One of the biggest challenges of fleet management can be finding quality truck and van storage equipment that helps drivers maintain jobsite and workflow efficiency. This storage issue is especially true for managers in the construction and utility industries who manage light-duty fleets, as their drivers often need to store tools and different types of equipment in their vehicles.
Without proper storage options, workers lose valuable time searching for tools or making multiple trips to haul such larger items as ladders and other needed equipment.
When purchasing storage equipment and accessories, there are several factors fleet managers must consider – from identifying the best products for each vehicle type to determining the most significant pain points workers will experience on the jobsite. For example, utility workers may need specific van storage shelves and compartments to organize their specialty tools.
Construction professionals, on the other hand, may be better suited with an add-on truck rack that helps them haul multiple ladders to the jobsite.
With evolving vehicle and jobsite needs, manufacturers are developing more products than ever to meet these pain points for both light-duty truck and van storage. Expect to see the following equipment storage trends continue throughout 2019.
Dependable Lighting & Storage Integrations
Equipment manufacturers are beginning to introduce tool storage solutions with integrated lighting technology to address the need for permanent storage and enhanced visibility.
“A primary focus in the vehicle equipment market is to develop storage accessories that address everyday challenges, such as the need for dependable lighting for any time of the day or night,” said Mike Bykowski, the director of product management for the Weather Guard Truck Storage division. “Many utility and construction professionals utilize tool storage during early morning hours and in the evenings after dark, when they may still be on the job. Having a lack of bright light to see and organize tools can result in time-consuming searches for the right tool. What’s more, many drivers have to keep their tools with them in their vehicles at all times, meaning they have to have a reliable storage solution that’s permanently available on their truck.”
A recent example of this type of product is the Lighted Truck Box by Weather Guard – a secure saddle box with weather-resistant tool storage lighting that features ultra-bright LED lights. By adding visibility to tool storage, fleet managers can address the needs of their utilities or construction drivers and help them to work more efficiently and safely onsite.
Compact Truck Storage Options
In recent years, vehicle manufacturers have introduced more compact trucks to the U.S market. For example, Ford recently re-released the Ford Ranger, and brands such as Chevrolet see a significant surge in mid-size truck sales. The multitude of compact trucks available has meant that fleet managers are now incorporating these smaller vehicles into their light-duty fleets which have opened the market to new aftermarket products and accessories.
Fleet managers who purchase compact trucks still need storage solutions, just as they would for full-size vehicles – and perhaps even more so. When designing for a compact vehicle, equipment manufacturers try to maximize the smaller space available by creating with versatility and functionality in mind.
For example, the Compact Steel Truck Rack by Weather Guard features an evenly distributed load capacity of 1,000 pounds for hauling multiple ladders and equipment to the jobsite, making compact trucks just as practical for larger jobs.
Vehicle Configuration & Customization
“In 2019, the light-duty van market has more variation than ever before as manufacturers introduce new models to the market,” said Pete Edwards, the director of product management for the Weather Guard Van Storage Equipment division. “Even individual van models like the Ford Transit can have a variety of roof heights and wheelbases that impact the overall size of the vehicle and provide an even wider array of storage configurations. There are now a variety of storage solutions, across different van models, to meet their needs, considering the extensive range of professional storage requirements.”
The industry is seeing some migration from pick-up trucks to vans, and taller vehicles are the most significant growth area in the van market. Equipment manufacturers can develop storage solutions that utilize the extra space in those vans, whether it’s more headroom, vertical space, or length in traditional low-roof cargo vans.
Equipment manufacturers are developing customizable storage products based on height, width and application. Van storage solutions also help drivers keep their tools more secure during stops and starts while driving.
The new Weather Guard custom Van Configurator demonstrates how fleet managers can create a custom configuration of van packages, bulkheads, storage modules, accessories, and ladder racks to meet their fleet needs based on the dimensions of the most popular van manufacturer models.
For a fleet of light-duty utility vans, a manager could decide to outfit an adjustable shelf for storing hand tools, a drop-down roof rack for ladders, a parts cabinet for storing hardware, and a set of hooks for clothing and ropes. Custom storage solutions have become increasingly popular, and even vehicles in the same fleet for the same professionals can have vastly different storage options if the fleet manager chooses.
Equipment Catered to Efficiency.
Fleet managers are increasingly looking to truck and van equipment storage options as a way to improve jobsite and workflow efficiencies for a range of vehicle types. Manufacturers have taken note with 2019 seeing an increase in equipment storage and aftermarket accessories designed specifically for end-user pain points. Trends such as integrated lighting, compact storage options, and customization capabilities will continue to improve fleet and worker efficiency.
The right vehicle accessories should help drivers focus on their work and accomplish their tasks comfortably and quickly. By selecting storage options and aftermarket accessories catered specifically to driver, vehicle and jobsite needs, fleet managers can help boost productivity while, as always, keeping tools and equipment protected.
About the authors: Mike Bykowski is the director of product management for the Weather Guard Truck Storage division. Pete Edwards is the director of product management for the Weather Guard Van Storage Equipment division.