Consider Your Suppliers Methods Carefully

After only one year in commercial trucks, I started really looking at my suppliers methods and my own logic. For example, on a flatbed with a rack, the racks were welded to the body and from past experience with a previous employer, I saw that as a problem. That previous employer was always switching out bodies to be able to do a different job and he did a great deal of welding. So, in 1990, I required my suppliers to bolt on their flatbed racks and I began stocking almost exclusively forklift loadable racks and upgrading the size of the posts and number of cross bars.

Notice the contractor body above. In the two shots you can see how the rack is bolted to the floor with a foot and it is also bolted to the top of the headboard. Notice also that it has 4 crossbar supports, the headboard, two over the body and one rear. This is a sweet design by Harbor Truck Bodies where the rear area is devoid of any vertical bars so that area could be used as a work area more efficiently. In addition to that, the design allows a stronger rack because the vertical supports are closer together. In this case, they use 2"x2" tube and that gets the job done for most loads and stays light enough to deal with in removal. In this rack on the 12' contractor, there are 8 bolts to remove and 4 strong friends, gets it off.

Why is removal important? Even on the contractor, all you need do is remove the rack and the top boxes which are also bolted on, and you have an empty flatbed to carry large items. It gives the customer flexibility. They may use that a lot, or very little, but having it is a huge benefit in their mind and actuality when they use it. Of course, all the crossbars are removable as well, so carrying tall things without removing the rack is easy.

Think flexibility for your customer. The thing I like about the contractor is that it is a flatbed underneath all those accessories and it can be back to a flatbed anytime you want it to be.

Another thing was rack design on the service body. Notice the two shots above. The black rack is narrower and mounted on the inside top edge of the service body, the other is mounted on the outside of the body and both are bolted on of course. The stronger rack is the black one and it is because of where it is mounted and the fact that the vertical legs are straight which are far stronger than curved legs. That top edge is a very strong point on the body. The rack is also out of the way of the lids. It was easy to sell this design and I ordered about 80% of my service bodies with this rack. This shot is provided by North Bay Truck Body.

I also liked painting it black rather than body color and that works very well when mounted in that location. Painted the outside edge mounted rack black against the white body would look strange. I liked that for a couple of reasons. One was the black rack picked up on other black aspects of the body such as the tires, door handles, etc. So, aesthetically it was pleasing to the eye in contrast to the body. I tried them in white also, but it wasn't as good. Even on my colored trucks, I painted the rack black. The other reason was utilitarian. Racks get scratched very easily moving product on and off, hanging things off the rack and so on. Those scratches don't show up very well under black paint, but they glare at you through white paint. Unpainted metal, then rusts and the rust is hard to see on black and jumps out at you on white. With the black rack it was easy to just carry a can of black spray paint in one of the compartments and you can touch it up in a couple of seconds. It works very well.

Think in terms of how it benefits or could benefit the customer and it all makes perfect sense.

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