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Spec’ing Service Bodies for Utility Fleets

Service bodies enable field technicians to transport and store the tools and equipment they need to have on hand every day.

An article from Utility Fleet Professional, Spec’ing Service Bodies to Boost Productivity and Profit in Utility Fleets, shares how properly spec’d service bodies can boost productivity and profit in utility fleets.

UFP suggests the following three steps:

1. Begin with the truck’s role in mind

What function is the truck expected to perform? Will the truck include body-mounted equipment such as an aerial bucket or telescopic crane? Or will it carry smaller tools and parts? Will it need to haul ladders or wire spools or compressors? What is the expected maximum payload?

2. Dig deep for the details

It is important to seek feedback from drivers and understand how drivers use the truck to do their job. Another important factor is the location of the body compartments. Finally, ensure to account for any off-road use.

3. Evaluate the cost benefit of lightweight materials for body construction.

Most service bodies continue to be built out of conventional steel because of its attractive price point and reputation for durability. But lighter-weight materials, such as aluminum and fiber composite – heavy-duty fiberglass laid over a durable foam core – have gained momentum and market share in the service body market as fleet managers seek ways to improve fuel economy and squeeze more cost savings from their operations.

A key question to ask is this: Will the higher upfront cost of lightweight materials – versus steel – be offset by potential savings generated by longer life cycles, improved overall fuel economy, downsizing the chassis or increasing body payload? Run the numbers for your application. In a low-mileage scenario where the truck is expected to be replaced within five to seven years, steel may remain the more economical choice.

The Bottom Line: Define the job description for each service body truck. Then ask, how can we spec this truck and body in a way that equips our drivers to do that job faster, safer, with maximum fuel efficiency and at the lowest possible vehicle acquisition cost? Develop a service body spec that achieves all these objectives to squeeze more productivity – and profit – from your fleet operations.

You can read the full article here.

Electric, water, and gas utilities can count on us to have the right trucks and truck-mounted equipment needed for the installation, maintenance, and repair of pipelines and transmission lines across the continent. Whether you need to go underground or up in the air, need one truck or a hundred, our expert team will spec, build, and deliver the best and safest work truck for your application. Visit our Utility Work Trucks page for more information.

 

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By Carissa Saia, 18.09.13

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