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The Work Truck Show 2021: how can upfitters and manufacturers prepare your business for a brave new world?

The Work Truck Show 2021: how can upfitters and manufacturers prepare your business for a brave new world?


Explore Industry Solutions

The Work Truck Show 2021: how can upfitters and manufacturers prepare your business for a brave new world?

Feb 24, 2021

Aptean Staff Writer
Woman holding tablet and chatting with two men

The Work Truck Show 2020 was one of the last events I attended in person. Although we were aware of the unfolding coronavirus situation, we could never have predicted a global pandemic – and the impact it would have on the work truck industry.

WorkWise was acquired by Aptean in June 2020, providing a greater portfolio of technology solutions and resources to help the work truck industry future-proof your performance and profitability.

When I spoke to upfitters and manufacturers last year, there was a lot of conversation around the supply chain. Since then, we’ve seen first-hand the impact of major international disruption, and the need for work truck businesses to run agile, efficient operations.

So, 12 months on, where is our sector? Running online for a start; this year’s Work Truck Show is now a digital event.

And, for many businesses, in a state of recovery. The Work Truck Show 2021 will be an opportunity for us to get together and look at how we can learn from the impact of COVID-19, and what work truck companies must do to future-proof your business...

Dealing With Demand Fluctuation

Let’s start with a comforting thought: there’s always going to be demand for work trucks.

The diverse industries that require commercial vehicles – from retail, wholesale, food & beverage, to defense, emergency services and agriculture – mean decreasing demand in one area is usually off-set by increased production in another.

To seize new revenue opportunities, however, manufacturers and upfitters need to work quickly. And at a basic level, this means turning enquiries into quotes as quickly as possible, in order to get new business over the line.

The fastest, smartest way for work truck companies to improve the quotation process is to use ERP software featuring quote configuration software. ERP uses established base models to ensure that quotes can be pulled together rapidly and accurately, by any relevant person in the business.

More importantly, ERP-run configurators support quotations for custom vehicle production, as they enable users to put in measurements and specifications, in order to calculate the volume of materials needed. And best of all, when these quotes convert, a centralized manufacturing ERP system can automatically generate a bill of materials for that job, so parts can be sourced, and work can be scheduled in.

Seeing Everything in the Pipeline

While the opportunities for new business are diverse in the work truck industry, the past year has taught us that nothing is predictable. Previously reliable supply chains have been interrupted, and material availability has severely impacted production for many upfitters.

To help companies recover, it is critical that we find better ways of matching inventory to demand and maximizing production uptime. This relies on increasing visibility across your business and giving decision-makers the agility to react to the data they can see; something that is best delivered through manufacturing ERP software.

ERP technology empowers organizations to see beyond what inventory lies in your warehouse, to separate what’s been allocated versus what is available to promise. It also correlates stock with engineering data and shop floor resourcing – matching available components with production schedules, to prevent material bottlenecks.

The smartest ERP offers both simplicity and complexity to work truck manufacturers. Simplicity in the delivery of essential information: for example, online dashboards that clearly display real-time inventory. And complexity in the depth of data insight around requirements, resourcing and replenishment, so you can see exactly which jobs and processes are profitable for your business.

Nurturing Customer Relationships

At a time where we can’t take anything for granted, it’s not just internal operations that need to be optimized. To drive economic recovery, work truck companies need to nurture customer relationships.

Upfitters and manufacturers should be striving to understand the complete customer lifecycle, from sales opportunity to aftersales support. Every touchpoint, opportunity and engagement. And this is only possible with an ERP solution that features CRM software.

Centralizing customer communications and tracking them throughout ERP will enable your business to identify hot opportunities, instantly access customer information, and satisfy enquiries quickly. All of which builds a strong case for repeat business.

The DNA of Delivering Excellence in the Face of Disruption

In some ways it feels like five minutes since the last Work Truck Show, in others it feels like a lifetime. Either way, I can’t wait to speak with companies at the 2021 show about how we rebuild and recharge the work truck industry.

Aptean will be offering live consultations from our virtual booth, discussing how manufacturers and upfitters can maximize productivity in an unpredictable market. After 20 years in this sector, we know the DNA of delivering excellence in the face of disruption.

We’ll also be sharing how Aptean Industrial Manufacturing ERP WorkWise Edition integrates quote configuration, planning and production software, CRM, materials management and analytics, to provide work truck companies with a complete platform for agile business growth. I hope to see you there!

Book a free consultation with Aptean at The Work Truck Show 2021.

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