Q&A: Work Truck Upfit Trends & Advice
Work Truck magazine is a leading source of news, tools and expert insight for fleet managers. Executive editor Lauren Fletcher recently interviewed Stellar product manager Adam Oppermann about trends and tips in the world of mechanic truck, service truck and service van upfitting. Their conversation follows.
Work Truck: What are some upfitting trends that you have seen over the past two years — light- vs. medium- vs. heavy-duty?
Overall, popularity is growing in lighter weight trucks, due to CDL requirements that go hand in hand with heavier trucks. Additionally, high costs, both in terms of fuel and truck maintenance, are also driving operators to choose a light- or medium-duty truck.
Work Truck: What are some upfitting trends you anticipate seeing more of moving forward?
In addition to trucks, we’re seeing an increased interest in upfitting lightweight service vans. The benefit of choosing a service van is that it provides an easier and more affordable way for customers to service their light-duty equipment.
Stellar offers several van upfit options to turn a Transit and Sprinter van into a service van including air supply, storage for tools and parts, and even fuel and oil tanks. Additions like these can allow the operator to complete simple tasks from the comfort and convenience of their van.
When it comes to getting the most out of your upfitted truck or van, telematics continue to prove beneficial. Telematics help to optimize fleets by using historical data to better understand how equipment is being used. This information can help to select the correct size crane, which will determine the size of body and chassis needed. With this information, fleet managers will also have a better idea of when trucks and their accessory equipment need to be repaired or replaced. Some telematics can even let fleet managers know when preventive maintenance is due.
As more data is collected and technology advances in these areas, it will continue to increase the efficiency in which fleet managers can make equipment decisions.
Work Truck: What advice do you have for fleets planning for future truck purchases keeping upfits in mind?
Take your time planning out the details behind your truck and accessories. Anything an operator can do to make the truck more efficient, and ultimately more productive, is a good thing. Adding the proper accessories to the right truck is the key to making a service truck work optimally for the operator.
Start with choosing the correct truck for your needs. It’s important to get the right-sized chassis, body and crane in order to increase the lifecycle of your service vehicle. Some questions to consider when deciding the truck and crane that is right for you include:
- What type of equipment will you be servicing on a regular basis?
- What accessories and tools do you need on the truck?
- Is a service crane needed for the upfit?
- If a crane is needed, then these follow-up questions should be asked:
- What will the crane be lifting?
- How much will a typical lift weigh?
- What length of crane do you need?
- How often will the crane be used?
When it comes to upfitting the truck you choose, consider an engine-driven auxiliary power source (APU), integrated solution. Not only are these systems more efficient than their modular counterparts, they can also help with chassis maintenance and fuel savings because they don’t require the truck to run. A multi-purpose APU utilizes its own engine-driven options for air compressor and hydraulic pump in place of the standard PTO-driven configurations found on most work trucks.
In addition to aluminum bodies, consider equipping your fleet with aluminum accessories. Upfitting with aluminum accessories increases overall weight reduction and longevity of equipment.
Proper upfits for a work truck can help reduce wear on a vehicle, make it more efficient to operate, and reduce maintenance costs. Simply put, a well-equipped work truck ultimately means more money in your pocket.