Volume 34, Number 7, July 1999


Trucks: Demand Exceeds Supply

Purchasers of Glass Trucks are Forced to Forgo Special Features or
Contend with Long Lead Times

by Tara Taffera

A high demand for new glass trucks has caused lengthened lead times. Glazing shop owners and managers who want to purchase such trucks must forgo many specialized features, such as diesel fuel, larger engines and four-wheel drive, or purchase standard trucks on the lot.

Brian Nixon, president of Glass Rack Specialties Inc., based in DeSoto, TX, said lead times are longer than he has seen in a while. He said one of his customers canceled an order for a Ford F250 pick-up truck after the original April delivery date was moved to July, then again to October. "What is available is basically what’s on the lot," said Nixon. According to Nixon, a decent lead time for a specialized order is 8-10 weeks. "I haven’t seen that in a long while," he said. "It’s more like five months."

John Weise, vice president of F. Barkow Inc., based in Milwaukee, WI, has also seen a greater demand for trucks, but not just with specialized orders–lead times for standard trucks are increased as well. "We’re as busy as we’ve ever been," said Weise. He said a standard lead time is 6-8 weeks, but the company is now coping with 10-12 week lead times, particularly with Ford trucks. Weise attributes the backlog to last year’s GM strike which prompted many consumers to switch from GM to Ford. "Many people switched to Ford and discovered that they produce a high-quality product," he said.

Nixon said truck manufacturers are concentrating on cranking out standard, run-of-the-mill trucks. "Most glazing contractors are simply purchasing what is available," said Nixon. But what about the contractors who can’t afford to downgrade? "These are the people who are suffering," said Nixon. "They are forced to cope with the long lead times for specialized orders."

Nixon added that the shortage is having an effect on the way people purchase trucks. Whereas people were once loyal to one manufacturer, they now purchase from whomever can provide the product the fastest. Weise agrees saying people who bought from Ford are buying from another manufacturer because their truck is broken and they can’t afford to cope with long lead times.

Glazing Workshops on Wheels

Remember the last time you acquired a new enclosed glass carrier truck? First you had to get the correct truck chassis that could handle the specialized needs of the glass hauling industry. Then you had to transport the chassis to a glass carrier manufacturer who would design and build the body, glass racks, and the other fittings you needed. All of these tasks took additional time, expense and bother—none of which you can afford in today’s competitive environment.

Well, all that has changed, thanks to the introduction of The Workhorse™ by F. Barkow Inc. The Workhorse offers the best of both worlds—a new GMC or Ford cab/chassis and a fully outfitted 9-foot enclosed aluminum and fiberglass glass carrier body—all in one complete package.

The Workhorse is equipped with Barkow’s popular lightweight, aluminum glass carriers, featuring proprietary STAKE-LOC™ self-

locking stakes and Barkleats® for added security during glass transport. Extra-wide 7-inch ledge boards allow it to be loaded with more glass per trip.

Other features of The Workhorse include: a full height enclosed work body; an extra-wide interior with a workshop including a 6-foot self-storing worktable; storage bins and a 51-inch shelving units; and a translucent roof to let light in.

"Also, our guys really like the air conditioning and the AM/FM stereo," said Dales Adams, owner of Circle Glass in Fairfax, VA.

"We ran out of room at our warehouse, so we have our Workhorse truck filled with tools and supplies," said Sherman Widener, manager of Miller Glass Company in Rolla, MO. "It’s nice to be able to lock it up when we’re out of town or on a job site overnight."

The Workhorse’s aluminum and fiberglass construction means less maintenance down the road. "I like the fact that it’s aluminum," said Widener. "I don’t have to deal with the rust, and it’s much lighter." Adams agreed. "Another advantage of aluminum is that it is not ‘loaded’ before it’s loaded," he said.

The Workhorse owners are also finding value in its "complete package" pricing. "It’s really priced fairly, especially considering the many options that are included as standard in the package," said Widener. "We looked for about two years comparing costs. There simply is no comparison. Buying a truck chassis and getting the glass carrier body built after the fact is definitely more expensive.


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