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A growing commercial van market
How engineers can pitch to construction companies
Fully-equipped commercial vans act as mobile offices
Customized vans help firms save costs
While trucks continue to rule the roost on a construction site, commercial vans are steadily finding their way in. Within the last few years, a host of new cargo van models from companies like Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Ford and Chrysler have found their place in the fleets of construction businesses. So, should engineers managing SME businesses get into this space? If yes, then how should they battle the big players in the market? Read on to know more.
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The Indian commercial vehicle industry in 2017, registered a growth in volumes of 4.5% over 2016 (which had a double-digit growth over 2015). Favorable economic conditions, increased spend on infrastructure and positive business sentiments were the drivers of this growth. With a slash in GST may bring down the prices, which may further trigger the market growth in 2018.
Engineers can seize this market opportunity by financing their resource needs with Engineers Loans which come with loans up to Rs.15 lakhs.
Although, the big players are cashing on this segment, engineers running SME businesses should not shy away from seizing the opportunity too. Commercial vans can be used by multiple businesses irrespective of the industry. A great product clubbed with excellent customer service at a good price point can help SME businesses cater to this huge market.
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These modern vans with better customisation, interior space and organisation are scoring in popularity over their traditional counterparts. Their sleek and unibody designs have better cargo capacity with a variety of roof heights and body lengths make them outshine traditional body-on-frame vans. The product offering multiple benefits, has seen many businesses reviewing their fleet requirements and have started to deploy these vehicles in their transport mix.
Medium and high-roof commercial vans make it possible to comfortably work inside them. Some of these vans are outfitted as mobile workshops, equipped with power inverters that facilitate usage of air compressors and other equipment inside. The programmable battery guards protect the vehicle battery while it powers the installed equipment.
These vans serve as mobile offices, complete with desks, chairs, computers, printers and file drawers. General contractors are choosing such vans for their businesses.
Construction business owners can work with commercial vehicle dealers to customise their van as per their company’s specific needs. They can choose:
- The best body length
- Roof height
- Door configuration (Hinged or sliding, single or dual)
- Windows for all-round visibility
Dealers can coordinate with a network of up-fitters to properly equip the van with the right storage solutions. There is an endless choice of rack and bin solutions to customise the vans for any application. New vans incorporate new equipment like ladder racks that lower the ladders down from the top of medium or high-roof vans.
Cargo management systems specific to certain vocations, including general contracting, plumbing and electrical, are also designed in these commercial vans.
For instance, a van custom-made for an electrician would have small bins to house connectors, hooks for wires, a ladder rack, and a built-in workbench. While the same for a plumber would feature large compartments for various sizes of water or sewer line connectors and open space for pipes.
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Commercial vans help businesses save costs through:
Commercial vans can be equipped with telematics systems that help construction businesses enhance productivity and bring down their costs. The systems collect real-time vehicle data on a wide range of performance metrics. Fleet managers can use the same to ensure better compliance and driver safety, optimise asset management and vehicle health.
Here are some findings of the recent Bobit Business Media survey that included over 1,000 commercial and government fleet responses:
- 59% of fleets found a major benefit in productivity by implementing telematics
- An average 12% decrease in labour cost
- An average 10% decrease in fuel consumption; some even said there was a 40% decrease
- An average 21.1% decrease in accident costs
With real-time data, telematics helps in understanding how the vehicle is being put to use, and where there is excess use or idling. This enables the drivers to perform the same number of trips with lesser fuel consumption, thereby reducing fuel costs and also minimising the wear and tear of the vehicle.
The other aspect where telematics helps in saving costs is safety. Vehicle accidents encompass costs like medical expenses for bodily injuries, property damage payments and more. Insights obtained from data help set parameters on how to score driver behaviour, whether it’s driving speed or harsh breaking.
Barring payroll, fuel is the second largest cost for a construction fleet. Fuel is burned inefficiently with multiple halts and the sheer amount of mass the vehicle carries. However, some of the most popular commercial vans offer a competitive fuel rating by clocking in 11 to 30 kilometers per litre of fuel.
"Automated vehicle technologies and autonomous vehicles have enormous potential to help our customers drive more safely, facilitate mobility, and reduce the environmental impact of traffic congestion,” says John Cangany, Ford Motor Company's safety and sustainability communications manager.
Modern commercial vans also come with the latest safety features. Business owners can expect rear-view cameras along with driver and passenger air bags. Trailer-hitch assist and stability control systems help in towing applications. Lane-keeping alert systems alert drivers in case they unknowingly drift from their lane. Back-up and perimeter alarms along with anti-theft systems are also installed.
Commercial vans today are designed to be highly comfortable for drivers and passengers. Despite their size, they can be as easy to drive as a car. Modern interiors enable drivers to have everything they need within reach. Adjustable seats and steering vehicles provide the most ergonomic position for different people who may drive the same vehicle.
The modern vans also feature upgraded stereo systems which use voice-activated technology to control the radio, cell phone or even the navigation system. Assuring comfort for the employees maximises their productivity on the job, and eventually results in high employee retention.
Commercial vans are a profitable investment that substitute the usage of traditional pickup trucks. They bring in considerable reduction in the project costs at any jobsite, while boosting efficiency and productivity in operations. Modern cargo vans are approximately priced from Rs.15 lakh, and can go up to Rs.30 lakh when fully equipped.
Businesses can buy such vehicles with Flexi Term Loans for business which can help them fund and manage their ad-hoc fleet requirements.
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