Buying in on productivity
Productivity. It’s one of those esoteric words that can be difficult to put a dollar value to when talking about pickups.
But it’s the new buzzword manufacturers like Ford throw around as much as towing capacities and fuel economy when touting their new trucks.
There’s a certain amount of hype there. But there’s also a lot of truth, and buyers stepping into new trucks should pay closer attention to innovations that increase productivity when shopping for the next addition to their fleet.
That’s because even though it’s tough to attach an ROI to innovations, such advancements do help the annual bottom line.
Take the aluminum body on the 2015 F-150s for example: It shaves hundreds of pounds off the curb weight and in doing so increases towing and payload capacities. Can you put a dollar value on owning pickup that can tow or haul more?
Then there’s the power-locking tailgate that also has a remote release. It’s a standard feature on the high-end F-150s that opens and softly drops the tailgate with a push of the key fob button. Does that increase productivity?
What about the hidden tailgate step on the new F-150s that also incorporates the assist handle? The step pulls out from the top of the tailgate when it’s open, and the grab handle is also hidden inside for easy deployment.
Let’s not forget the electronic side. The rearview camera on Ford’s new pickup has a dotted “sight-line” that helps the driver put the hitch ball directly under the trailer coupler every time. Does that improve productivity?
How about the built-in inverter that delivers 400 watts of power when the truck’s sitting still and 300 watts when it’s moving. Can you put a monetary value on that 2015 F-150 feature?
Can you put a dollar value on the LED tailgate light that illuminates the area around the hitch, or Ford’s side-mirror “puddle lights” that swivel outward to be used like mini flood work lights?
Time is money in the blue-collar world.
The way I see it is any innovation that a pickup manufacturer offers that saves the driver time, reduces the chances of accidents or injuries while using the vehicle, makes the mobile office more efficient, or in some other fashion helps get more work done faster adds money to the company’s bottom line.
So when Ford, Ram Truck and GM say their newest models help the owner “work smarter” or “increase productivity,” I see it.