The Secret Solution to 5 Common Pickup Truck Upfit Challenges

The slow departure of compact vans from the market has forced many fleets to choose between larger cargo vans or pickup trucks moving forward.

For commercial fleets that choose pickup trucks, in the current model, upfitting comes with a number of challenges. With the introduction of new Cargo Truck Solutions, Adrian Steel may hold the secret that puts those challenges to rest.

“At Adrian Steel, we have a deep understanding of what fleets transitioning to pickup trucks are up against, which is why we’ve developed a fully integrated truck upfit solution that helps fleets avoid the common pickup truck upfitting challenges they face today,” said Michael Filipiak, director of engineering, Adrian Steel. “With the industry evolving towards pickup trucks, we’re applying our extensive experience in work vans to innovate in the realm of truck solutions.”

Challenge #1: Long Lead Times

A truck upfit solution requires a topper that provides enclosed storage and protects against theft and weather. Unfortunately, a topper alone typically requires a 13- to 16-week lead time and at times can even reach up to 20 weeks. That’s a big challenge for fleets, especially because owners are likely missing out on revenue opportunities while waiting for their trucks to be upfitted.

Adrian Steel devised a way to collapse this lead time from months down to days.

“We developed a different ordering and storage model for our commercial-grade aluminum topper, significantly slashing lead time,” said Filipiak. “Beyond faster delivery, our all-aluminum topper is more robust with .08 gauge aluminum to increase theft and damage protection along with overall structural rigidity. The side doors also provide 30% more square feet of cargo access than the current toppers on the market. That means fleet owners get faster and easier access to the tools they need while also getting valuable revenue potential back thanks to industry-best lead times.”

Challenge #2: Making Upfit Decisions Upon Order

Source: Adrian Steel

Some pickup operators need ladder racks, and some don’t. In the current state, fleet owners must decide whether they want ladder racks at the time they place an order with the topper/cap manufacturer.

The trouble is that some buyers might not be ready to make that decision — but they also won’t have the option to add ladder racks at a later date.

“Adrian Steel has solved for this challenge by designing an aluminum topper that comes standard with ladder rack rails, so ladder racks can be installed any time — and quickly,” Filipiak explained.

Challenge #3: Retrofitting Van Shelving Solutions for Trucks

Until now, there were no shelving solutions built intentionally for sliding platforms in a pickup bed.

Instead, fleet owners have been paying for van shelving units, which have to be cut down to pickup truck size. That wastes both materials and dollars; it’s one of the reasons Adrian Steel created the first shelving solution designed specifically for pickups and the needs of pickup owners.

“Our purpose-built design means pickup operators can access tools and equipment more efficiently, which translates to faster service for customers and potentially more jobs completed over time,” said Jeff Warnecke, vice president of sales, Adrian Steel. “Plus, Adrian Steel’s pickup shelving solutions are 100% modular, so fleet owners can configure the space between shelves for better customization.”

Challenge #4: Ensuring Driver Safety

Source: Adrian Steel

Truck bed sliding platforms make it easier for operators to reach tools and equipment. The challenge is that current slide out options don’t allow full access to the entire platform resulting in wasted cargo space, and increased risk of injury to the operator.

When the traditional slide out is fully extended, 8 to10 inches of the platform remains inside the truck bed. With only about 80% of the platform outside of the truck bed, the user has to lean into the truck to access tools and equipment, which can lead to injuries like muscle strains or tears.

Adrian Steel has a solution for this as well.

“Our truck bed sliding platform, Extendobed, is the only bed slide that extends past a truck’s taillights (110%), giving operators complete access without reaching or leaning into the truck,” Troy Simmons, Extendobed said. “A single back injury can cost more than $50,000 in a worker’s comp claim, so protecting drivers from injury can really pay off.”

One Adrian Steel customer reduced job site injuries by nearly 50% by using Extendobed. But that’s not the only benefit.

“As just one example, one of our customers determined each vehicle can service approximately four more clients per week with Extendobeds installed. With 200 vehicles in their fleet, they told us it translated to an additional $3.4 million in annual revenue capacity for the company, without adding any headcount!” Simmons said.

Challenge #5: Juggling Multiple Manufacturers

One of the most difficult pickup truck upfitting challenges is having to source toppers, sliding platforms, shelving, and ladder racks from different manufacturers.

When this happens, each component will have different lead times, all of which will be dependent on one another. If one component gets delayed, all of the components get delayed. That can make for months-long lead times and uncertain delivery dates, not to mention complicating warranty issues down the road.

“Adrian Steel is a one-stop shop for all of a fleet owner’s pickup upfit needs. Our topper, sliding platform, shelving, and ladder racks are all designed to work with each other — and are purpose built for pickup trucks,” Warnecke said. “All of the components can be installed at one of our ship-thru facilities, which simplifies the process, gets upfitted trucks on the road faster, and reclaims revenue opportunities that would otherwise be spent on long lead times.”

The Secret Solution

What’s the secret solution to alleviating all of these challenges at once? Adrian Steel’s purpose-built truck bed packages.

“We launched our new cargo truck solutions with the F150 and Silverado/Sierra with 6.5’ bed as well as the Ram 1500/2500/3500 6.3’ bed As the year continues, we plan to expand our offerings to all key full-size and midsize commercial pickups. We’re excited to bring these innovative designs to the market while also offering industry-best lead times to ensure customers maximize their time on the job,” said Warnecke.

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