaks down, if you spent $20,000 on equipment.

    Essentially, Section 179 can put 5-7 years’ worth of tax benefits into your pocket in one tax year.

    Crest Capital has a live calculator for determining how much you’d save with Section 179. Visit the Tax Deduction Calculator page to try it out.

    Can You Use Section 179 When Buying Material Handling Equipment?

    Yes. In fact, most of our inventory falls under Section 179 Qualifying Purchases, as Machinery and Business Equipment. The website lists property that qualifies for the deduction.

    Your company can also lease equipment and still take the Section 179 deduction. (Check our Deal of the Month for a great lease option – which you can then deduct!)

    How Do I Take Advantage of Section 179?

    1. Buy/lease equipment you need for the coming year (such as forklifts, new or used) before December 31.
    2. Total your equipment purchases. Remember the $200,000 threshold.
    3. Consult your CPA or tax advisor on writing off your tax savings as per Section 179.

    If you have more questions about using Section 179 on your material handling purchases, please talk to your tax professional. Then come by Cromer Material Handling and let us help you find the right equipment for 2015.

    Until next month!

    Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss
    Cromer Material Handling

    Cromer Deal of the Month


    Cat has a special lease deal on selected new lift trucks. You pay only $266 a month for a 40-month lease. If you want to extend the lease, the rate gets even cheaper.

    Details in this flyer: Cromer CAT Special Flex Lease (PDF)

    We only have 5 trucks at this price. They WILL NOT last! Call Cromer Headquarters at 510-534-6566 to take advantage of this Flex Lease. Before they’re gone!

  • Is it Safe to Use an Electric Forklift in the Rain?

    By Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss | Nov 07, 2014

    Until recently, many businesses with electric forklifts were reluctant to use them outdoors. They were afraid that if any water got into the workings, the forklift’s electronics would short out. Then you’d have a forklift billowing smoke and not working anymore.

    Lucky for all of us, this is no longer the case.

    Years ago, Europe tackled this problem. 50% of their forklifts operate outdoors. You can imagine how important protecting against water is there!

    Their efforts resulted in the “IP Code” or “International Protection Marking”. The IP Code is a series of numerical codes which identify what a piece of equipment is protected against. There are two scales, each represented by a number: Ingress of solid objects (dirt), Ingress of liquids (water).

    These numbers are then combined to a two-digit number which represents the total rating. For instance, IP00 would mean no protection against dirt or water at all. IP22 would mean protection from solid objects the size of your hand, and against dripping water.

    The IP Code Wikipedia entry:

    How does IP Code Rating Relate to Electric Forklifts?

    Jungheinrich equipment has been rated IP54 for years. It’s a German brand, so it had to have a suitable IP Code Rating to meet European standards.

    IP54 means their forklifts’ components are fully protected from “dust, debris and liquid.” Both dirt and water.

    In other words, these forklifts are rated completely waterproof and safe for outdoor use. I even watched Jungheinrich drive a forklift through a trough full of water to demonstrate!

    Here’s an article with more details on the IP54 Rating: IP65 and IP54 - Protecting Your Electrical Equipment From Dust, Debris and Liquid

    Forklifts Rated IP54 are Waterproof. Use Them Outdoors.

    It’s perfectly safe to use electric forklifts outdoors—provided they’re IP54 rated. Jungheinrichs are. Other electric models should be as well; if you’re not sure, we’ll check their IP Code Rating for you.

    If you’re keeping any electrics inside the warehouse for fear of environmental damage—take them out for a drive!

    Until next month!

    Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss
    Cromer Material Handling

    Cromer Deal of the Month


    Using an electric pallet jack speeds up load times and saves your workers’ backs. These Jungheinrichs use a specialized 3-phase AC motor for easy use and low maintenance.

    They’re the natural choice for our 25th Anniversary Sale.

    We have less than 20 of these EJE120s in stock. For our Deal of the Month, you can bring one to the warehouse for $700 off the regular price.


    Call Cromer at 800-974-5438 and ask for the 25th Anniversary Pallet Jack. Hurry, because this sale price will only last while supplies last!

  • 25 Years of Material Handling Success: Where Cromer Started and Where We Are Now

    By Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss | Oct 07, 2014

    On October 17, 2014, Cromer Material Handling will reach 25 years of operation.

    It’s a time to look back, reflect on where we started and how far we’ve come. It’s also a time to thank you, our customers, for sticking with Cromer over the years.

    THEN: East Bay Clarklift
    NOW: Cromer Material Handling

    The day I bought East Bay Clarklift in Oakland was an ominous day. It was the day of the Loma Prieta Earthquake. I jumped on one of my forklifts and drove it to the site of the Nimitz Freeway collapse, hoping I could help. I won’t forget that day.

    My business started as a one man, one forklift brand shop. Then came “Cromer Equipment,” with additional forklift brands. And now “Cromer Material Handling.” Each name change came about because we expanded our offerings--adding more forklift brands, getting into material handling equipment, adding services like forklift training & service/repair, and opening new locations across Northern California.

    THEN: 1 Oakland facility.
    NOW: 3 main facilities and 2 satellite service centers.

    Sometimes I tell people we have a service facility in Santa Rosa and they’re surprised. Or I mention our Chico service center. All the way up in Chico? Well, I can’t provide full service throughout Northern California without a facility up north, can I?

    I want Cromer Material Handling to be the #1 material handling supplier in Northern California (maybe all of California one day). With these new facilities and even more expansion coming, we’re well within reach of that goal.

    THEN: 10 years’ industrial equipment experience
    NOW: The Forklift Boss

    When I started the business, I’d been in the forklift industry for 10 years. It was high-energy, had powerful machines, and important customers—right where I wanted to be.

    Now, 25 years later, people come to me for advice on everything from which forklifts to buy, to how to succeed on the Web. I’m invited to speak across North America on running my business and satisfying major customers like California vineyards. (Love doing this; it’s a great time.)

    One thing that hasn’t changed in 25 years are our values.

    1. Do the right and ethical thing in all situations.
    2. Find the right forklift for the customer’s job.
    3. Maintenance service is done promptly and thoroughly.
    4. Make 100% sure every piece of equipment sold meets the Cromer quality standard. If it doesn’t, it’s not sold.

    It’s very humbling to reach 25 years of success. I owe a great deal to the Cromer team for working hard through thick and thin, and to our customers for choosing our products & services.

    Thank you everyone. I hope you’ll stay with us for the next 25 years.

    Until next month!

    Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss
    Cromer Material Handling

    Cromer Deal of the Month


    In October we’ll celebrate 25 years of material handling success. For our 25th anniversary Deal of the Month, we’re having a one-time-only sale on our most popular pallet truck – the Jungheinrich EJE120.

    We have only 20 of these EJE120s in stock. You can take one (or more) for only $3,950. (That’s slashed down from their usual $4,650 – a savings of $700!)

    Call Cromer at 800-974-5438 and ask for the 25th Anniversary Pallet Truck. Hurry, because our stock will not last the month at this price!

  • Cromer Attends the 2014 Safety Road-e-O

    By Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss | Oct 05, 2014

    Earlier this month, the Northern California Refuse Recycling Council put on their annual Louie Pellegrini IV Memorial Safety "Road-e-O". It's held at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, and is in its 5th year running.

    This is a friendly competition and educational faire, intended to underscore safety for industry drivers & equipment operators. Kids are welcome to attend & learn about industrial equipment safety, too.

    The CRRC invites guest companies to participate in their safety competitions. We sent over a "Cromer Posse", who brought some of our best forklifts (including a "Pink Forklift") and had a lot of fun.

    Video slideshow of the event:

    Worker safety is and always will be of critical importance to Cromer Material Handling. That's why we're glad to participate in the Safety Road-e-O, and we hope it continues to set a good reminder of proper worker safety for many years to come.

    Photos from the event are at Pellegrini Photography. If you’re sharp-eyed you’ll see our Pink Forklift!

    To learn more about the Safety Road-e-O, visit

  • How and When to Replace Electric Forklift Batteries

    By Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss | Sep 05, 2014

    The average battery life for an electric forklift is about 5 years. The good news is, they can be replaced for many more years of work with the forklift.

    However, replacing batteries is not the same as replacing tires. Batteries are much bigger and much heavier. In an electric forklift, the battery can account for up to 3,000 pounds of the unit’s entire weight!

    Since more & more customers are opting for electric forklifts, I wanted to talk about battery replacement. This month’s “News from the Forklift Boss” will tell you how to determine if a forklift battery is dying, and how we replace them for you.

    When to Replace an Electric Forklift’s Battery

    The “every 5 years” rule of thumb isn’t ironclad. If you take good care of an electric forklift, the battery can easily last beyond that.

    Sometimes though, the battery decides to give out early. This usually happens when the forklift is worked too hard and not given regular service.

    When the battery begins to die, it shows signs similar to a dying car battery. Here’s what to look out for:

    • Your battery’s charge degrades to only a few hours of operational use.
    • You have to charge the battery more than once a day to get a full shift’s work out of the forklift.
    • You see corrosion buildup on the battery case.
    • The battery emits a sulfurous “rotten eggs” smell.
    • The battery starts smoking while charging or in use. (This is very dangerous and can cause a fire. Replace the battery immediately if this happens!)

    A Cromer technician providing regular maintenance will alert you to any signs of battery problems. We do not recommend continuing to use a forklift whose battery shows these signs. Replace the battery first.

    How the Replacement Process Works

    As I mentioned, battery replacement is more involved than fixing tires. Order a new battery when your electric forklift begins showing signs (loss of charge is usually the first sign operators report). We can arrange for a loaner battery within a few days’ window, if you can’t afford any downtime while waiting for the new battery to arrive.

    Here’s how the replacement process goes.

    1. When the customer orders a replacement, the new battery is shipped directly to your place of business.
    2. Delivery takes approximately 5-7 working days from time of order.
    3. Once the battery arrives, a trained battery technician will install it in the forklift. No workers are permitted in the area where replacement occurs; we must use another forklift to (safely) lift the new battery into place.
    4. The old battery will be removed and disposed of at no cost to you. Cromer technicians will bring it to a smelter for recycling.

    Not much different from changing a forklift’s tire, right?

    SAFETY WARNING: If a forklift’s battery is losing charge, you may experience trouble handling the unit. Response time may slow down. There is a slight possibility of the forklift tipping over when rounding corners, if this occurs. If any operator finds their electric forklift is stalling out or feels sluggish, they should stop driving it immediately and notify a supervisor.

    We at Cromer like electric forklifts. They’re cleaner and more efficient (in most cases) than LPG trucks. Replacing their battery is not a small task…but it does extend the forklift’s operating life for a long time.

    See you next month!Sept 2014 Deals of the Month

    Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss
    Cromer Material Handling

    Cromer Deal of the Month


    For our August Deal of the Month, Cromer has THREE forklifts on sale and ready for your work site. Choose from any of these:

    #1 – A 2006 Combilift C8000 three-stage LPG forklift. 8,000lbs capacity. Off lease with only 3685 hours of use. $29,500.

    #2 – A 2006 Mitsubishi FG25N three-stage LPG forklift. 5,000lbs capacity. Nice lift—this unit only has 1601 hours on it. $15,900.

    #3 – A 2009 Bendi B30E three-stage electric forklift. 3,000lbs capacity. Like new, only 1400 hours on it. $38,000.

    Call Cromer at 800-974-5438 and ask for Vince Williams. He has these three forklifts ready to ship.

  • New Cromer Forklift Hauler Truck

    By Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss | Aug 18, 2014

    Cromer technicians deliver new forklifts to your work site. Sometimes we also pick up forklifts in need of repair, and return them once we've fixed them. Many of you have seen a Cromer hauler truck pulling up.

    Here's the newest hauler!

    This Volvo super-cab flatbed can haul pretty much any forklift in existence. We've tasked it to delivering forklifts (new purchases and rentals) to customer work sites. But if you have a forklift in need of serious repair - or if it's ready for retirement - you might see this hauler truck coming for it!

  • Forklift Lifting a Forklift? Do Not Try This at Work!

    By Chris Williams, The Forklift Boss | Aug 14, 2014
    Have you seen the video where a forklift forklifts a forklift? Sounds funny, but it's actually very dangerous and not recommended at all. Head to our "Creative" Handling Solutions page to see the video.
  • Electric or LPG - Which Forklift Type is More Cost-Effective?

    By Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss | Aug 07, 2014

    We’ve offered the Electric Lift Truck Cost Calculator on our site for a while now. Many of you have used it to determine if electric forklifts would be a better choice than LPG for your next purchase.

    Today we’re going to share some numbers on electric vs. LPG. 3 real-world scenarios where we quoted customers on new forklift purchases. Twice the numbers recommended electric lift trucks due to better maintenance & fuel costs. The third time, however, LPG actually won out.

    It turns out that, in some cases, buying an LPG forklift is more cost-effective over a 5-year period than electric.

    What could such a circumstance involve? Let’s find out.

    Electric Total Cost VS. LPG Total Cost: 3 Scenarios

    These calculations consider the following characteristics over a 5-year period:

    • How many hours a forklift is used per day
    • How many days per week a forklift is used
    • Forklift capacity
    • Energy prices/fuel costs
    • Maintenance costs per operating hour (estimated)

    All are factored into a total cost of ownership, with values compared between a diesel forklift, a propane forklift, and an electric forklift.

    Scenario 1. Quote estimate for 3 forklifts at 5,000 pound capacity, 5 days a week (8 hours per day), with an average operating time of 2,080 hours per year. Diesel forklifts would run $80,654 total cost over 5 years. Propane trucks would cost $83,058. Electric forklifts would cost $61,292.
    Most Cost-Effective – Electric. Savings of $21,766 over propane, $19,362 over diesel. Plus over 70,000 pounds of carbon dioxide and over 30,000 pounds of carbon monoxide saved!

    Scenario 2. Quote estimate for Cemco. (Featured in the December 2013 issue of News from the Forklift Boss.)
    8 forklifts at 6,000 pound capacity, 5 days a week (12 hours per day), with an average operating time of 3,120 hours per year. Diesel forklifts would run $130,741 total cost over 5 years. Propane trucks would cost $123,839. Electric forklifts would cost $70,715.
    Most Cost-Effective – Electric. Savings of $53,124 over propane, $60,027 over diesel. Plus over 150,000 pounds of carbon dioxide and over 60,000 pounds of carbon monoxide saved!

    Scenario 3. Quote estimate for 1 forklift. 5,000 pound capacity, 4 days a week (3 hours per day), with an average operating time of 576 hours per year. Diesel forklifts would run $44,465 total cost over 5 years. Propane trucks would cost $41,575. Electric forklifts would cost $41,844.
    Most Cost-Effective – LPG (Propane). Savings of $269 over electric.

    What happened here? LPG turns out to be the best choice for Scenario 3. It illustrates one key instance when LPG forklifts are more cost-effective than electric – when hours of usage shrink.

    If you use a forklift for half of (or less than) a full workday, the support costs go down. So do the fuel costs. When balanced against the up-front cost of buying the forklift, these lower costs fail to overcome the purchase price. The fewer hours you use it, the more costly electrics can become over time.

    I should note: Not many businesses have a situation like this! This is more of a one-truck company example. Something everyone should keep in mind, even if a 4-hour shift never shows up on your forklift usage register.

    Most of us will use forklifts all day, every day. With 8-hour days, maintenance & fuel costs do overcome the purchase price, and it often becomes more cost-effective to buy electric.

    Bonus: Cutting Out the Pollution

    Another factor to consider is the amount of pollution forklifts generate over time. In Scenario 1 and 2, each electric forklift purchased eliminated up to 125,000 pounds of pollution over 5 years.

    For those businesses who have to maintain CARB Compliance, this is a big deal. Cemco, when it bought those 8 new electric forklifts, brought both their Northern California AND Southern California locations into CARB compliance. They’ll stop over a million pounds of pollution from ever entering the atmosphere.

    (September 2013 Newsletter - Reminder: Keep All Your Forklifts Up to CARB Code)

    What’s the Most Cost-Effective Forklift for You?

    If it’s approaching time to invest in some new forklifts, take this into consideration. Buying electric or LPG depends on hours of usage, total costs, and CARB compliance. Cromer Material Handling is always happy to help you weigh the factors & find the right forklift for your job.

    See you next month!

    -Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss
    Cromer Material Handling

    Cromer Deal of the Month

    2007 JUNGHEINRICH 48-VOLT ELECTRIC - $15,000

    Our July Deal of the Month is a Junghenrich EKS314. These are 48volt three-stage electrics, rated at 3,000 pounds. Great running & operating unit. It's off of a full maintenance lease now. Only $15,000.

    Does the EPRI Calculator say you'd save with an electric forklift? Call Cromer at 800-974-5438 to catch this one on sale today!

  • New Decals for the Cromer Service Vans

    By Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss | Jul 07, 2014

    The Cromer expansion continues, with new decals on our vans. These vans help us provide parts and on-site service to customers throughout Northern California.

    Our new van decals mean we're easy to spot on the road. Plus our customers know right away what forklift brands we carry, how to find us online...and they know that we're coming to help!

    If you need a Cromer van to drop by for service – maybe a forklift attachment or on-site maintenance – call us at 800-974-5438. We’ll dispatch a van from your nearest Cromer facility.

  • How and When to Replace Forklift Tires Safely

    By Marshall Cromer, The Forklift Boss | Jul 02, 2014

    Back in 2012 we discussed the types of forklift tires in use. (You can read it here: “Choosing the Right Forklift Tire”.) Let’s continue that discussion today.

    Because eventually, those tires need replacing.

    When to Replace a Forklift Tire

    Every forklift tire has a method of determining when it’s time for replacement.

    On cushion tires, there’s a rule of thumb: “To the top of the numbers”. Each tire has a set of size numbers on it. For example, if you see “21x7x15” then you know it’s a 21-inch tire. Through use, the tire’s rubber wears down until the top of its surface touches these numbers.

    That’s when you NEED to replace the tires. Why? Because it means almost 100% of the shock they encounter from the road is transmitted up through the tire, through the truck, and into the driver!

    On solid pneumatic tires, you’ll find a wear ring or band. When wear & tear reaches this ring, then it’s time to replace the tire. Since this is solid, you can get a little more operation time from these tires at this point. But it’s not recommended. The chances of slipping and tipping increase.

    Of course, with all forklift tires, if you see one with chunks missing or tears across the rubber? Replace that tire right away!

    How the Replacement Process Works

    Cromer Material Handling operates a mobile tire press. When you have worn forklift tires, you call Cromer and we send the tire truck out to your location.

    The replacement process is similar to replacing car tires. With one notable difference—the pressing/mounting of new tires. Here’s how it works.

    1. Our technician jacks up the lift truck with a properly-balanced jack. (NEVER use another forklift to do this!)
    2. Unscrew and remove the wheel.
    3. Unmount the old tire from the wheel.
    4. Attach the wheel to the tire press.
    5. (Cushion Tire) A new cushion tire is pressed onto the wheel.
      (Solid Pneumatic) A fresh pneumatic tire is mounted onto the wheel.
    6. Reattach the wheel to the forklift. Screw in and lower back to ground.
    7. Test the forklift’s balance and rolling.

    Pretty simple, right? Replacement can be done anywhere, so long as the forklift is parked on a solid surface. It takes less than 30 minutes too.

    Don’t Replace One at a Time

    There’s one warning we need to make clear when it comes to forklift tires: We won’t replace just one.

    If you call us out to replace a forklift tire on its right side, we have to do the left tire too. We won’t just replace one tire on an axle and leave the other one.

    Why not? Because it’s very unsafe. One new tire on the right, and one worn-down tire on the left? It creates an imbalance in the forklift. Which heightens the chance for tipping or skidding out when the forklift’s carrying loads. It’s a serious (and unnecessary) injury risk to your workers.  (We cover this in our Forklift Safety Training classes too.)

    Replacing forklift tires that “still work” is a hard sell. The tire hasn’t failed yet; why pay for a replacement? With the information here, you can make a good judgment call. If a tire has reached a certain level of wear, then it’s not a question of IF the tire will fail to support the forklift. It’s a question of WHEN.

    Compared to the cost of a shop floor accident, replacing a couple forklift tires is nothing! So keep an eye on those tires. When it’s time to replace them, we’ll come do the job quickly and safely.

    See you next month!

    Cromer Deal of the Month


    It’s time to liquidate! Cromer’s Deal of the Month is a sale on its stock of industrial shelving and lockers. We have hundreds of units available, in various heights and sizes.

    Boltless Shelving at 6'x4'x8', 4 levels, for only $150. Expanded Metal Lockers at 12"x18"x72", single tier, starting at $179. Lockers at 12"x12"x12", 4 tiers, starting at $149. And more.

    Is it time to get organized? Tidy up your warehouse with all the rack & lockers you’ll need. Call Cromer at 800-974-5438 and ask for the Sale on Shelving!