Up until recently, diesel forklifts commanded more than 60% of forklift sales, this number however has been steadily decreasing. In the last few years, these are increasingly being replaced with battery-powered electric and automatic forklifts. Most electric forklifts still require a driver to steer them however there are increasing numbers of companies that are favouring automated forklifts. These come with sensors to avoid collision and can carry a wide range of pallets and packages.
While this might initially lead to job shortages and layoffs as automated forklifts replace people. However in many ways, this can be seen as a new opportunity, all those automated forklifts need someone to provide maintenance to them and make sure that there are no faults with the vehicle. This can’t simply be replaced by a robot and a lot of forklift operators are becoming automated forklift operators, except they are handling multiple forklifts instead of just a single machine.
Fears around job security make a lot of sense as automation has been a large point of discussion in the 21st century. There is nothing to fear however, the market isn’t moving towards full automation just yet, and businesses are reporting job shortages with forklift drivers having quit during and after the pandemic. This created an opportunity for high skilled workers who can operate both types of machinery since a lot of companies despite the shortage still have plenty of diesel forklifts.
To level up your work opportunities, it will be best to get yourself interested in how electric and automated forklifts work and be able to report and talk about them. How to check the sensors, carry weights and set everything up correctly to have the operation running smoothly. You can familiarise yourself with plenty of forklift models on our site but to get real impactful knowledge and bring value back to businesses forklift operators will need to learn about not only automation but computer systems and adjusting settings on complex machinery.
The problem with this however is that even if you were to Google and look up automated forklift training or automatic forklift training it won’t come up with anything concrete. This is a problem as the usual licensing process, regardless of whether it’s a refresher course, one for experienced drivers or novices won’t cover the leaps in technology. This is something that will need to be learnt over time, as currently there is no easy framework you can gather regarding the forklifts.
That isn’t all either, with the current fuel shortage employers are now starting to change their stance on diesel-powered forklifts, simply seeing it as a loss of value. To combat the expenditure cost, the only solution has been to replace the driver and then the associated forklift. What businesses will need to realise is that they will always need a member of staff who is responsible for that vehicle and all the others who are driving around warehouses.