“Light- and medium-duty trucks are the main tools of work truck fleets. But, standard base models do not have the features and capabilities most truck fleets need. This is where upfitting comes in.
Working with upfitters, fleets can build specialized vehicles that fit their specific job requirements. However, as with many aspects of truck fleet management, upfitting a work truck can come with a unique set of challenges.
In addition, fleets must always keep the overall job the truck must accomplish in mind.
Digging deeper, check out the top eight challenges when upfitting work trucks.
1. Issues with Order & Upfit Timing
Timing is critical for fleet managers.
“This can become a challenge when trying to coordinate and upfit a vehicle in a timely manner because every minute that truck sits costs money. Helping to assist with this problem is working with companies who understand how crucial timeliness is to your fleet and who can work in conjunction with you to accomplish your set timelines” said Jose Reyna, national fleet sales manager for A.R.E.
2. Ease of Driver Access
One of the biggest challenges for upfitting light-duty trucks is ensuring ease of access.
“Climbing into the truck bed or straining to reach inside standard toolboxes can be inconvenient and increase the chance of injury,” said Ashley MacLeod, senior marketing manager for Masterack.
3. Differences in Truck Size
When upfitting a light-duty truck, one of the main goals is to keep the vehicle as small as possible while trying to maximize usefulness. But, how do you maximize something that you want to be minimized?
Fleet managers often spend a lot amount of time deciding what equipment to supply on a light-duty service truck upfit.
Here at Action we offer a large assortment of truck body equipment. We can add your equipment where you need it on your custom upfit. We work with the best suppliers but can usually find the specific piece of equipment you need.
4. Avoid Spec’ing Deficiencies
Many fleet departments struggle with the spec’ing process due to not having specs to work from in the first place, having old specs, and insufficient staffing.
In some cases, these spec deficiencies can also be attributed to fleet departments which are now a fraction of the size they once were.
5. Ensuring Cargo Security
Another concern is ensuring product and goods are kept secure.
“Fleets carry expensive equipment throughout the truck, specifically in the bed. Finding solutions that not only protect the equipment from the elements but also potential theft is crucial. Also, outfitting a truck for optimal functionality not only helps with the organization but efficiency. Obtaining the right accessories for a truck is much more than just picking from a catalog, it requires understanding how the technician will be utilizing the truck and how the accessory helps/organizes in conjunction with the needs,” said Reyna of A.R.E.
6. Deciding Between Custom or Standard Upfits
There is no easy answer to the question of whether to customize or standardize work truck upfits. Some fleets can standardize because they operate in a smaller geographical footprint, or because there is little variation in the operational duties of their workforce.
In the end, standardization works for some fleets but for many, it’s an uphill battle.
7. Understanding CDL Concerns
When you move up to the medium-duty truck segment, weight is an issue as related to commercial driver’s license (CDL) requirements.
8. An issue of Truck Shortages
Today’s fleet manager is faced with a new problem. Currently, demand is outpacing supply.
Make sure to check out Action’s Bailment Pool.
The buyer benefits from the partnership that exists between the dealership and the bailment/upfit specialist for expert purchasing and upfit advice. The dealership’s commercial sales rep and Action’s bailment pool representative share a vast reservoir of knowledge about vehicles used in service jobs. They know about the different equipment available or what can be modified. They can recommend tried-and-true configurations for greater safety or efficiency, as well as the latest technologies. They also know what actually happens in the field and what comes back in for repairs — drawing upon their history of doing numerous upfits together. Buying from a bailment pool that does the upfit can save a considerable amount of time. If the Bailment has the vehicle on the ground it can be up-fitted quickly with in-stock items making for a fast turn around.
The Bottom Line
In the end, fleet managers can solve upfitting issues by really understanding the jobs the trucks need to accomplish and rightsizing equipment to ensure the job gets done.”