Upfitting all the vehicles in your company’s fleet can be a very expensive proposition, and there are plenty of opportunities to make mistakes along the way. In order to avoid most of those pitfalls, there’s a proven approach you can use for your fleet application that will hold down expenses and help you to avoid even more costly errors. In this article, we’ll be discussing the best approach to upfitting your vehicle fleet, so you can accomplish the task with a minimum of hassle, and stay within your budget.
How to go about upfitting your fleet
By following the steps below, you should be able to upfit your entire fleet, while managing costs and avoiding expensive mistakes:
- Planning– The most important aspect of accomplishing any kind of fleet upfitting project is to do a great job of planning ahead of time. Fleet managers must develop a strong knowledge of what field personnel require to carry out their jobs, and it means those individuals should be involved in the planning process.
- Avoid prior mistakes– The best way of avoiding mistakes throughout the process of vehicle upfitting is to ask loads of questions beforehand. For instance, you’ll need to know what common maintenance issues are associated with your vehicles, whether or not your drivers are having problems with loading height, or if there is reduced visibility when backing up. There are tons of other mistakes that can be avoided as well, just by asking the right questions ahead of time and then finding the appropriate answers.
- Don’t fit your operation to the vehicle– It’s far better to equip a truck so it can accommodate necessary operational requirements, rather than make your operation fit the truck. If you do this, it’ll be very easy to make a mistake by leaving out critical information that should be included in the specifications. It’s also very important to know the area where your fleet vehicles will be used, so you can properly equip your vehicles.
- Get your specifications right –By nailing your specifications, you should be able to eliminate a lot of guesswork. Providing an exact description of what’s needed can help you to avoid missing out on critical details that will end up costing you more time, money, and inefficiencies associated with fleet operation.
- Standardize to the maximum extent– Upfitting your fleet vehicles is a task that is already complex enough, so you’ll want to minimize any complexity associated with the project. This means all update packages should be standardized to the greatest extent, and you should avoid the temptation to engineer excessively or to excessively upfit auxiliary equipment. If you over-upfit, it becomes much more likely that you will end up overworking the vehicle and causing excessive wear and tear on the suspension, tires, and engine.
- Obtain signoff from all parties– Once you’ve established your upfit specifications, they should be reviewed and approved before you place any orders with an outside company. It can be a critical thing to have the buy-in from all parties affected so that you can avoid upfitting modifications after the fact.
- Order early– A good fleet manager knows enough to place orders as soon as possible so that any production delays can be avoided. This is always possible when there is high demand for certain models, and there is also the possibility of unexpected quality holds or transportation delays. By ordering early, you will usually be able to avoid most of these potential delays.
- Plan for tomorrow– When you do a good job of planning, it’s much more likely that your fleet vehicles will be properly engineered so they can carry out their required operations. Planning involves recognizing what you need for today, as well as what your needs might be in the future. Keep in mind that the specifications you prepare today might apply to vehicles that will be in service for 10 years or more. Try to envision what might be necessary several years from now, so you can avoid another premature round of upfitting.
If you’d like some pointers on how to successfully carry out an upfitting project with your fleet vehicles, please do contact us at CFS Corporate Fleet Services. We’ll be glad to lend our expertise to your company so that you can have your fleet upfitted with minimum hassle and maximum efficiency.