Not your typical desk job

2009 Ford work trucks allow mobile techs to take the office to the street
By Jenni Chase
July 22, 2008
AUTO : TECHNOLOGY, TRUCKS

Ford Motor Co., Dearborn, Mich., is giving mobile auto glass technicians another reason to love their trucks. With the introduction of Ford Work Solutions technologies, techs will be able to check inventory, receive job assignments, map service routes and print invoices-all from their F-150 pickup, F-Series Super Duty truck or E-Series van.

The 2009 Ford work trucks will hit showrooms this fall, and feature a touch screen in-dash computer with high speed Internet access that lets technicians check e-mail and download files from their shop server. A voice-activated phone allows for speaker phone calls, and the navigation system can look up addresses and receive turn-by-turn directions. From Garmin, Olathe, Kan., the navigation system comes standard with a re-routing feature to help techs avoid construction or traffic congestion and a point-of-interest feature that identifies gas station locations and their respective fuel prices, according to Ford press material. An onboard, Bluetooth-enabled, battery-powered inkjet printer will also be available so technicians can print invoices for customers out in the field.

If a new truck isn't in your budget this year, not to worry. Ford plans to make several of these features available for dealer installation on older model trucks, according to the manufacturer. Customization options The Ford Work Solutions will be available on the 2009 Ford F-150 XL, STX, XLT and FX4 trucks; F-Series Super Duty XL, XLT and FX4 trucks; and all 2009 E-Series vans.

Among the options available to customize your pickup are the nine- and five-slot windshield racks from Unruh Fab, Sedgwick, Kan. Made of lightweight aluminum, the racks do not rust and feature stable hand-lock butterfly locking caps, 1⁄4-inch foam sleeves and 21-inch masts, according to the supplier. For more information, visit www.unruhfab.com.

If you go with the E-Series van, Michigan's Adrian Steel offers its Automotive Glass Repair Interior that includes a glass rack capable of holding up to 11 windshields; a storage station measuring 36 inches high, 12 inches deep, and 42 inches long for supplies like primers, razor blades and power and hand tools; a suction cup holder for vacuum cup storage; and a trim weld storage area. More information is available at www.adriansteel.com.

The author is senior editor, retail and auto glass, for Glass Magazine. Write her at jchase@glass.org