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10 Upfitting Proverbs From the School of Hard Knocks

10 Upfitting Proverbs From the School of Hard Knocks

A proverb is a phrase that gives real-world advice learned from practical experience. Upfitting is complicated and there are many opportunities to make mistakes, sometimes very expensive ones. Here are 10 proverbs for a successful upfit.

June 24, 2019

Focus on Metrics That Enhance an Upfitter Partnership

Focus on Metrics That Enhance an Upfitter Partnership

Many upfitters are operating at capacity, necessitating fleets be extra attentive to specifications because any engineering change will even further delay OTD. It is times like today that reinforces the value of advance planning and the creation of fleet metrics to measure progress.

May 21, 2018

Three Steps to a Successful Upfit: Plan, Plan, Plan

We all agree that planning is crucial to the success of any project, but it is especially important when spec’ing a new upfit. Conceptually, most fleet managers will agree with this statement, but it isn’t always followed in actual practice.

May 7, 2018

End-User Input Is the Key Factor to a Successful Upfit

The key objective of end-user discussions is to match the truck with the fleet application. Once you have completed your discussions, make sure the completed upfit specs have been reviewed and approved by all parties prior to order placement. It is critical to have a documented sign-off to avoid misunderstandings that result in after-the-fact upfitting modifications.

March 26, 2018

Optimized Truck TCO Starts with the Right Specs

Vehicle specifications should be defined by the fleet application and mission requirements. A truism in truck fleet management is to design a truck that will accommodate your operational requirements rather than trying to make your operation conform to the truck. Here's how you do it.

January 22, 2018

Discrimination Against Vocational Vehicles

Discrimination Against Vocational Vehicles

Can a branded vocational vehicle be ticketed for being parked in an employee driver’s home driveway? Or, can it be subject to a fine if legally parked overnight on the side of a street? Before you say no, think again. These discriminatory practices occur regularly when vocational vehicles are parked in residential areas governed by a homeowner association (HOA). In fact, the type of restrictions implemented against vocational or branded vehicles can run the gamut and are at the whim of the HOA.

December 22, 2017

Don't Underutilize the Expertise of Your Suppliers

For many managers responsible for vehicle operations, fleet management is often one of several job responsibilities. These managers acknowledge that it is difficult to stay on top of changes in vehicle design, powertrains, onboard safety technology, telematics capabilities, and regulatory changes that impact fleet operations. Despite this recognition, a common mistake made by many of these managers is underutilizing the subject-matter expertise of current and/or prospective suppliers.

December 12, 2017

U.S. Fleet Upfitting Industry Experiencing Uptick in Consolidation

The fleet industry in the United States is no stranger to acquisitions and mergers as we have witnessed with the decades long consolidation occurring among fleet leasing and management companies, automotive OEMs and their suppliers, and daily rental companies. The same holds true for the upfitting industry, which, in the first eight months of 2017, witnessed an uptick in acquisitions.

September 5, 2017

Spec’ing Today’s Trucks to Meet Tomorrow’s Needs

When you spec truck assets today, many of these vehicles will be in service for 10 to 15 years or longer. While these assets are adequate for today’s business, will this still be true 10 to 15 years from now? This is an important question because some fleet managers tend to focus on today’s needs and neglect the long-term considerations as to how job requirements may evolve in the future.

July 23, 2017

Lighting Innovations to Revolutionize Work Truck Productivity & Safety

We are in the midst of a lighting revolution in the automotive industry that started with the proliferation of light-emitting diodes (LEDs). More dramatic lighting innovations are fast emerging, such as laser diodes, organic LEDs, and dynamic bending light headlamps. Historically, new automotive technologies have always first manifested themselves in luxury brands, then migrated downward to lower trim level models and non-retail customers such as the vocational work truck market.

June 29, 2017

Decrease Incidents of Unscheduled Truck Maintenance Caused by Overloading

When a truck is overloaded, its operating performance will be strained, accelerating wear-and-tear on brakes and other wear components, such as tire, which have higher failure rates because they run hotter due to the increased load. Another issue is axle overloading, which causes premature wear-and-tear on tires and suspension components.

April 18, 2017

Avoid Repeating Past Inefficiencies: Build the Truck to Match Today’s Application

I asked one fleet manager how he spec’ed replacement trucks for his fleet application. He related that many years earlier an OEM rep spec’ed out his trucks and he has been using the same formula ever since. While this may work in some cases, specifications should be defined by today’s fleet application to ensure the replacement truck is designed to accommodate current operational requirements rather than trying to make your operation conform to trucks spec’ed for yesteryear’s requirements.

March 20, 2017

Removing Murphy’s Law from the Upfit Process

The multitude of upfitting options and potential configurations makes it easy to fulfill Murphy’s Law, which states, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” Unfortunately, in many cases, who triggers Murphy’s Law is the fleet manager who does not carefully review the upfit specs, or has not consulted thoroughly with the actual users of the equipment, or attempts to over-engineer the upfit. These are all avoidable mistakes.

May 31, 2016

All Successful Upfits Start with Careful Planning

There are a multitude of specialized fleet applications that require the installation of auxiliary equipment on a truck or in a van. What complicates the planning process is that there are as many ways to upfit a vehicle as there are chassis and body configurations. It is critical that you properly define a truck’s application to ensure the supplier builds the truck to meet its intended use.

May 16, 2016

Increased Demand and Rail Delays Create Upfitter Logjam in MY-2015

One challenge for both the 2015- and 2014-MY has been the increased volume of fleet vehicles going to upfitters, which has resulted in capacity constraints. With the increasing demand and growth of the commercial truck and van segments – particularly among utilities and service industries – the percentage of upfitted vehicles is growing. Upfitters are feeling the pressure of increased demand.

September 17, 2015

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