In recent years, manufacturers and upfitters have made great strides to accommodate the needs and long term goals of commercial contractors and end users. As technology and trends continue to advance, there will always be opportunities to develop new and changing innovations to support the changing needs of customers.
Monroe Truck Equipment works to create helpful innovations that support how our customers work -- and we’ve been keeping track of larger trends that our end users and dealership partners have moved toward in recent years.
“Contractors are really looking into the future,” said Shawn Danzinger, Monroe Truck Equipment’s Commercial Product Manager. “Upfitting options are continuing to be focused on long term success. Customers are investing in increased comfort, personalized storage options and moving toward sustainability. They want to work safely and efficiently for years to come.”
Reflecting on these trends, the team put together a walk through of these larger movements and just why they are so important for contractors and business owners.
Long Term Comfort & Safety
The work that contractors do day in and day out is rigorous and demanding. Over time, contractors must find ways to help them operate efficiently, move with ease, and protect their long term comfort and safety. There are many ways to approach this challenge. One of the best long term investments a contractor can make for themselves is upfitting their work truck with ergonomic upfits that reduce strain, difficult movements or extended stress.
Ergonomics is a design system that works to understand how a human moves within their working environment as a part of a larger system. Within that framework, ergonomic design helps to eliminate tension, friction and pain in workplaces and work environments to reduce risk of injury or long term discomfort.
Ergonomic upfits can help alleviate lower back pain, stiff neck and shoulders and pain from repetitive movement. Consider upfitting options like a built-in drop step, additional grab handles, or pooched bumpers to decrease slippage. These types of ergonomic options can reduce pain while accessing the cargo area.
Other options like easy to maneuver drop down storage racks for ladders and other bulky equipment can minimize extended reaching when grabbing your tools. Steel bulkheads or partitions can protect the driver from the shifting cargo that may put pressure on the back of the truck seat.
Ergonomic upfits can also be created according to the specific driver. If the driver is particularly tall, or has existing pains, accommodations can be made by the upfitter to create a comfortable driving and loading/unloading experience for the user.
Productivity Through Personalization
A contractor’s truck can serve as a home base for their entire work day. Users need to be able to safely store and easily access a number of different tools and pieces of equipment.
However, no two trucks are ever the same. Your area of expertise, the region in which you work, as well as your variety of services all play an important role in upfitting your truck in a way that works for you. Personal upfitting options will support the long term success of you and your business by keeping you organized, keeping your tools easy to reach, and helping to control the hassle of moving from job to job.
There are plenty of personalization options when upfitting your truck. One of the most advantageous areas to consider is storage. Depending on your industry and preferred tools and equipment, you can create a storage system that is orderly and developed with your workflow in mind.
You can create a hook system for tools and extension cords, add a shelving system with slide out drawers, or open shelving with doors for larger equipment. You can upfit a bin storage system with storage bins for smaller tools and equipment. You can even create specialized storage areas for your important but bulky equipment, that is designed specifically for the size and shape of the item. The design can ensure your most used items are the easiest and fastest to access while less used items can be safely stowed for extended periods of time.
Additionally, if you work in the evenings, or need extra light to see what you’re grabbing, added light systems can be installed throughout the bed of the truck to make sure you have great access to your tools any time of the day.
Regardless of what you do or how you prefer to work, upfitting your truck to suit your needs is a long term strategy that can ensure elevated productivity, accessibility and comfort throughout your work day.
Another trend we’ve seen is a push toward sustainability wherever possible. One way our customers are reaching for more sustainable options is by utilizing smaller trucks for a larger variety of projects.
If a driver is able to upfit a Class 2 truck to be as useful as a Class 3, they can reduce overall fuel consumption as well as meet other benefits such as DOT requirements and possibly even reduce maintenance costs. Part of bringing this trend to life is through lightweighting, or building your truck to be less heavy to achieve better fuel efficiency and handling. This primarily happens during the manufacturing of the truck, but can be addressed during upfitting as well by using lightweight aluminum or even plastic for the storage structure in the truck.
Another way to upfit with sustainability in mind is through the use of LED lighting throughout the vehicle. LED lights can operate up to 90% more efficiently than incandescent bulbs therefore having a much longer service life. They also create a brighter light that allows for better visibility throughout the work truck, and even as headlights and brakelights.
Partnership is Always a Great Investment
At Monroe Truck Equipment, we believe in developing true and trusted partnerships with our customers. We serve commercial dealerships and contractor end users in communities across the country and work to find solutions for their most pressing needs. While priorities may shift over time, a reliable manufacturer and upfitting partner will always be valuable when you’re working toward your long term goals.
About the Author: Scott Hanewall is the Vice President of Commercial Sales at Monroe Truck Equipment. Scott joined the Monroe team in 1989 and has served as a Sales Manager and General Manager at two different Monroe locations before earning his role as Vice President. This article was authored and edited according to WT editorial standards and style to provide useful information to our readers. Opinions expressed may not reflect that of WT.