Low-cost forks

Smaller catalogers may not think they have the money or the space to invest in a warehouse forklift, but several new compact forklift trucks have recently hit the market. These “mini-forklifts” cost about half of the price of traditional forklift trucks, which start at around $19,000. According to Columbus, OH-based operations consultant Kenneth B. Ackerman, mini-forklifts are a relatively inexpensive introduction to mobile equipment for warehouses where maneuverability is at a premium.

For instance, the $9,500 Wave, which New Bremen, OH-based manufacturer Crown introduced in November 1997, is a light-duty lift platform designed as a safer alternative to the rolling stepladder when order-picking at greater heights. The Wave can reach up to 14 feet while carrying 100 pounds in its load tray.

Greene, NY-based manufacturer Raymond Corp. debuted its compact forklift truck in 1997. The $8,500 Gofer’s three models can scale heights of 45 inches, 68 inches, and 124 inches. Safety equipment marketer W.W. Grainger was one of the first catalogers to buy the Gofer last year. According to Bob Brought, facilities manager for Grainger’s Fountain Inn, SC-based operation, Grainger plans to begin replacing some of its older equipment with the Gofer.

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