Last week I wrote about the humble glass trolley. This week it's the humble van as used by glaziers.
The van is usually the largest asset owned by the glazier, with its primary roles of getting the glazier, the glass, and the glazier's tools from site to site. In our home market the most common van models used by glaziers have been the Toyota Hiace, Nissan Urvan and Mitsubishi L300. In my opinion, and from the perspective of being a glaziers van, these vans have not changed dramatically in the last 10 or more years â€" there's been some refinements but not huge changes. For the glaziers, each model has various benefits over the others, and each has a share of the market.
I believe that a van purchased by a glazier is due for a much harder life than most vans. Glazier vans tend to carry a lot of weight, and much of that weight is on the van frails rather than loaded onto the floor of the van.
In the last couple of years we've seen a new range of vans enter the market which have significantly different benefits than those offered by the 3 traditionally popular vans. Benefits include longer service intervals for the engine (less time off the road, lower cost of ownership), a nicer van to drive (more car like, more comfort) and nicer looks (less industrial, more up-market, more sexy â€¦). The van suppliers are aggressively selling these benefits and the glaziers are buying them.
The role of the van remains the same â€" to get the glazier, the glass and the glaziers tools to site. In some cases there is more technology required from The Glass Racking Company as the frail suppliers to enable these new vans to carry the required glass load. We move with the times, and we do what's required to get the right solution for the customer.
It will be interesting to look back in five years at what models of vans have been the most successful with the glass and window industry. It will also be interesting to see which models have been the most durable and survived the rigors of the glazing industry. Will it be the tried and proven or the new?