Myths & Mistakes

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Why pay for costly upfitting mistakes, when you can tap into the insight and know-how of your upfitter before starting the job?

Fleet managers often have an idea of what they’d like their vehicles to do, but they don’t always realize that what they envision, or the way they’d like to upfit their vehicles, could be improved upon, thus boosting productivity. In order to avoid making costly mistakes, why not spend some time consulting with your upfitter?

Wrong vehicle for the job

The most common mistake happens before the upfitting even takes place, and it has to do with selecting the proper vehicle for the job. Purchasing a van when it’s clear the technician would be better served by a pickup truck is a common mistake.

Choosing the right vehicle involves qualifying the needs of end users and what they need installed to perform their task properly. Do they need a half-ton, three-quarter-ton or one-ton truck? Do they need a short box or a long box? Do they need 4×2 or 4×4? Do they need a Regular, Extended or Crew Cab? Do they need a low roof or a high roof van? What wheel base do they need? Do they need an extended van?

Cost vs. practicality

A lot of times decisions come down to price rather than practicality. Cost is always a concern, but paying up front for quality will ultimately save you money in the long run. As well, a lot of people are afraid of change. They are comfortable with what they are currently using, but more often than not, there are better, more cost effective, and more efficient products to have installed in their vehicles.

We often see contractors who plow snow in the winter asking for a leisure grade plow because it’s economical, even though they do commercial driveways, which means they really need a commercial grade plow. Others come in asking for a fibreglass truck cap when an aluminum DCU cap with toolboxes and a ladder rack would make their life easier and allow them to be more productive. True, it’s a bit more money up front, but the long-term benefits are significant.

Communication is key

One of the most popular ways to cut costs is by removing and re-installing products from the old van to the new. Does that make sense? The only way to know for sure it to speak with a professional upfitter who can clearly outline the pros and cons.

Should you install an aftermarket floor? Can you get away with using universal fit products vs. vehicle specific products? Should you go with fixed shelving, fold down shelving or pull-out drawer systems? When it comes to upfitting vans, communication between fleet managers, end users and the upfitter is key.

On-the-job research

If you’re not sure what you need, why not ask your upfitter to spend a bit of time with your drivers and technicians? We recently spent the day accompanying a telecom technician during his daily calls to gauge how to make that fleet’s vans more efficient. Once we compiled our observations, we found that on average the technician had to climb into his van three to four times per call and that he spent about 17 minutes retrieving items needed inside the van.

We took this data and worked with our suppliers to come up with a solution to reconfigure the upfit design. By replacing shelving with pull-out trays and drawers, we were able to cut time spent retrieving items by over 70 percent. So why not consult with your upfitter to see how he can help?

Categories : Fleet


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