Seven S’s of Buying Pick-up Truck Fleet Accessories
A Guide to Making the Right Choices When Buying Pick-up Truck Fleet Accessories
When it comes to working vehicles, pick-up trucks above all other autos are made to appeal to the widest possible commercial market.
With such a wide range of uses, it’s no surprise that there is a booming aftersales market for vehicle accessories allowing you to adapt your fleet to meet your specific needs.
But with so many pick-up truck fleet accessories to choose from, how will you know whether you are making the right decision without an experienced fleet manager on hand to help?
Well simply ask yourself does it fulfil the 7 S’s of pick-up truck fleet accessories!
Suitable, Seamless, Systematised, Safe, Secure, Serviceable, Sensible.
If an accessory you are considering meets each of these seven tests, then you can be confident that you won’t be regretting your purchase a few months down the line.
What To Consider
Let’s start with the most important question of all – what’s driving your desire to accessorise?
Someone once said that no-one really wants a quarter-inch drill bit. What they want is a quarter-inch hole.
The same is true when choosing your first fleet-wide accessory: what extra utility are you trying to wring from your fleet?
Do you want to improve vehicle interchangeability by having a standardised cargo layout?
What about reducing return visits or increasing upsells by carrying more spares in storage?
It may be that you want to improve the safety and comfort of your team with fitted tool boxes.
If your team has started to work more at height, then a roof ladder rack might make sense.
Or perhaps you just want to secure your tools more effectively in the cab or truck bed?
Focus on the outcome first, then the equipment.
Make it clear what the improvement is you wish to achieve and start with that.
Focussing on the change you want to see will ensure that you can cast your net wide and consider several different solutions to the problem you want to solve.
Great commercial vehicle accessories should work with the vehicle as if it had been factory-fitted.
Yes, it’s great to ensure that exterior accessories, for example a truck hardtop, is colour matched to your vehicle, but there’s more to a seamless fit than that.
For a start, it’s helpful if your accessory can guarantee CoP (Conformity of Production). This means that it meets the specification, performance and marking requirements outlined in the original type approval documentation. In other words, the fleet vehicle accessory you buy today is as it was when it was approved six, 12 or 48 months ago.
But it also means something more – that the product feels right, that it works with the contours and functionality of the vehicle and that using it feels natural.
The best way to understand this is to get out there and experience the accessory for yourself at the suppliers or manufacturers. Better still, take along a member of your team who will be using it every day to get their take. If they like it then you’ve a useful ally on board to help gain buy-in from the rest of the team.
Predictability is vital when it comes to having an efficient fleet. Every tool should have a proper place, not just be flung in the back.
Racking, shelving, and drawer systems allow you to enforce order and consistency across your fleet, meaning that any member of your team can take out any vehicle and know exactly where they can find each piece of kit.
Tools can be grouped according to the type of job they will be used for and consumables sorted and separated. This makes inventory maintenance and replenishment a much more straightforward task.
The neater members of your team will appreciate the effort taken to systematise and those messier members of staff might grudgingly appreciate laying their hands on the right equipment quicker and improving their daily working environment.
After all, there are often several ways to skin a cat, or in this case, equip a fleet!
Safety is the top priority of any business. After all, no-one wants a worker injury (or worse) on their conscience. By ensuring that tools and cargo are stored safely and securely in your work vehicle you can reduce health and safety risks and prolong the life of your kit.
If your team works with hazardous substances for example, you will want to ensure that these can be isolated and protected on the rare occasions when these must be transported within the pick-up truck bed. Make sure that you lock everything down in a way that will prevent shifting or sliding when you are on the road, preferably in a COSHH cabinet.
And when it comes to your most valuable resource, your people, the use of drawer systems and protective load beds can help to minimise wear on worker’s knees and stop any nasty surprises when opening the vehicle’s tailgate on an incline.
With some tools and hardware costing thousands, it’s vital that you can keep loss from theft to an absolute minimum. Many truck owners use security systems to protect their payload, though it’s possible to go even further with smart locks or truck canopies wired to your central locking to ensure maximum control over your kit.
Of course, it’s even better if you can keep prying eyes away from your truck bed in the first place. That’s where discreet tonneau covers or opaque solid side and rear doors on your hardtop canopy come into their own-keeping the contents of your truck bed known only to your driver.
When buying more costly after sale accessories, it’s important to know that the accessories are maintainable and preferably under warranty.
That’s why for example, Truckman hardtops come with a 3-year warranty. But they also sell spare parts for those with a product outside of warranty.
Whatever accessories you are buying, it’s important to make sure that you know how (and how quickly) you can repair problems. If you are buying through a dealership, make sure that you know how fast the dealer can supply quality spare parts and if the manufacturer has a customer helpline service should you encounter an issue with an accessory.
After all, issues with mission critical accessories may mean taking a vehicle (and worker) off the road. Knowing that you can access the spares that you need at your convenience, or the advice to help you diagnose the problem, is key to stopping inactivity eating into your profitability.
There are a lot of accessories available that will help your pick-up truck really look the part but it’s vital to be able to tell the difference between what you need and what you want.
With the rise in popularity of trucks as a viable alternative to vans and frequently pulling double-duty as both working vehicles and chief family people carrier, the focus on how the vehicle looks on the road has come to the fore.
This is when it’s worth going back to the first S – Suitable. If a couple of the accessories you are considering both solve the problem you originally outlined and meet the rest of the criteria above, then feel free to choose the accessory that will turn the most heads whilst out on the road. But make sure that you aren’t putting form before function – accessories are there to help your on-the-road team walk the walk, not parade the catwalk.
Adding accessories to your vehicles can seem daunting at first, but by following these seven rules you should know all you need to take your trucks from fleet to fleek!
Thank you to John Newton – Digital & eCommerce Manager at Truckman. To find out more, visit Truckman’s website by clicking the button below.