11 Tips Security Integrators Need to Consider for Next Work Vehicle

Here’s an example Jamiesons’ A/V new work vehicle that can help security systems integrators be more efficient.

“The new layout gives the technician a very strong visual as to what is on the truck. Milk crates and cardboard boxes have been used forever, inefficiently. I want them to be able to look at labeled cabinets and drawers and be able to determine if it needs to be reloaded before they head out to the job. You can’t have everything you need every day because every day is a surprise, but I want my guys to be over-equipped versus under-equipped,” he says.

The flip side to that is that you also don’t want too much inventory on the trucks.

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“I would watch guys overload their trucks with an item that we tend to run out of. They could be complacent … I don’t want a vehicle that offers so much space that a technician can put too many of a particular item on the truck. The goal is to have them re-inventory their trucks on the daily basis for the pieces and parts,” says Clark.

4. Needed to be Secure: Sadly, security of the vehicle is a big concern. Jamiesons’ A/V technicians always carry cordless drills, routers, network switches, access points and expensive remote controls. Thus, the new Sprinter has lockable cabinets on the street-side forward.

“I wanted make sure that things that were valued over $100 were in some sort of a locking cabinet,” says Clark.

Another high priority is a central locking system.

“It’s amazing how many times over the years I have walked on to jobsites and discovered that our guys had the cab locked up but have forgotten to lock the sliding side door or one of the back doors. They could be in the attic or basement while another trade is outside in the driveway cleaning out our truck,” comments Clark.

So the new truck has the ability to lock every door with a single button. Clark says he can picture the average integrator “blowing off”
the need for certain features to save costs, but he thinks that would be a mistake.

“A central locking system is about $250 on most vehicles. That’s the same cost for a cordless drill that just got stolen off your truck. In the long run, it is foolish not to have these things. On any given day, we have at least $5,000 on a truck. HDMI cables alone can be $1,000. Routers, network switch and access points are expensive too,” he notes.

5. Powered Mirrors: “Too many times I have had to pull over and reach over to the passenger side to adjust the mirror,” recalls Clark. But to get powered mirrors on at least one other vehicle he looked at, he would have had to buy $1,400 in options that “meant nothing to me,” he says. The fact he could individually select the powered mirror option was another selling point for the Mercedes.

6. Backup Camera: Clark says he “absolutely had to have a backup camera” on the truck. “Backup cameras are not expensive, but all I have to do is back up [just once and not] bump another vehicle and that just paid for the camera,” he surmises.

7. Bluetooth Phone: Installers are constantly on the phone, usually with the office. “I want their hands on the wheel,” says Clark as why it was a priority for him.

8. Fuel Efficiency: As mentioned, going from 10 mpg to more than 25 mpg will save thousands in gasoline costs every year.

9. Space for Spools of Wire: Ten years ago, an integrator was basically bringing 2-conductor, 4-conductor wire and coax cable to a job. Today, it’s routine to bring everything from multi-conductor wire for control systems to Cat 5, Cat 6, RG-6, plus multiple types of speaker wire. So Jamiesons’ A/V needed to be able to have its trucks shelved in such a way to accommodate all of those options.

“We almost always carry spooled boxes of cable onto jobs,” notes Clark. “We needed shelves to accommodate those spools and they needed to be deep, so we went a little bit wider with the shelf depth on one side of the truck. For example, our 16/4 wire comes in a deeper box than what our 16/2 wire comes in. We didn’t want to stack them in a pile in the truck. The new shelves are adjustable and don’t require a tool set so if we change suppliers or if the vendor changes box sizes, it’s easy to handle.”

The solution was the street side of the vehicle’s interior was set up to handle the wire.

10. Need to Carry Ladders Inside the Vehicle: It might seem like an odd requirement, but when you operate your custom installation business in a place like Ohio that experiences its share of crazy weather, the last thing you want to do is waste time brushing snow off or drying off rain from the ladder so you don’t mess up the interior of a client’s home.

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About the Author


Jason Knott is Chief Content Officer for Emerald Expositions Connected Brands. Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990, serving as editor and publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He joined CE Pro in 2000 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of that brand. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He has been a member of the CEDIA Business Working Group since 2010. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at [email protected]

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