FordPros Magazine | Issue 76 | April 2024

Page 1

CONNECTING THE DOTS

FORD PRO MARKS

10 YEARS OF U.S.TRANSIT

ADAPTING TO CHANGE +

EMBRACING THE FUTURE

TOOLS FOR BUILDING INDUSTRY BRIDGES

WATCH + LISTEN FROM WTW24
CONNECTIONS Issue 76 APRIL 2024
BUILDING SUCCESSFUL

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Successful Connections: Building Your Book

For those in sales, the phrase “building your book of business” is likely a familiar phrase. But even if you’re not in sales, you have a “book” too. Essentially, your book is that list of people you know and interact with; they might be prospects, customers, colleagues, acquaintances, industry experts you’ve met, mentors, and the list goes on and on.

The important point here is that we all have a book, no matter what business we’re in, and regardless of our role or title. Additionally, in order to grow - our business and our career - we need to always be on the lookout for ways to expand our book.

With two of the biggest in-person events in the automotive industry having just taken place - Work Truck Week and NADA - now is a great time to visit this topic. Hopefully you took the opportunity to grow your book at one or both of these shows. What a terrific way to get educated on the latest news, hear about trends, examine data, meet automotive experts and hear their thoughts, and see innovations pushing our industry forward. And, since you’re reading this, it’s clear you’re interested in building that book since many of those

who contribute articles to this publication are those same knowledgeable experts who were at these two shows.

While in-person industry events are one way we can all build our respective books, not everyone can attend these. Thankfully, there are many other ways as well. For those of you who are regular readers of our publication and our site, you’re likely familiar with several already. For example, Coach Ken frequently talks about local chapters of various organizations you should consider joining to help you grow your business. Similarly, many of those businesses you work with as a customer could indeed also be commercial customers of yours if you’d spend a few minutes getting to know more about them and their needs. Joining truck clubs to talk to other like-minded professionals and share best practices, ideas, and solutions to challenges is another great example. Ultimately, we have opportunities to connect with others on a daily basis. The key is to make sure we work to cultivate those connections, which ultimately builds our own individual book. Be on the lookout for people you want to interact with and

seek out ways to connect the dots that are essential to your success in the commercial business.

Don’t be afraid to look at less conventional avenues as well, such as “getting to know” additional experts in the commercial vehicle ecosystem through the video links from Work Truck Week in this particular edition of our publication. Be sure to check them out.

And finally, if you’re looking for even more avenues to build not only your book, but also your knowledge base (and all of us should probably be doing so), register for the upcoming free virtual Spring Commercial Vehicle Business Summit presented by Work Truck Solutions, along with sponsors Escalent, Mitsubishi HC Capital America and Comvoy. The speaker lineup includes many heavy hitters in the commercial vehicle ecosystem, plus there are even several scheduled networking sessions. Don’t wait, start making those connections and build your book today!

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
FORDPROS | APRIL 2024 3
SPECIAL THANKS FOR THIS ISSUE TO: Adrian Steel Deist Industries, Inc. Driverge Vehicle Innovations Knapheide Manufacturing Company Mitsubishi HC Capital USA Premier Truck Body, LLC OEM Systems, LLC Reading Truck Rockport Commercial Vehicles Transfer Flow Safe Fleet Scelzi Enterprises, Inc. Unicell Venco Venturo Industries LLC Work Truck Solutions COMVOY Commercial Truck Training For inquiries or articles or to be added to the mailing list: admin@cvbnetwork.com 1-800-413-9030 CVBNetwork/ Commercial Vehicle Pro 2485 Notre Dame Blvd., #370-130 Chico, CA 95928 Powered by: Kristean von der Heiden, Sponsor Success Kelsey Anderson Sponsor Support Candy McCullom Business Development Kathryn Schifferle Executive Producer, CVBNetwork Ken Taylor "Coach Ken" Commercial Truck Training Shawn Horswill Sr. VP of Product Work Truck Solutions THANKS TO OUR CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS + SUPPORT STAFF THE INDUSTRY'S TOOLBOX READ - LISTEN WATCH - NEWS Steve Henning, Executive Editor Carla Aoyagi, Media Director Ryan Day Assitant Editor APRIL 2024 | FORDPROS 4
CONTENTS Letter from the Editor In The Highbeams Blue Oval Building Bridges The Way We Were WATCH WTW24 Adrian Steel @WTW24 WATCH WTW24 Safety Central WATCH WTW24 WATCH WTW24 Dealer Resources AltFuel Coach Ken CTT Dealership Success Toolbox News TRADE SHOWS Adapting to Change + Successful Connections Driverge, Knapheide, SafeFleet, Venco, WTS Industry News Net-Zero Commercial Vehicle News from the GTS Thoughts from Work Truck Week 2024 MHCCA + Driverge Unveiling Revolutionary Truck Solutions Unicell + SwitchNGo Safe Fleet @Work Truck Week 2024 Rockport + Reading Transfer Flow + Knapheide The Best Digital Marketing Tools Connect for Success + GTS PODCASTS Working Tradeshows without a Booth Driving Connections - One Nexus+CTT Connecting the Dots Reasons to Attend Work Truck Week CVBS, Green Drives, ACT Embracing the Future 3 7 11 13 14 17 18 21 22 25 27 28 30 32 33 34 37 37 40 FORDPROS | APRIL 2024 5
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HIGHBEAMS

DRIVERGE VEHICLE INNOVATIONS EXPANDS INTERNATIONALLY THROUGH ACQUISITION

March 8th, 2024

Driverge Vehicle Innovations, one of the country’s leading builders of wheelchair accessible vans, shuttles and transporters, announced that it has recently acquired Van-Action (2005) Inc. and Freedom Motors Inc., Savaria Corporation’s Canadian wheelchair van conversion manufacturing business. In addition to increasing its production capabilities, this strategic step establishes Driverge’s international presence, marking a significant milestone in the company’s history. This acquisition expands Driverge’s footprint by adding two manufacturing locations in Canada. The addition of the Freedom Motors Inc. and VanAction (2005) Inc. operations aligns with Driverge’s long-term growth strategy and dedication to delivering innovative vehicle solutions to its diverse customer base.

NEW TAILLIGHT UPGRADE OPTION FOR KNAPHEIDE PLATFORM TRUCK BODIES

February 20, 2024

We all know that taillights are essential for safety. However, not all taillights are equal.

Until recently, only OEM chassis cab taillights were available for Knapheide Platform Bodies. And while those taillights are capable of the basic necessary functions, they lack a capability needed by many work truck users: strobe.

“Savaria has been an important longterm partner and we are excited to announce the acquisition of Van-Action (2005) Inc. and Freedom Motors Inc., and welcome their talented team members to our organization. This move not only supports our commitment to innovation but increases our capacity to provide life-changing solutions for individuals facing mobility challenges,” said Mark Minatel, President of Driverge Vehicle Innovations.

Driverge Vehicle Innovations will leverage the acquired facilities to expand its consumer product line, with a focus on building customized and reliable transportation solutions for individuals with mobility challenges. The company looks forward to a successful integration process and the continued delivery of innovative mobility solutions.

The strobe taillight is designed to emit a bright, flashing light. This lighting is an important safety feature for work truck users, as it helps increase visibility, especially in low-light or high-traffic situations.

Knapheide platform users now have the option of upgrading from the standard, small, incandescent OEM chassis cab light assemblies to Knapheide’s

more capable, larger, brighter LED light assemblies. These stop, tail, turn, backup and strobe (S/T/T/BU/Strobe) light kits include Knapheide’s proprietary taillights, wire harness, light brackets, hardware and license plate bracket. They are currently available for order through Knapheide’s distributors.

www.knapheide.com

The
In
CLICK TO WATCH THE VIDEO
Sean Meredith, Director of Commercial Vehicle Development at Work Truck Week 2024 Showcasing Driverge Vehicle Innovations' expansion through recent acquisitions
FORDPROS | APRIL 2024 7
CLICK TO WATCH CLICK TO WATCH

CLARIENCE TECHNOLOGIES

ACQUIRES SAFE FLEET TO EXPAND SAFETY TECHNOLOGY PORTFOLIO, BROADEN CUSTOMER REACH INTO NEW MARKET SEGMENTS

February 15, 2024

Southfield, MI, Feb 15, 2024

– Clarience Technologies, a global provider of visibility and safety technology solutions for transportation, announced today that it has acquired Safe Fleet, a leader in safety solutions for fleet vehicles, reinforcing the company’s mission to bring total visibility to transportation by providing technologies that enhance safety, security and productivity for customers across the industry.

“Clarience Technologies and Safe Fleet share a common mission of making transportation safer and smarter through technology,” said Brian Kupchella, Chief Executive Officer of Clarience Technologies. “The acquisition of Safe Fleet provides our company with critical technologies, deep vocational segment expertise and a portfolio of powerful and complementary safety products that support our vision to provide comprehensive solutions to a broader set of transportation customers around the world.”

“Safe Fleet employees, customers and partners will benefit from becoming a part of Clarience Technologies,” said John Knox, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Safe Fleet. “We look forward to joining their team of companies where together we will expand global reach, accelerate innovation, unlock new benefits for customers and strengthen our safety mission.”

On the acquisition, Rob Rutledge, Managing Partner at Genstar Capital, commented: “The addition of Safe Fleet products and technologies underscores the commitment by Clarience Technologies to become the premier provider of safety and connectivity solutions for a diverse range of fleet vehicles. We are proud of the success of Clarience Technologies to date and are excited to support the expansion of the combined business through continued investment in new products, technologies and acquisitions.”

Safe Fleet delivers smart safety solutions that help save lives, prevent injuries and make fleet operators more productive. The Safe Fleet product portfolio includes technologyenabled solutions for fleet video and evidence management, collision prevention, violation detection and trailer temperature control, as well as cargo storage systems and several other safety solutions. Safe Fleet is also a leading fleet video technology provider in North America, with over 1.5 million video systems deployed to date. Its integrated safety platform serves fleets of every type including school transportation, transit, fire and emergency, law enforcement, work truck, commercial transportation, logistics, construction, agriculture, waste and recycling, industrial and military. Safe Fleet customers are supported by its network of service centers and affiliates across North America.

The acquisition of Safe Fleet increases Clarience Technologies’ total workforce to over 4,000 employees at nearly 50 locations worldwide. Safe Fleet joins the Clarience Technologies team of companies, which includes Truck-Lite, ECCO, Code 3, Pressure Systems International, DAVCO, Road Ready, Fleetilla, LED Autolamps, Rigid Industries, and Lumitec.

With Safe Fleet, Clarience Technologies strengthens its position in several industry segments, including school transportation, transit, fire and

emergency, law enforcement, waste, industrial and recreational vehicles. The acquisition also paves the way for cross-selling opportunities, increased innovation and an enhanced customer value proposition. With Safe Fleet, Clarience Technologies sees an opportunity to provide customers more complete solutions created when select complementary safety and visibility technologies offered across its companies are connected digitally through a common software platform, forming a digital ecosystem that advances safety and visibility.

Clarience Technologies traces its origins to Truck-Lite, a commercial vehicle lighting brand founded in 1955 in Jamestown, New York. Since becoming Clarience Technologies in 2020, the company has grown organically and through a series of strategic acquisitions, with Safe Fleet now becoming its most recent acquisition.

UBS Investment Bank served as exclusive financial advisor to Clarience Technologies and Genstar Capital, BMO Capital Markets and KKR Capital Markets served as capital markets advisors and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP served as legal counsel.

ABOUT CLARIENCE TECHNOLOGIES:

Clarience Technologies is a global leader of visibility and safety technologies for transportation. Born from a collection of premium brands each with a long track record of innovation, its solutions include vehicle lighting, camera and vision systems, telematics and safety solutions that protect our world and our livelihoods by keeping people, assets and businesses safe, secure and productive. Its team of companies includes Truck-Lite, DAVCO, Road Ready, RIGID, Lumitec, ECCO, Code 3, Fleetilla, LED Autolamps, Pressure Systems International and Safe Fleet. For more information, visit www. clariencetechnologies.com.

For more information on Safe Fleet, visit www.safefleet.net

In The
HIGHBEAMS
April 2024 | FORDPROS 8

VENCO VENTURO DEBUTS ALL NEW LOOK

March 15th, 2024

Vecnco Venturo is excited to unveil the all-new venturo.com!

With a slew of new features and streamlined content for all our products and markets we serve, it is now easier than ever to get a quote, compare bids, find product support and a whole lot more.

Be sure to visit their new site at venturo.com!

HIGHBEAMS In The
SCELZI www.seinc.com Pool locations in: California (3) - Colorado - Washington
FORDPROS | APRIL 2024 9
At Venco Venturo's booth at Work Truck Week 2024

WORK TRUCK SOLUTIONS

EXPANDS PLATFORM FOR HEAVY-DUTY COMMERCIAL TRUCK MARKET

March 7th, 2024

Work Truck Solutions®, the leading authority on commercial vehicles, has announced an expansion of their focus in the heavy-duty (HD) commercial truck market.

This strategic move includes new comprehensive resources to enhance offerings for dealerships and upfitters, and when coupled with expertise gained from more than a decade serving the commercial vehicle space, will bring additional attention to the demanding and evolving HD market.

Amidst this expansion, Work Truck Solutions is proud to announce the promotion of Geoff Shepard as their new Heavy-Duty Sales Manager.

Shepard, with over 20 years of automotive industry experience, including helping HD dealerships exceed sales goals and improve their advertising/merchandising efforts, holds multiple NADA Dealer Academy certifications. He is set to head the company's focused HD growth efforts.

Work Truck Solutions is also actively engaged with key HD stakeholders to ensure platform developments and integrations meet industryspecific challenges, while benefiting all parties involved. Integrations with HD-focused OEMs, inclusion of netzero vehicles, and hosting a learning resource center, further exemplify the company's commitment.

Work Truck Solutions also recognizes that the HD market includes more than trucks. As a result, trailers, which are essential to the heavy-duty transportation and logistics industries, and are highly configurable, are also included in their uniquely customized inventory spectrum.

"We are leveraging all our experience and resources in this next step of HD development," said Aaron Johnson, CEO of Work Truck Solutions. "Our goal is to not only meet, but exceed the needs and expectations of the heavy-duty sector with the same level of expertise in configuration and use, as well as customer service commitment, that we've adhered to for well over ten years in the commercial vehicle ecosystem."

By expanding focus on heavyduty trucks and trailers, Work Truck Solutions is set to further solidify their position as the go-to platform for a comprehensive range of commercial vehicle solutions.

In The
HIGHBEAMS
CLICK HERE TO GET STARTED! APRIL 2024 | FORDPROS 10

THE BLUE OVAL

ROLLING OUT NOW: WEBEX ON FORD DIGITAL EXPERIENCE

MAR 26, 2024 | DEARBORN

The Webex app for video conferencing and collaboration is now available on Google Play for the Ford and Lincoln Digital Experience.

FORD PRO MARKS 10 YEARS OF U.S. TRANSIT BY BOLSTERING E-TRANSIT TECH

MAR 5, 2024 | DEARBORN

Ford Transit — America’s iconic No. 1 bestselling commercial van — celebrates a decade in-market and its 10th year of U.S. production and sales with enhancements to E-Transit range and new charging, software and integrated solutions.

FORD CUSTOMERS CAN NOW CHARGE ON TESLA SUPERCHARGERS IN U.S., CANADA

MAR 26, 2024 | DEARBORN

Ford F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E retail customers are the first of any non-Tesla automaker to gain access to Tesla Superchargers across the U.S. and Canada.

FORDPROS | APRIL 2024 11

NET-ZERO COMMERCIAL VEHICLE NEWS FROM THE GREEN TRUCK SUMMIT

TOOLS FOR BUILDING INDUSTRY BRIDGES

The Green Truck Summit opened the first day of the 2024 Work Truck Week, which was held once again in Indianapolis, this year March 5th through the 8th. The Green Truck Summit was a full-day of advanced vehicle and fuel technology material and a verified 883 participants attended sessions that were focused on the commercial vehicle industry’s need to drive toward Net-Zero Emissions, greater sustainability, increased productivity and more efficiency. Work Truck Week 2024’s educational programs, also starting on the 5th, included sessions that were focused on strategies and concepts to help businesses in the industry improve their efficiency, implement best practices and enhance their overall operational growth.

The audience for Green Truck Summit was very broad, ranging from service providers such as Dynamon, a simulation software company that helps fleets analyze, plan and navigate their transition to EVs, to data companies such as Escalent, an award-winning data analytics and advisory firm tracking advanced fuel adoption, to Westinghouse who is building power grid options, to new and current OEMs, to vendors of paint, upfits, telematics and more, and of course large and small fleets (many from California!).

Work Truck Solutions were sponsors for the event, and their display and conversation was focused around why they have invested in NuPropel to provide the industry with a neutral, agnostic view of the rapidly evolving and ever challenging information being published, which is often being written from just one slanted viewpoint.

“Early last year, we realized the continuing challenge for both commercial vehicle end users and those that serve them, in truly understanding the choices and industry options within advanced fuel solutions,” said Business Development Manager of Comvoy.com, Candy McCollum. “As a trusted resource for the entire industry, we knew we had the expertise to review and curate content, articles and news, and as our commitment and contribution to the net-zero journey we decided to help. After significant research, effort and investment, in December of 2023 we launched NuPropel as a resource on Comvoy.com.” Since then users have been growing and McCollum has seen an increase in interest from other stakeholders to provide subject matter expertise and objective advice to continue to expand on the NuPropel elements, which include a growing collection of information on OEMs (current and new) Charging and Refueling (including locations), Fleet Management, Upfitting, Events, Laws and Incentives, and example Use Cases.

McCollum continued, “Comvoy is also collaborating with Escalent to bring Fleet Advisory Hub, their innovative community that collects insights from the voice of industry leaders” to Comvoy.com. This new version of the community is open to everyone in the industry and is designed to both collect attitudes, opinions, ideas and pain points, and to also share, with the members who join, aggregated data, a free subscription to Commercial Vehicle Targeted Monitoring which curates specific, actionable intelligence on

industry topics important to making better business decisions, plus other benefits.

Readers who are interested in joining can click here, or can go to Comvoy. com and quickly respond ‘Yes - Join’ to the online feedback form asking if they would like to contribute to the industry. Joining requires completing a 5-minute questionnaire which then categorizes the new member into a type of industry stakeholder, and creates their account so that they can receive additional benefits from participating in future selected surveys, can receive shared data, can participate in earning SWAG, and even be entered into drawings for cash prizes.

“We are always looking for new ways to raise the voices of those who are the end users of commercial vehicles as they are the true fulcrum of what is important in the continued growth of this great industry,” concluded McCollum. She left an open invitation to anyone in the industry who wants to contribute as a subject matter expert, or has interest in contributing in any way, to contact her directly at candy.mccollum@ worktrucksolutions.com

FORDPROS | APRIL 2024 13

THE WAY WE WERE THOUGHTS FROM WORK TRUCK WEEK 2024

In the recent past for the automotive world (both commercial and retail), the world of selling was very different. With scarce inventory, customers were clamoring for darn near any vehicle they could get their hands on. And this meant prices that were higher (often significantly so) than usual, along with multiple customers competing for the same vehicle. As a result, many new to the vehicle business thought the process was simply taking an order, frequently from the person willing to pay the highest amount.

Oh, how times have changed. Today, vehicle inventory has returned to most dealer lots, meaning it’s back to a very competitive landscape. And, with interest rates where they currently are, it’s added a new challenge to the mix. But, for those of us who have been in the commercial vehicle ecosystem for more than a few years, we know that challenges come with the territory. And for those who are new to the game, it’s likely time to change your approach because just being an order taker won’t lead to success going forward.

If you were at Work Truck Week in Indianapolis lasts month along with almost 16,000 of us, you likely heard some conversations around these topics. And maybe you even talked to some who were longing for “the way we were” just a year or two ago. The reality is, the automotive business is cyclicaleven though the outside influences might change, such as Covid (who the heck expected that??) - there are ups and downs in our business. Those who are successful, year after year after year, are the ones who know how to adapt; how to use the tools and processes that got them to the pinnacle of their profession. They don’t get complacent when times are good; rather, they are always on the lookout for ways to improve how they do things, searching for new tools/solutions to keep their business (no matter if they are the dealer principal, the commercial sales manager, a truck pro, an upfitter, etc.) operating at peak performance, their customer pipeline full and their income levels higher than the competitor down the street or across the country. Hopefully, you were at Work Truck Week and had the opportunity to drop into the Green Truck Summit, check out the offerings from the large variety of different exhibitors on the show floor, connect with the thousands of other commercial vehicle professionals in attendance and share ideas, and even attend some of the workshops/sessions.

If you missed the show, you really missed out.

YOUR DIGITAL TOOLKIT FOR SUCCESS IN THE CV ECOSYSTEM

LISTEN NOW

One of the workshops that was particularly interesting due to the mix of panelists was titled “Your Digital Toolkit for Success in the CV Ecosystem” on Wednesday. Not only was it moderated by Jim Press, former COO Toyota N.A and President/Vice Chair Chrysler, it also featured Kathryn Schifferle from Work Truck Solutions, Alicia Von Bokel from Maritz Automotive, Rene St. Hilaire from Hendrick Automotive Group and AJ Hewitson from Paradise Chevrolet Cadillac. A true mix of perspectives and many years of experience and insight.

During their session, they touched on many topics, but there was also a theme carried throughout that focused on what they learned over the last few years, along with recommendations for how to go forward with continued success. For example, AJ Hewitson mentioned how his pathway to success - and it’s one he said he’s shared with others across the country - is to “Be different; go the extra step. Have fewer clients, but more attention [on them].”

April 2024 | FORDPROS 14

THOUGHTS FROM WORK TRUCK WEEK 2024

Alicia Von Bokel expounded on the thought from Hewitson, asking the audience to look at “what habits are we going to leave behind [from Covid]? Our sales teams can’t be order takers any more.” She also stated that many commercial vehicle departments aren’t using technology and wondered why, noting that to be successful, it’s essential to be proactive, have a process and hold people accountable.

Additionally, a consultative approach helps commercial dealerships stand out from the crowd and truly become partners with their customers. Rene St. Hilaire said they’re “looking real closely at the fleet management side. There’s constant account management activities. The thing we learned during Covid is we had a reliance on ‘fleet out of stock’. It taught us one thing; we want to get into the fleet ordering business.”

Building on St. Hilaire’s comments, Kathryn Schifferle noted, “Over the last few years, there was an opportunity to make people start thinking differently. Because there wasn’t inventory, there weren’t any listings, so it was time to start explaining to customers that they needed to start thinking ahead and help them understand how they need to think differently.”

If you missed this workshop, the good news is that it was recorded and you can listen to it HERE. If you did attend it, you still may want to listen again - perhaps there’s a nugget or two in there you missed the first time.

The end goal for each of us in the commercial vehicle market should be to become better partners with our customers, and there’s a plethora of tools and processes available to help with this, but you have to know about, and use them, to be effective. The bottom line is this: Work Truck week featured companies with solutions and

people to help every one of us, no matter our role. If you missed the 2024 event, you should most definitely add Work Truck Week 2025 to your calendar NOW, so you don’t miss out next year.

SEE THE FOLLOWING PAGES FOR VIDEO INTERVIEWS FROM THE FLOOR

FORDPROS | APRIL 2024 15

WATCH :

Kevin Fassnacht, VP of Sales for the Midwest Region, Mitsubishi HC Capital America sat down with Steve Henning, CVBNetwork.com at the 2024 Work Truck Week to discuss why Mitsubishi HC Capital America excels at finding the right way to finance upfits, and why coming to Work Truck Week is important.
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST
TO THE PODCAST LISTEN TO THE PODCAST
David Fritzshall, VP of Sales for the Eastern Region, Mitsubishi HC Captial America sat down with Steve Henning, CVBNetwork.com at 2024 Work Truck Week to discuss what makes Mitsubishi HC Captital America unique in the Commercial Vehicle lending market.
LISTEN
Sean Meredith, Director of Business Development, Driverge and Dan Shelhamer, Vice President of Sales at U.S. Upfitters, a Division of Driverge, reflected on Driverge/US Upfitter's merger with Kristean von der Heiden, CVBNetwork.com at the 2024 Work Truck Week. Sean goes on to speak about how Driverge's upfits for smaller vehicles fill a void..
LISTEN TO THE
FORDPROS | APRIL 2024 17 MITSUBISHI HC
DRIVERGE VEHICLE INNOVATION + U.S. UPFITTERS CLICK TO WATCH CLICK TO WATCH CLICK TO WATCH CLICK TO WATCH
Dan Shelhamer, Vice President of Sales at U.S. Upfitters, a Division of Driverge speaks with Sean Meredith, Director of Business Development, Driverge and Kristean von der Heiden, CVBNetwork.com at the 2024 Work Truck Week in regards to US Upfitters' solutions for smaller vehicles and their impressive locks.
PODCAST
CAPITAL AMERICA

UNVEILING REVOLUTIONARY TRUCK SOLUTIONS @

Adrian Steel, a market leader in cargo management solutions for commercial vans, proudly introduced an innovative lineup of truck solutions at this year's Work Truck Show. Celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2023, Adrian Steel has embarked on a journey to extend its expertise into the commercial pickup upfitting sector, with the experience and success of their history in cargo vans.

van solutions sector. Through extensive market research and valuable insights from discussions with employees, fleet customers, and distributors, we've identified unique needs across different vocations and set out to address them comprehensively.

Adrian Steel’s innovation-led efforts in 2023 have culminated in the launch of unparalleled upfitting solutions that set a new standard in the industry.

"ADRIAN STEEL’S INNOVATION-LED EFFORTS IN 2023 HAVE CULMINATED IN THE LAUNCH OF UNPARALLELED UPFITTING SOLUTIONS THAT SET A NEW STANDARD IN THE INDUSTRY."

A NEW ERA FOR COMMERCIAL PICKUP UPFITTING

Since 2022, Adrian Steel has been focused on transforming the commercial pickup upfitting landscape, leveraging its strong foundation in the cargo management

Comprised of multiple products manufactured by one company, these offerings are tailored to meet the diverse requirements of both commercial and fleet customers, embodying their commitment to a 'No boundaries' philosophy.

INTEGRATED TRUCK SOLUTIONS: A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH

Jeff Warnecke, V.P. of Sales at Adrian Steel, shared the exciting developments in truck solutions, emphasizing the company's dedication to providing key components for a complete pickup truck upfit:

• Modular Truck Cap: The cap features an all-aluminum modular design, making it easier to ship, stock, and protect from the elements. Its modular nature allows for easy replacement of individual panels, offering unparalleled flexibility and customization options.

• Ladder Rack: The Profile Series ladder rack, introduced last year, offers great versatility, ergonomics, and ease of installation, ensuring that ladders are transported securely and without damage.

• Cargo Slide: With the acquisition of Extendobed in June 2023, Adrian Steel has solidified its offering in cargo management. Extendobed's EBL1272 model features 110% extension and a 1200lb weight capacity, allowing flexibility in loading, a capability unmatched by competitors.

• Shelving Solutions: Tailored to enhance the utility of the cargo slide and cap, Adrian Steel's shelving solutions offer integrated and customizable storage options for tools and consumables.

April 2024 | FORDPROS 18

A SYMPHONY OF INNOVATION & EFFICIENCY

Designed with intent and industry leading lead times, Adrian Steel's Integrated Truck Solution is underpinned by a warranty from a single company, ensuring reliability and peace of mind for its users. This solution stands as a testament to Adrian Steel's commitment to innovation, quality, and customer satisfaction.

IT STARTS AT THE TOP: ADRIAN STEEL MODULAR TRUCK CAP

The modular truck cap, the centerpiece of Adrian Steel's new offerings, boasts several industryleading features:

• All Aluminum Modular Architecture: Enhanced flexibility in ordering and replacing panels, along with customization options for toolboxes, ladder racks, and electronics.

• Best in Class Design Elements: Offers 30% more square footage of cargo access, weather and dust resistance, and bodyside integrity, thanks to its .08 aluminum construction.

• Efficiency and Customization: Offering seamless ladder rack installation, toolbox additions at any time, and a flat panel design for easy graphics application.

LEADING THE MARKET WITH UNMATCHED LEAD TIMES

Adrian Steel stands out not only for its innovative design but also for its industry-best lead times, ensuring that customers maximize their time on the job. The solution is launching with the F150 and Silverado/Sierra with 6.5ft box, with plans to expand offerings to all key full-size and midsize commercial pickups throughout the balance of 2024.

For more information on Adrian Steel's Integrated Truck Solution and other products, visit www.adriansteel.com

Kevin LaBrecque, Director of Marketing, Adrian Steel spoke to Steve Henning, CVBNetwork.com at the 2024 Work Truck Week, unveiling revolutionary Truck Solutions with incredible build times. Walk through the whole solution with Kevin and Steve.

@ FORDPROS | APRIL 2024 19
TO THE PODCAST
LISTEN
CLICK TO WATCH

That’s what you get when you combine two of the nation’s leading upfitters.

Now that Driverge has acquired U.S. Upfitters, it’s not just a question of what we can do for you, but also of exactly where and when. Call us and let’s get started! (855) 337- 9543

Better access to chassis Improved speed to market Lower transportation costs More convenience

Anthony Lista, Vice President, General Manager Unicell Vans with Kristean von der Heiden, CVBNetwork.com spoke about Unicell's unique position as the only one piece fiberglass van body - and celebrating Ford's 10 year anniversary for their Transit.

Jeff Jerousek, Vice President of Sales, Switch-NGo & AmeriDeck, unveiled Switch-N-Go's innovative first-of-it's-kind approach to utilizing their integral switching system for class 3 vehicles in response to the Class 4 + 5 vehicle limited availability

.

www.switchngo.com

Connections and seeing the bodies you are selling and buying are importantMake sure to attend 2025 Work Truck Week! www.unicell.com

The brand-new, first-of-it's-kind, Class 3 System unveiled at Work Truck Week 2024 is not just a smaller version of Switch N Go's standard interchangeable truck system - it’s been engineered to be lighter, lower to the ground for better center of gravity and safety, and faster to operate with less rear overhang for improved weight distribution. Available Q3 2024..

FORDPROS | APRIL 2024 21
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST LISTEN TO THE PODCAST
WATCH :
CLICK TO WATCH CLICK TO WATCH
UNICELL SWITCH-N-GO

SAFETY CENTRAL

IT’S A SAFE BET: YOU COULDN’T HAVE MISSED BOOTH 5321 AT WORK TRUCK WEEK 2024 EVEN IF YOU TRIED

Was it the carefully aligned, polished vehicles that you spotted from across the floor?

Or the high-tech touch screens, bright lights, and chrome-finished storage solutions you noticed upon closer inspection?

Maybe it was the group of onlookers by the high-roof van hypnotized by another smooth ErgoRack demo?

No matter what pulled you into Booth 5321, it wouldn’t have taken long to notice the precise attention to details given to the souped-up vehicles, product displays, and engaging Experts covering the booth. After all, an exhibit at Work Truck Week demands that you bring your A-game, as the Indiana Convention Center houses the biggest collection of work truck fleets, manufacturers, and distributors under one roof at the same time.

Here’s an all-encompassing recap of Safe Fleet’s Work Truck Week 2024 presence:

THE VEHICLES

Safe Fleet has always seized the opportunity to demonstrate how a full suite of products from their brands come together to form integrated solutions in working applications and this year was no exception.

These 4 vehicles were upfitted with a slew of products from Prime Design, American Van, Rear View Safety, FRC, Roll-Rite, and Labcraft to show how Safe Fleet is a fleet’s sole source for outfitting cargo vans, dump bodies, high roof work vans, and utility trucks.

Behind the prominent displays of style and substance is Safe Fleet’s SAAS (Safety as a Service), which provides a network of strategically located centers tending to clients who need installation, maintenance, or upfits. AMFS (American Mobile Fleet Services), Safe Fleet’s installation and upfit experts, can cater to you anywhere, anytime.

FORD TRANSIT:

HIGH ROOF, 148' WB

• Prime Design - Double Rotation ErgoRack

• American Van Custom Fleet Upfit Package

• Sliding Partition

• RVS InView 360 w/ SenseVue™

• FRC FireFly Lights

• Legend StabiliGrip Flooring

• Legend UpStep

CHEVY CREW CAB HD3600 TRUCK:

READING 9' DUMP BODY

• Tarpmaster 300 w/Premium Mesh

FORD F550:

ALTEC AT40G 9' UTILITY

• Prime Design ErgoRack –Utility Vertical w/2 Conduit Carriers

• RVS Back-up OEM System

• RVS SenseVue™ Vehicle Surround Sensor System

• FRC FireFly Lights

• FRC Radiant Echo Lights

• LED Spectra Max Scene Light

• FRC Intercom System

• ROM Compartment Lighting

FORD E-SERIES CHASSIS:

WABASH 14' CARGO BODY

• FoldPro Shelving Package

• RVS InView 360

• LabCraft Scene Lighting

The Solutions

Count on Safe Fleet to strut its most advanced commercial vehicle solutions on the big stage. Multiple brands contribute to the Power of the Platform, making it easy to address different pain points on the same vehicle, whether it’s for a last mile delivery step van or a cable company’s utility truck.

April 2024 | FORDPROS 22 @

SAFETY CENTRAL

Video & Visibility

Rear View Safety’s systems improved visibility with their Monitor-Only 360 system, enhanced safety for tractor trailers with the wireless AirVue system, and uses proximity sensors to help larger vehicles maneuver in tight spaces.

Get the full scoop on all the latest RVS tech featured at Work Truck Week in Alex Trkulja’s interview with CVBNetwork HERE.

Storage & Last-Mile

The Safe Fleet booth was home to a high-roof Ford Transit and a Wabash Box Truck, both of which were filled to the brim (or the high roof) with American Van and Prime Design storage, shelving, ladder rack, partition, and last-mile solutions.

In his interview with CVBNetwork, Marc Richter, Vice President & General Manager of Work Truck & Safe Fleet SAAS, gave a tour of both vehicles. Watch him give the full tours HERE.

Tarping

Covering the Reading 9’ Dump Body was Roll Rite’s Tarpmaster 300 with Premium Mesh, an ideal system for single axle work trucks using up to 16 feet of tarp and also available for work trucks with multi-axles using up to 26 feet of tarp.

Lighting

Labcraft showed how useful their LED lighting is in last mile delivery applications, while FRC and ROM provided efficiently powerful solutions that play critical roles in keeping utility vehicle operators/ workers safe while on scene.

Flooring

Legend Fleet ensured safe vehicle entry with their retractable side door step and minimized slip and fall risks with their StabiliGrip Flooring.

The Experts

If it was the vehicles and product displays that drew you in, then it was the Trusted Fleet Safety Experts’ mastery of their respective industries, pain points, and solutions that kept you in the booth.

Alternating between blue and grey for the length of the show, the uniformed members of Safe Fleet’s Commercial Vehicle division rolled deep to cover all areas, welcoming those new to Safe Fleet and cultivating existing relationships. In fact, if you listened closely, you’d find that many visitors just happened to be clients stopping by to show their appreciation for what Safe Fleet has done for their businesses. These live testimonials may be the most effective feature of the booth: satisfied clients showed gratitude within earshot of potential customers, as the resident Experts offered decades of knowledge and guidance or gave a preview of what’s on the horizon.

The Announcements

Safe Fleet’s Press Conference pulled in onlookers to unveil the two biggest headlines to emerge from within the organization in 2024: the addition of Vango Rolling Tarp Solutions to their tarp portfolio and Safe Fleet joining Clarience Technologies.

WATCH Steve Kiefer and Marc Richter discuss the Power of the Platform, Safety as a Service (SAAS), the Vango acquisition, the Trusted Fleet Safety Experts initiative, and the massive potential of merging Clarience’s visibility technologies with Safe Fleet’s safety technologies.

Until Next Year…

The Work Truck Week booth embodies what makes Safe Fleet successful: an integrated platform offering solutions that address a fleet’s every need, installation services that will meet you where you are, Trusted Fleet Safety Experts with decades’ worth of applicable knowledge, and forward thinking when it comes to improving safety for the world.

If you missed us, have questions, or need information, contact an expert HERE.

FORDPROS | APRIL 2024 23 CLICK TO WATCH CLICK TO WATCH
WATCH:

Caleb Pontius, General Manager, Rockport Commercial Vehicles met with Kristean von der Heiden, CVBNetwork.com at the 2024 Work Truck Week to highlight the new and always improving

John Stuck, Product Manager, Reading Truck and Janet Pengelly, Technology Chief Engineer, EAVX (JB Poindexter & Co) discuss the collaboration between Reading Truck and its flagship service body, the Classic II, with product innovations from other JB Poindexter Co. business units EAVX, LEER and Masterack with

products they provide. Enclosed work truck bodies, heavy duty drawers and reasons to attend 2025 Work truck Week! www.rockporttrucks.com

Kristean von der Heiden, CVBNetwork.com at the 2024 Work Truck Week show.

Don't forget to plan for 2025 Work Truck Week!

FORDPROS | APRIL 2024 25
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST LISTEN TO THE PODCAST ROCKPORT COMMERCIAL VEHICLES READING TRUCK CLICK TO WATCH CLICK TO WATCH
WATCH :
www.eavxco.com
www.readingtruck.com

YOUR SINGLE SOURCE FOR INDUSTRY-LEADING WORK

TRUCK SOLUTIONS

Trusted Fleet Safety Experts from our family of brands continue the mission of providing best-in-class solutions for fleet vehicles, from Last-Mile Shelving to Ladder Racks and Tractor-Trailer Wireless Camera Systems.

safefleet.net

SCAN QR-CODE BELOW TO LEARN MORE OR VISIT – WWW.SAFEFLEET.NET/WORKTRUCK-SAFETY SCAN FOR MORE

Ben Winter, Director of Business Development, Transfer Flow Inc sat down with Steve Henning, CVBNetwork.com to talk about the growth and innovation Transfer Flow has been through in the last

Mandar Dighe, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Knapheide spoke with Kevin Kinell, CTO, Work Truck Solutions at the 2024 Work Truck Week- nailing home the importance of coming to the show, highlighting their impressive portfolio of work truck solutions, and rounding out their 175th year in business.

year - and of course, why it's important to come to Work Truck Week. www.transferflow.com

Mandar will be participating in Work Truck Solutions online FREE upcoming Spring 2024 Commercial Vehicle Business Summit alongside many other guests - be sure to register!

www.knapheide.com

FORDPROS | APRIL 2024 27
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST LISTEN TO THE PODCAST
CLICK TO WATCH CLICK TO WATCH
WATCH :
TRANSFER FLOW KNAPHEIDE

THE BEST DIGITAL MARKETING TOOLS FOR GROWING YOUR BUSINESS

While many still believe that “going digital” requires advanced skills or piles of cash, that’s no longer the case! In fact, it’s easy and requires as much or as little money as you want to get started.

So, what are you waiting for?

Check out the six digital tools below and get started setting your business up for success today!

And if you’re not sure where to start, try Facebook. It’s easy to use and the perfect place to reach millennials and older generations, as they make up a majority of the network’s 2.09 billion daily users (Demand Sage). If you’re trying to reach younger audiences though, consider opting for platforms like Instagram and TikTok instead.

SOCIAL MEDIA

There are roughly eight billion people in the world and 4.95 billion are on social media (Backlinko). (That’s over half of the people in the world!) So, if you’re not using these tools, engaging current and potential customers, you’re missing out on a great opportunity!

With platforms like Facebook, Instagram, X and YouTube you can connect directly with interested parties and relay information almost instantly. But don’t think you have to join every platform. It’s actually better to just join the one or two you feel confident maintaining.

internet using their phones!) But if you don’t want to hire one, do your own research on how to optimize your site. (To find out what makes a great site, check out our post on SEO!)

Once your site is up and running, make sure to keep it updated!

Although this all may sound like a lot of work, it’s worth it, especially

WEBSITE

Now, I know what you’re thinking… but building a website doesn’t have to be a pain or cost an arm and a leg. With do-it-yourself web designers like Wix, Squarespace and WordPress, you can simply choose templates, drag and drop modules, add information and go. It’s easy and cheaper than hiring a web designer/developer, although you may still want to consult one. (They can help optimize your site’s SEO performance and ensure it’s mobile-friendly. Both are more important than you might think. SEO determines your ranking on search engine result pages, and believe it or not, 60% of people access the

since it helps build your business’s credibility online and makes it possible for customers to learn about and reach you.

GOOGLE BUSINESS PAGE

Google has become synonymous with searching online. So, it’s important that you make yourself visible on Google’s search results. Google Business Profile is a quick and easy way to get your business found. It displays information about your location, contact, hours, website, logo, products and more on relevant searches.

To get started, just head over to Google Business Profile and either create or claim your business.

KNAPHEIDE: DEALER RESOURSES - READ AT KNAPHEIDE.COM/BLOG April 2024 | FORDPROS 28

BLOGS

A blog can be a valuable tool for your business. After all, it provides you with a platform to share valuable information, showcase your expertise and show your customers that you’re tuned in. And, when you regularly post relevant and engaging content, you’ll drive more traffic to the website you created and improve your search engine rankings. (While some traffic may come from search engine result pages, you can further drive traffic by using your blog posts as landing pages for social media posts, emails, ads, etc.)

(If you need inspiration, check out our blog!)

EMAIL MARKETING

Another tool available for you to try is email marketing. With it, you’ll be able to reach current and potential customers, whether they’re tethered

to their desk or on the go. And if you’re not sure where or how to get started, try checking out services like Mailchimp and Constant Contact They make designing your own emails infinitely easier, but keep in mind, you’ll still be on the hook for curating and creating your own email lists and content.

To get started with your email marketing, focus on how you can maximize the impact. Treat every interaction with current and potential customers as an opportunity to gather email addresses. And as you try to come up with content, consider linking back to your blog posts and including information about your promotions, services and updates, all of which will help keep your business at the forefront of your customers’ minds.

DIGITAL ADVERTISING

When you’re online, reading the news or checking the game’s score, and think to yourself, “That ad is totally something I need. I was just thinking about getting something like it,” you’ve probably experienced display advertising.

and interests that best identify your customers and then serve them ads across sites using ad networks.

You could also use re-targeting, which serves ads to those who have visited and navigated away from your site. These are often much more effective than standard display ads. But regardless of which type of ad you choose, you should be able to see where your money goes through regular reporting. This helps you better understand what works well for you and what doesn’t.

Display ads serve end users with advertisements based on their interests and browsing behaviors on the internet. And as a business, this is something you can do, too. You’ll need to start by identifying characteristics

According to Backlinko, “SEO keywords (also known as “keywords” or “keyphrases”) are terms added to online content in order to improve search engine rankings for those terms.” Essentially, keywords or keyphrases are what people are typing into the search engine bars when they’re looking for something. What they’re typing in should correspond to the actual words or phrases you’re using on your site. And the better you are at that, the higher you will be ranked for those terms. Visit

KNAPHEIDE: DEALER RESOURSES - READ AT KNAPHEIDE.COM/BLOG
for more! FORDPROS | APRIL 2024 29
www.Knapheide.com

ALTFUEL

CONNECT FOR SUCCESS: EASING THE STRESS OF NET-ZERO ADOPTION

As the push towards climatefriendly commerce intensifies, business owners and commercial fleet managers find themselves at the forefront of a significant change— moving towards net-zero emissions. However, despite the clearly defined objective, the uncertainty about the process and fears about the associated complexities often create a high-stress environment for these professionals.

Transitioning commercial vehicle fleets to net-zero emissions involves dealing with numerous issues, such as choosing the right vehicles, upgrading infrastructure, and organizing appropriate driver training. Financing these changes is another significant stress point, as is the pressure of maintaining optimum fleet performance while rolling out this transition. These challenges can be overwhelming for fleet managers and have a profound impact on their organizations.

THE VALUE OF KNOWLEDGE + COLLABORATION IN MITIGATING STRESS

Amidst these challenges, the power of knowledge and collaboration proves invaluable. Informed decision-making can alleviate a great deal of stress, converting ambiguity into clearly defined steps. Besides, collaboration with peers who have already begun or completed their transition can provide unprecedented insights and potential solutions. There’s nowhere on Earth you can access more knowledge and experience than at specialized events.

UTILIZING SPECIALIZED EVENTS TO GAIN INSIGHT + SOLUTIONS

The Green Truck Summit and Work Truck Week 2024 represent prime opportunities to tap into collective industry wisdom. These events showcase the latest technologies and strategies and provide an avenue for networking and peerto-peer learning that isn’t available anywhere else. Success stories from prior participants underscore the effectiveness of these events in facilitating successful transitions.

“It’s one thing to show potential customers our products online, but seeing their eyes and how much they actually like this truck in person is pretty incredible.”

CONNECTING THE DOTS AT GREEN TRUCK SUMMIT

The Green Truck Summit offered a plethora of classes and panels focused specifically on fleet management in a green economy. Here, fleet managers absorbed a wide range of information in one place, from new technologies to successful fleet transition strategies. Simultaneously, managers engaged in constructive dialogues with their peers, establishing valuable connections to aid them in their netzero transition journey.

LEVERAGING WORK TRUCK WEEK FOR SUCCESSFUL TRANSITIONS

During Work Truck Week, attendees had access to the latest commercial vehicle technology. Participants heard from industry leaders who provided actionable advice on handling the transition's challenges. It was also an opportunity to engage with manufacturers, vendors, and service providers, helping managers tap into resources that can make their transition smoother and more successful. It’s astounding to think about how many collective years of experience were on tap at that one event.

“This industry has always been about partnerships. Your customer relies on you for education, especially with fleet electrification. It’s daunting for fleet managers committing a lot of capital to that. They need to have a good idea where they’ll be in 10 years. They need to understand the infrastructure part of it, whether to buy or lease, where are the opportunities. At shows like this (WTW 2024) you have all your [potential] partners in one place. This is really the opportunity for you (the enduser) to come out and talk to them (the solution providers) and educate yourself.”

April 2024 | FORDPROS 30

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THOSE ATTENDING THESE EVENTS

To maximize the value of these events, it’s beneficial to approach with a clear list of the most pressing concerns and a willingness to explore innovative solutions. Maintaining an open mindset for learning, participating in discussion panels, and establishing ongoing relationships with peers and relevant industry experts will go a long way in ensuring a seamless transition. And the collaboration shouldn’t end when the events do. Fleet managers should aim to maintain the relationships formed at these events, exchange information regularly, and keep the knowledge-sharing chain live. This ongoing support network can provide continued stress relief and solution exchange long after the event concludes.

“We want to help create an environment where fleets can transition and not struggle with adoption, especially in those states where adoption is being pushed and organizations have to transition more quickly than they might like to. I think we’ve gotten to the point where our team knows at least some of the ways we can help and connect those dots for the fleets.”

CONCLUSION

By strategically leveraging resources like the Green Truck Summit and Work Truck Week 2024, fleet managers can significantly

mitigate the stress associated with transitioning towards netzero operations. By seeking knowledge, building relationships, and actively participating in the industry’s collaborative community, they can turn their challenges into opportunities and journey confidently towards a sustainable future.

Even if you didn’t make it to either of these stellar events, make sure to check the NuPropel “Events” page to stay informed on upcoming events related to your net-zero commercial vehicle journey.

ALTFUEL CONNECT FOR SUCCESS
LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN FORDPROS | APRIL 2024 31 COMMERCIAL VEHICLE PRO PODCAST @

COACH KEN

WORKING TRADE SHOWS WITHOUT A BOOTH

Working a trade show for commercial auto can be a very lucrative event regarding both appointments and sales. Most dealerships feel like they have to buy a booth in order to make it worthwhile, but nothing could be further from the truth. Here is why:

• Your best customers are other businesses. Guess what? They are working the other booths!

• Most of the people walking around are consumers, which is not our primary target.

• It only takes one person to go from booth to booth.

• It only costs the price of admission, if there is one.

WORD TRACK

(You) "Hi my name is _______________ and it looks like we have a lot in common!"

(Prospect) "Really?"

(You) "We are most likely both selling products and services to the same people."

(Prospect) "I guess you're right!

(You) "We have a networking program that might be able to help you grow your business."

(Prospecting) "How does it work?"

One day walking the booths at a trade show or other business event is like five days of sales calls! Here is a short guide to working the show, including the word track.

1. Be casual and friendly and whatever you do, don't try to sell a truck! You are selling "networking" with the other vendors.

2. Be confident in a professional way. If you know your word track, you will have confidence.

(You) "Well, first of all it's free. I make no less than 50 outside sales calls every month on businesses that most likely have a need for your service. My job is to make sure there is a match."

(Prospect) "It sounds simple! Could you give me more details?"

(You) "Sure, but first let me ask you a question. Who is your ideal customer?"

(Prospect) "Mainly businesses with 50 plus employees."

(You) I would love to sit down with you over coffee and learn more

This is very much how the conversation goes. Even if it is a breakfast meeting, it will mirror most of this conversation. Remember, be yourself, have fun and slow down! There will be plenty of time to sell! I live by a simple motto… ”Questions rule the world.” If you are

about your business and how I might be able to support you through our networking program. It would also give you the opportunity to learn about my company and what we do to help the community. What does your schedule look like next week?"

(Prospect) "I have Wednesday open early in the afternoon."

(You) "2:15?"

(Prospect) "That works, see you there?"

(You) "Thanks for your card and I will send you some information through the mail."

talking, you are losing; if you are asking questions, you are gaining information and winning! People love to talk about themselves and what is important to them. What a simple way to build a new relationship, gain important information, and get an appointment!

3. Make sure you get everyone's business card, and more importantly, either get an appointment with the main person at each booth, or get the right to set up a meeting or drop by their business. For

KEN TAYLOR
more
or
information about Ken Taylor & Associates’ Commercial Truck Training: Call 1-904-535-9996 Ken Taylor at ken@coachkentaylor.com
Will Brogan at will@commercialtrucktraining.com www.commercialtrucktraining.com
WILL BROGAN April 2024 | FORDPROS 32

DRIVING CONNECTIONS:

ONE NEXUS GROUP ACQUIRES COMMERCIAL TRUCK TRAINING

This industry is all about making connections, and you see evidence of that everywhere. It is an honor to share details on one such connection in this admired publication.

Our job is to help a business grow by connecting them to the tools that can assist in their everyday efforts. Maybe that’s enhancing efficiency, making transportation safer, providing unprecedented convenience, or simply allowing the bottom line to tilt more in their favor. To succeed anywhere in the commercial and fleet world, you have to love the process of building relationships, finding solutions, and making connections.

The acquisition of Commercial Truck Training by the One Nexus Group accomplishes that feat in a very seamless, natural way. Coach Ken Taylor’s relationshipbased fundamental sales training has led the way for more than two decades as the premier educational program for commercial/fleet dealerships nationwide. One Nexus, an Internationally renowned organization, has had a strong presence in commercial/fleet in America as well, with multiple programs successfully implemented in a similar timespan.

While some could see the two organizations as competitors, in reality they are perfect complements to one another. In fact, the theme of Work Truck Solutions’ Spring 2024 Commercial Vehicle Summit, “Connecting the Dots”, is a perfect way to describe the marriage of Commercial Truck Training and One Nexus.

In short, the two come together to solidify the only training program available that can take a sales consultant “from hire, to on fire, to eventually retire!” If that isn’t a connection, what is?

So how can this help the commercial/fleet dealer? Well, like you, we aim to be a one-stop-shop for all your (training) needs:

• Need to hire a salesperson, manager, or really anyone in the dealership? You should meet some of the energetic, dynamic people One Nexus has placed in dealerships recently.

• Brand new and just getting started? That same system has you covered.

• Want two well-rounded, everevolving days of commercial/ fleet specific training? Attend an Ultimate Boot Camp.

• Hit that plateau where you’re getting too busy to be more successful? Let’s talk about how to break through – it has happened before!

• Losing deals to the big FMCs and want to be more competitive? Set up a Fleet Cycling call.

Can’t seem to sustain the momentum from the great initial training? That’s what our clubs are for – to either re-ignite or never let the flame go out in the first place!

Want the total package with focused, In-Dealer Consulting? Let’s take a look at your calendar!

The connection of Commercial Truck Training and One Nexus allows any dealership to have an independent, trusted, outside source answer two questions that are constantly arising:

• How do we get better?

• How do we get help to make that happen?

This connection allows your dealership to put the entire process, along with the entire department, together and chase the success that you seek better and faster than ever before.

So, will you connect with us?

Coach Ken Taylor of Commercial Truck Training sat down with Kathryn Schifferle, founder + CVO Work Truck Solutions to talk about the tools available and needed for the fast changing commercial vehicle market as well as One Nexus’ acquisition of Commercial Truck Training. Be sure to attend 2025 Work Truck Week! Watch on YouTube or Listen to the Podcast!

LISTEN WATCH HERE
FORDPROS | APRIL 2024 33
By Will Brogan - will@commercialtrucksuccess.com
KEN TAYLOR @

DEALERSHIP SUCCESS

CONNECTING THE DOTS: A STRATEGY FOR SUCCESS IN A BRAVE NEW WORLD

The commercial vehicle industry stands at the crossroads of innovation and tradition, facing a future where net-zero operations are not just ideal but often required by regulations. And beyond the net-zero conversation, there are many other challenges encountered by those in our commercial ecosystem, and they all need solutions.

The complex and interconnected nature of this industry, combined with the urgent push toward sustainability, requires a strategic approach that goes beyond the conventional. Success in this brave new world hinges on the ability of commercial vehicle dealerships to help their customers navigate the challenges they face, including the shift to net-zero operations, by connecting the dots across the landscape of their business operations.

WHAT ARE THE "DOTS”?

"Connecting the dots" in the commercial vehicle industry involves a holistic approach that encompasses business owners, commercial dealers, the diversity of vehicle and propulsion types, financing options, and the evolving infrastructure for refueling and recharging. Additionally, providing education on solutions facilitates informed decisions and strategies.

Recognizing the interconnectedness of these elements in a meaningful way significantly impacts the value chain of the businesses involved.

“In our industry, connections and connecting the dots is vital. Everything we work with is kind of incomplete until you connect the dots to make a complete solution.”

TRANSITIONING TOWARD NET-ZERO OPERATIONS

Net-zero operations refer to achieving a balance between the greenhouse gasses emitted into the atmosphere and the amount removed. In the context of commercial vehicles, this involves adopting new technologies, vehicles, and practices that reduce carbon footprints. Dealerships can play a crucial role, not just as suppliers but as trusted advisors, guiding customers through the significant changes and implications for their businesses. Educating customers is pivotal, as it ensures a smooth transition while reinforcing the dealership's position as a key partner in the customer's journey towards sustainability.

FIRST, EDUCATE YOURSELF: CONNECT YOUR OWN DOTS

For a dealership to effectively support its customers, it must first deepen its own understanding of the industry's shifting landscape. This involves engaging with industry experts, both within and outside the dealership's network, to gain a comprehensive view of the challenges and solutions available. Networking with a diverse set of stakeholders enriches the dealership's knowledge base, making it better equipped to guide customers.

LEVERAGING INDUSTRY INSIGHT & DIVERSE VIEWPOINTS

Consulting with external industry participants offers invaluable perspectives that might not be apparent from within your dealership. Seeking out and contemplating diverse viewpoints fosters a culture of learning and adaptation. The more well-rounded your industry knowledge, the better your dealership can offer up-todate and innovative solutions to your customers.

BEYOND EGO: A COLLABORATIVE APPROACH TO INDUSTRY CHALLENGES

Knowing how to serve your customers best requires a collaborative effort, one that can sometimes be hindered by egos. Recognizing the limitations of one's own knowledge and being open to external advice is fundamental to overcoming the challenges faced

April 2024 | FORDPROS 34

by the industry today. By adopting a humble stance and being receptive to new ideas, dealerships can navigate the path to sustainability more effectively and efficiently.

“When I hear [“connecting the dots”] I think about all the different ways we can network and help each other. I’ve been on sales calls with a dealer and the prospect brings up something and I say, ‘We have someone who’s an expert on that. Would you like me to connect you?’

That’s connecting the dots and it makes a difference.”

CONCLUSION

The commercial vehicle industry has undergone significant upheaval, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the pressing need to adopt sustainable practices to supply chain / inventory challenges, and the list goes on. While many dealerships have been in survival mode, the time has come to jump to a new paradigm of thriving. Embracing the transition toward net-zero operations with a collaborative spirit and a customerfocused approach is essential for enduring success.

As business owners face the daunting task of "eating the elephant," that is, the transition to net zero, dealerships can help by breaking down the process into manageable "bites" through

LET’S WORK ON MAKING WORK EASIER.

education and guidance, ensuring a path to success that benefits both parties.

Remember, you only win when your customer wins.

It starts by designing truck bodies with innovative features so you can work smarter and safer. Next, we use American craftsmanship to build durable bodies you can count on year after year. If you need an air compressor, an extra toolbox or special work lighting, we can outfit your body your way. You’ll even find maintenance, crane inspections and mobile service. Everything you need in one work truck company to help you work smarter. Save time and money. Send productivity soaring. Let’s work.

DEALERSHIP SUCCESS BE SURE TO CONTACT SHAWN AT SHAWN.HORSWILL@ WORKTRUCKSOLUTIONS.COM FOR MORE TIPS
more:
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readingtruck.com
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ELEVATE YOUR FLEET

Give your operation a lift with equipment you can depend on –durable, made in America, and ready to handle every challenge. From light-duty electric cranes to full heavy-duty upfit packages, Venturo delivers the rugged performance your jobs demand.

FIND THE CRANE FOR YOU AT VENTURO.COM
NEWS & EVENTS TOOLBOX @ REASONS #254 - #257 TO GO TO WORK TRUCK WEEK SOCIAL GATHERING = NETWORKING = CONNECTIONS FORDPROS | APRIL 2024 37

REASON #325 - TEST DRIVES

REASON #52320+ YEARS OF MUGS

NEWS & EVENTS TOOLBOX @
APRIL 2024 | FORDPROS 38

UPCOMING TRADESHOWS & EVENTS

Spring 2024 CVBSummit

April 10-11, 2024

ONLINE - FREE - REGISTER NOW

Connecting the dots - it’s important in so many different elements of our business lives. Making connections with others in the commercial vehicle space, learning how to work and integrate with different partners, gaining knowledge from experts, hearing insights from future thinkers, and the list goes on. All of these elements - or dots - are critical to success.

Green Drives Conference & Expo

May 9, 2024 | 8am - 4pm

Alsip, IL

IBEW/NECA Technical Institute

Green Drives – one of the largest cleantransportation conferences held in the Midwest – is a must-attend event for government officials, commercial and municipal fleet managers, corporate sustainability officers, and clean-tech and clean-energy professionals who want to learn how to use cleaner, lower emissions fuels and technologies, while saving money.

Advanced Clean Transportation Expo

May 20-23, 2024

Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas Convention Center

Explore North America’s Largest Advanced Commercial Vehicle Technology Event.

For more than a decade, ACT Expo has been uniting the transportation sector in its effort to reduce emissions from goods movement, the service industry, and passenger transportation, while also driving economic sustainability.

1313 17th St E Palmetto, FL 34221 941-729-8196 Established in 2011, Premier Truck Center is a full service used commercial truck dealership and truck equipment upfitter / manufacturer Visit Us at www.premier truckbodies.com
FORDPROS | APRIL 2024 39

ADAPTING TO CHANGE + EMBRACING THE FUTURE

EVEN THE SMARTEST PEOPLE IN OUR INDUSTRY CANNOT BE SURE WHAT IS COMING NEXT

Wedo our best to anticipate, prognosticate, and guess about the future. But what surprises lie ahead? We watch seismic leaps in technology, see how they affect other industries and then surmise how this new thing will affect the commercial truck business. We hear promises made by election candidates and claims of certain calamity if their political opponent is elected instead of them. We watch global events and hear economic predictions of gloom and doom, but that “next great recession” has not happened yet, and it appears more than likely one won’t begin in this calendar year.

Looking back at just the past 5 years, there is ample evidence that we should all be a bit more humble when predicting the future in general, or just of our own industry. The unknown variables often derail the best laid plans.

Just look at two major forces of change in the work truck industry since 2019:

• COVID-19 - No one saw this coming, unless you count a handful of provocative films released since the 1990s (“Outbreak” and “Contagion” come to mind). Yet between March 2020 and 2022, the Coronavirus has caused more death and disruption

PREMIUM TRUCK BODIES

than all other factors combined. Over 1 million Americans have died, and few industries or businesses were not affected. The virus also led in part to significant breaks in supply chains. And no one had it in their strategic plans.

• Supply Chain breaks - caused in part by COVID-19 and changes in home-bound consumer behavior, forced a major re-evaluation of key suppliers for many in our industry, a process that continues into 2024. This has eaten into profits and helped cause a noticeable drop in quality manufacturing. The U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission reports that recalls of products reached a 6-year high in 2023. The auto and truck industries were not immune. All the Lean Six Sigma and TQM efforts could not prevent a breakdown in consistent product quality. Labor shortages and steel tariffs did not help either.

Looking Ahead and Staying Humble

So, what will be the most influential events for commercial trucks in 202425 and over the next 5 years? Many are betting it will be a combination of:

1. EV growth

2. The threat of cheap China EV imports

3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the resulting machine learning. Both could yield massive improvements on the production floor – and inside the driver’s cab, too. And perhaps offset a shortage in some labor areas as well.

While all three of these could cause hyper-change in the work truck markets, isn’t it more likely that the major changes between now and 2030 will be something we don’t even have on our radar screens yet?

SCELZI CELEBRATES 45 YEARS ADAPTING TO CHANGES

Scelzi Enterprises Truck Bodies is celebrating their 45th year as an upfitter. It has been 45 years of learning from the past while focusing on the future. As 2024 begins they are busy adapting to the California Zero Emission laws which took effect earlier this year, but Founder and Owner Mike Scelzi has never been one to fear an uncertain future. “Everything is a problem to be solved, and we have some great problem solvers here,” states Scelzi. “Working through labor shortages and supply chain challenges have certainly taken some time these past few years. Looking ahead, the artificial intelligence stuff sounds very promising, but it might have a fair amount of bad repercussions along with the good. EV is great in theory but there are plenty of holes to fill before it becomes a significant part of work truck fleets – aside from lightweight delivery vehicles. And cheap imports have been a concern since we finished welding and painting our first truck body in 1979 –only the source has changed.”

Time will tell how the coming 12-48 months unfold. At Scelzi Enterprises, they are planning for the expected, but also being alert for the unexpected. There are sure to be surprises along the way.

A Scelzi Truck Body Ready For Anything
April 2024 | FORDPROS 40
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