EZ STAK takes the stress out of designing and building mobile workspaces

Part 1:  Designing and Building Mobile Trailers

When it comes time for a utility company to replace a mobile support trailer, there are two options.

  • Option one: Buy an empty trailer and take it to several different upfitters to install what they need in it.
  • Otion two: Choose one upfitter who will not only supply the trailer but also everything that goes inside, from the storage to the HVAC to the electrical to the power supply.

 

The challenge with option one is caused by having multiple upfitters install separate components, as they might not work together seamlessly, and if issues arise, each upfitter may point at the other as the culprit. With option two, however, those problems don’t come into play because there is only one upfitter working on the project.        

Surprisingly, there are only a handful of ‘one-stop-shop’ trailer upfitters out there, and EZ STAK is one of them.      

One of the reasons why EZ STAK has been so successful in this niche market is due to the company’s consultative process, says Paul Lawrenson, EZ STAK’s director of business development. “Fleet managers usually know they need a trailer, but there are a lot of moving parts to the process,” he says. “So when the opportunity arises, we roll up our sleeves and get in there. We take the time to understand what the trailer is going to be used for, who’s going to use it and what it’s going to be carrying. We think about weight and power capacities as well as tool requirements. We also consider what kind of vehicle is going to be towing it and what kind of climate it’s going to be working in. We put a lot of thought into ergonomics and safety.”

K-Line Group: One trailer, many moving parts  

In the summer of 2016, K-Line was ready to convert their 22-foot trailer into a mobile workshop, but they ran head-on into one a familiar problem: trying to buy components from different suppliers and make them fit seamlessly together inside a single trailer.    

“They were going to try to piece together their own trailer with toolboxes, shelves, a workbench, cabinets, from one of these industrial catalogues,” says Lawrenson. “And when I met with them, they were getting frustrated and didn’t know how they were going to lay it out.” So, I offered to take the dimensions of the trailer, along with all of the users’ input, and come back with a three-dimensional concept of his recommendations.  

And what he came back with was a concept of a trailer with fully-insulated and polyurethaned walls and ceilings, an electrical panel and shore power capabilities, and a long maple workbench where K-Line could mount a drill press and a vice. It also had drawer units, overhead cabinets, closets with perforated doors and even a whiteboard in the office area near the front.      

According to K-Line’s fleet manager, K. Wetzel, they really liked what they saw. “So I said, ‘Look, we don’t want to just provide the design and the cabinets, we want to do the job, too,’” says Lawrenson. “‘We want to take delivery of the trailer, do the work, and send it back to you ready to put to work in exactly the way you need it.’ And they thought that was a good idea.” 

But first, Lawrenson reviewed K-Line’s needs again with Wetzel and the various user groups at K-Line to ensure they’d all be happy with the final trailer. They came back with a few minor tweaks that included the addition of a couple of doors and a change to the depth of the drawers to accommodate all of their tools. They also added racks in the back to secure tanks, fuel cans and a generator.     

With the final design in hand, the EZ STAK crew got to work at the company’s facility on the outskirts of Kingston, ON. As with all of their projects, they used EZ STAK’s own standardized products, including cabinets and drawers made of lightweight and high-grade aluminum. These drawers also come with heavy-duty ball bearing drawer slides and the company’s EZ Latch mechanism, which allows technicians to easily open a drawer with one hand.

Ten days later, the trailer was ready for delivery to K-Line. Wetzel and his team could not have been happier with the final result.

In a written statement, Wetzel said, “We weren’t sure how we would design the layout of our mobile work trailer, but EZ STAK helped us lay out and utilize every inch of space. We were amazed and ultimately very pleased with the quality and workmanship of their modular interior storage solutions. Would we recommend EZ STAK? Absolutely.”

It was a successful project for a number of different reasons, says Lawrenson. “We worked well with the customer and were adaptable, especially with a user-supplied trailer — which always means you have to be a little bit nimbler than if we were to supply the trailer. It also showed that we can hit tight deadlines. Ten days is pretty quick, but we had a lot of the components ready to go ahead of time, so it wasn’t too much of an issue.”

Download PDF version:

Photos of Kline Trailer

 

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Optimizing your Mobile Workspace

Finding time to get the job done efficiently is a never-ending battle. History has been inundated with cookie-cutter solutions to problems that are not “one size fits all”. As the world continues to enhance, so do the specific needs of your day-to-day work tasks.

The need for unique designs is becoming more prevalent in all aspects of life and business. Consider your cell phone, once a small screened device used for making phone calls is now a multi-faceted mini computer ready to follow your every demand.

The key to success lies in the ability to make your work day as efficient as possible. To ensure your next vehicle upfit is ready for the job, consider the following:

1. What are your Current Challenges?

What are the challenges you are facing with your fleet? Be sure to obtain feedback from your end users, drivers and field technicians. Whatever challenges the team is facing, make a list of improvements you would like include in your “ideal” mobile workspace. Some challenges to think about:

  • Experiencing heavy payload with your vehicles?
  • Can’t find your tools and equipment easily?
  • Unable to store your uniforms and safety equipment?
  • Cabinets/drawers opening during travel?
  • Shelving/closets sagging or bending due to weight of equipment?

 

2. Is your upfit partner known in your industry? 

There are many manufacturers and upfitters to choose from, so how do you select the right one? Based on the challenges you listed above, research and select your top three potential partners for further consideration. Before moving forward ask yourself:

  • Are they familiar within your industry?
  • Will they work with you through your specifications, design, and budget?
  • Will they point to a catalog and say pick one?
  • Or will they take the time to listen to your wants & needs to provide a configurable solution?

 

If you uncover that the potential upfitters you chose are not a good fit, go back to the drawing board. Find a partner that will work one-on-one with you to develop a configurable storage solution that suits how your team works in the field – nothing less.

3. Configuration is Key

What’s important to remember is that no two fleets are exactly alike and each vehicle is suppose to fit the end-users day-to-day job.  Configuring a design that is based on the work-flow of your end users will make a big difference in terms of efficiency and productivity. To properly configure your layout consider the following:

  • Is your end-user in and out of the vehicle all day?
  • Do they need to grab equipment from the rear or side doors of the vehicle?
  • What equipment do they need to store and access most?
  • Can they quickly and easily find equipment and tools?

 

You may have one, or a multitude of challenges that can be solved through a custom-designed interior workspace. From size, to layout, to special features – configuration is key and there are partners out there who will deliver the right solution for your fleet.  

EZ STAK has been in business since 1998 delivering configurable fleet solutions for any vehicle.

EZ STAK provides aluminum interiors and turnkey solutions for any vehicle in the utility, construction, oil & gas, and communication industries.  Whether you are looking for a full electrical installation, interior cabinets, or a custom service body drawer, our design team will work with you to make sure your needs are being addressed down to every inch and dollar.

Call Paul Lawrenson at 630-944-3300 x207 or send us an email to get started.

How to Plan for Your Next Vehicle Upfit

Depending on the size of your fleet, it can cost tens of thousands of dollars to upfit your trucks, trailers or vans with storage units and interiors. You need to know that your upfit will suit exactly how your team works in the field. So how do you do that? Plan properly.

1. Know What You Need

The first step in planning for an upfit is identifying how and where your vehicles will be used.

“Think about weight requirements, equipment requirements, electrical and power needs, and the space and size of the vehicle,” says Paul Lawrenson, EZ STAK’s Director of Business Development. “If it’s going to be used in rural Illinois versus downtown New York, well then you have more space to work with.”  

Then it’s a good idea to meet with the people in the company who will actually use the vehicles. Since some may use those vehicles every day, those user groups will likely have the best idea of what’s needed. Plus, with that initial buy-in the likelihood of later displeasure is greatly reduced.

2. Find Your Upfitter

Though there are relatively few companies out there specializing in vehicle upfits, no two are exactly the same. And some will be more attuned to your needs than others.

“When you’re looking for an upfitter, what’s important is the stability of the company,” says Lawrenson. “Have they been around for a while? Have they done projects like yours? You want to make sure their business is sustainable and that they can handle large projects.”

Some can’t even handle the financial side, adds Lawrenson. Find out if that’s true with the upfitters you’re considering by speaking with their past customers. They should also be able to tell you about the quality of the products, warranties and service, and how the upfitter handled customization requirements and timeframes.

 3. Stay in Touch

If you’ve done your homework and found a capable company that’s designed an upfit that works for you, you should be good to go. But remember that the process from initial contact with an upfitter to fleet delivery is a long one. A year in some cases. Stay in touch to make sure you get exactly what you want.

Even after you’ve signed off on a design, it’s a good idea to make sure timelines are being met and that you get answers to new questions or ones not previously addressed.

Remember, too, that needs can change in a year. You may be able to make tweaks to a design in the early stages of the manufacturing process. Having open lines of communication makes this easier.

Photos of Vehicle Upfits 

EZ STAK may just be the upfitter that works for you. Visit ezstak.com or call us at 630-994-3300 to find out how we make upfitting your next vehicle EZ.

 

EZSTAK Introduces Lifetime Warranty

(Schaumburg, IL – October 19, 2017)

EZ STAK customers have always told us that they believe our products are the highest quality on the market. Now we are backing that up with lifetime warranties on most newly purchased products.

That means that when a customer makes a purchase, they can be assured that if they remain the original owner, EZ STAK will fix or replace the product for free if it ever becomes defective due to materials, workmanship or manufacturing. In short, as long they own the EZ STAK product, it is covered by our warranty.

“We’ve always talked about the fact that the quality of our products can’t be beat, but customers want proof, not just talk,” says Mike Lawrenson, EZ STAK’s president and CEO. “The lifetime warranty is just that. Our customers now know that we’ll stand behind our products for life.”

While the lifetime warranty will be particularly appealing to new customers, it will also be welcomed by those who know EZ STAK’s products well, says Paul Lawrenson, the company’s director of business development.

“Based on our customer surveys, we know our customers choose to return to us because they believe our storage solutions are best in class and stand the test of time. Now we’re backing up that level of confidence with the lifetime warranty.”

For the full details of the lifetime warranty, including what’s covered, what’s not and how to make a claim, click here: Full details of the new limited lifetime warranty.

 

Download the PDF version:

For more info, contact:
Andrew Kole, Controller
EZ STAK INC.
550 Albion Avenue,
Schaumburg IL 60193
630.994.3300
Andrew@ezstak.com

Media Inquiries:
Lisa Miller, Marketing Manager
EZ STAK INC.
550 Albion Avenue,
Schaumburg IL 60193
630.994.3300
lisa@ezstak.com

About EZ STAK

  • Founded in 1998, EZ STAK is an industry-leading manufacturer of storage systems for work trucks, service bodies, vans and trailers.
  • Its durable and lightweight aluminum products create organized, efficient and secure mobile workspaces.
  • All products are made in North America.
  • Customers include municipalities in the U.S. and Canada, as well as large corporations in the utility, telecom, cable, oil and gas, and construction industries.

 

 

Help for Hurricane Harvey victims

Join us in supporting the recovery efforts.

Aid agencies are working around the clock on the Gulf Coast right now, and they need our help more than ever. In Houston alone, over 180,000 homes have been badly damaged, and almost 5,000 people are still in emergency shelters. EZ STAK is supporting, through monetary donations, Rapid Relief Team USA so that essential supplies could be delivered to the victims of Hurricane Harvey who need them most. We encourage you to do the same.

The Rapid Relief Team is an international organization that works with teams of volunteers to deliver aid during natural disasters and other life crises. In hardest hit areas, they’ve been distributing thousands of refreshment pails filled with much-need supplies like water, snacks and soap.

To support their efforts, visit myevent.com/rapidreliefteam.

3 More Ways You Can Help:

  1. Support the United Way of Greater Houston’s Relief Fund by visiting unitedwayhouston.org/flood/flood-donation or by texting UWFLOOD to 41444.
  2. Give to the Houston Food Bank, where every $1 provides 3 meals.
  3. Donate to the American Red Cross so that its teams can continue working day and night.
    Please include their logos or images if you can just to give some visual relief to the page.

3 reasons to come see us at ICUEE

The EZ STAK team will make its return to the International Construction and Utility Equipment Exposition (ICUEE) in Louisville, Kentucky and we have 3 reasons for you to stop by and see us at BOOTH 2839.

Set for October 3 – 5, ICUEE is the premiere tradeshow for the utility industry in the United States. Held every two years, it’s where utility professionals go to learn about the latest and greatest technologies, innovations and trends affecting their industry.

Demo Trailer

Underbody Drawer

Service Body Drawers


Reason #1: Take a tour of a work-ready trailer

Let us show you how to make your fleet work-ready. On October 3rd and 4th at 10am, we’ll offer tours of one of our work-ready trailers. These turnkey mobile workspaces are designed to suit exactly how your utility team works in the field. So whatever your storage needs are, or if you need a workbench, HVAC or even a power supply, we’ve got you covered.

Reason #2: Looking for exterior storage space?

We’ll also have one of our lightweight aluminum underbody drawer units onsite for you to check out. Designed for walk-in and van interiors, these drawers provide ample storage on the exterior of your vehicle while protecting your equipment from the elements. And like all of our products, these have, on average, a 12-year life expectancy.

Reason #3: Need help organizing your tools?

You need a service body drawer system. These stacked drawers are uniquely designed to fit any service body. Plus, we make them with aluminum or galvanized steel and heavy-duty ball-bearing drawer slides, meaning they’re tough and durable enough to organize all of your parts and tools.

Need more reasons to visit us at ICUEE?

  1. Book a one-on-one consultation with Paul to discuss your next trailer upfit.
  2. Meet the EZ STAK team to talk about an upcoming storage need: Paul, Calvin, Ashlie and Lisa
  3. Say thanks for the discount! Get 35% off the tradeshow registration fee by using the promo code 9guj88 when you register online.

3 Reasons to Choose Aluminum Over Steel for your next vehicle upfit solution

When picking a material for your vehicle’s storage units, there are typically two choices: aluminum or steel. For EZ STAK, though, it’s usually a no-brainer — aluminum wins, hands down. “This isn’t to say steel doesn’t have its perks (in fact, we sometimes use it),” says Paul Lawrenson, EZ STAK’s National Fleet Manager, “but we prefer aluminum over steel for three reasons: it doesn’t corrode, it’s lightweight and it’s durable.”

Reason 1: Aluminum Doesn’t Corrode

Aluminum’s biggest plus is that it doesn’t chip or rust, even after long, continual use or exposure to the elements. “And you don’t even need to treat or paint it to avoid that corrosion,” says Lawrenson. The reason: its surface is protected by a natural layer of aluminum oxide, which prevents the metal below from coming into contact with air and oxygen. With steel, however, you do need to paint it — especially if it’s being used in a moist, damp or abrasive environment — because it doesn’t have that protective layer.

Reason 2: Aluminum is Lighter than Steel

Another big advantage of using aluminum is that it’s up to 40 per cent lighter than steel. This is why aircraft are usually made from aluminum. It’s also why EZ STAK uses it: with lightweight aluminum drawers, cabinets, shelves and other storage products, your fuel costs are lower and your payload is lighter. “A lighter payload is especially important these days, because there’s a push for companies to go to smaller vehicles to fit in crowded urban centres,” says Lawrenson. “Plus, with lighter vehicles, special licenses aren’t needed for a company’s drivers.”

Reason 3: Aluminum is Durable

Just because aluminum is lighter than steel doesn’t mean it can’t take daily abuse. In fact, aluminum is more dent resistant and more resilient. When both are pushed to the same dimensional extremes, steel cracks before aluminum. “So when you combine aluminum’s durability and rust-resistant properties, it looks better than steel and lasts longer,” says Lawrenson. No wonder, then, our customers find EZ STAK’s aluminum storage units last, on average, 12-plus years.

Moral of the story: If you want a storage solution that last longer, reduces your costs and looks good, you better go with aluminum. Find one that works for you by checking out EZ STAK’s aluminum storage units.

 

PHOTOS OF INSTALLS

EZ STAK’s new Work-Ready Trailer demo brings something new to NTEA

(Schaumburg, IL) –The recent Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, Indiana, March 15 – 17, drew big crowds – all wanting to see what was new and different in the industry. And EZ STAK’s work-ready mobile trailer delivered….

It was the first time EZ STAK showcased a fully-powered mobile trailer at an event like this, and it didn’t disappoint, according to the EZ STAK team on the ground and rave reviews from show attendees. Featuring a power generator, storage cabinets, shelving, lockers and a 6-foot-long counter, the work-ready trailer was built using only North American high-grade aluminum interiors. That means it’s lightweight, durable and ultra quiet in transit.

This was EZ STAK’s 4th year at the three-day show hosted by the National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA), and once again it was a premiere showcase of the latest and greatest products and services for the fleet industry. The largest work truck event in North America,

drew over 500 exhibitors, with over (can we update these for actual facts/numbers?) 12,000 attendees who came to see the industry’s newest products, participate in industry-focused training courses, and network amongst suppliers and customers.

“Visitors to the booth were truly impressed with the trailer,” says Paul Lawrenson, EZ STAK’s Director of Business Development. “With the maximize storage capacity and a highly organized layout, it is an ideal workspace for mobile trades and services.”

The trailer wasn’t the only eye-catcher at the booth. EZ STAK revealed its new branding as well. In the works since late 2016, the new look includes a more refined and refreshed logo, brightened brand colours and a custom-designed workspace environment. The workspace was designed with a mix of modular components to showcase the range of storage system solutions EZ STAK offers its various fleet customers. Attendees raved about spotting the 15-foot high orange tower from afar, and the bright orange bar tools were a booth favourite.  “We knew our new branding had to deliver some punch in our new booth design. Our 15 foot tower served us well as a beacon to attract so many booth visitors – it led them right to our new trailer demo, which was truly unique and very popular” says Lisa Miller, Marketing Manager at EZ STAK LLC.

Alongside the trailer and that new workspace, the company also featured a service body drawer. EZ STAK designs their service body drawer units with adjustable sliding tops so that they can be installed on any service body. They can (is this an optional feature not standard?) also come with mounting feet to raise the unit if need be, and because they’re made with aluminum or galvanized steel and heavy-duty ball-bearing drawer slides, they are tough and durable enough to last  – on average, more than 12 years!  Organizing the parts and tools of any service fleet truck was never more EZ.

“We made great connections at the show, and we’ll return to NTEA in 2018,” says Lawrenson. “It’s a great opportunity to network and learn about upcoming trends and product development within the industry.”

Click to learn more about our Service Body Drawers and Work Ready Trailers

Pictures from NTEA

EZ STAK Delivers Mobile Workspace to ComEd Ahead of Hurricane Season

June 1st marks the beginning of hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean, and even though Illinois’ location means that a full-fledged hurricane rarely hits, its utility companies still have to be prepared for major outages. ComEd, the largest electric utility in Illinois, knows those storms well and knows it needs organized, dependable response vehicles that are always ready to roll.

The Problem                                                                                                                                                                                         ComEd needed EZ STAK to upfit a 28-foot-long logistics support trailer with power, heat and air, and a workspace with organized storage areas. And they needed it fast. A project like this typically takes a year to complete. This one had to be done in half the time to be ready for hurricane season. Plus, ComEd needed it to be built tough enough to withstand daily abuse.

The Solution                                                                                                                                                                                         From the beginning, EZ STAK kept in close contact with ComEd, making sure they knew precisely how ComEd would use the trailer. Once they had their answers, they created a custom, 3D model of the trailer. ComEd loved the design, especially the tough, lightweight aluminum cabinets. So, EZ STAK got to work, bringing in its most experienced technicians to deal with the complex electrical requirements and to make sure the trailer would be done on time.

The Result                                                                                                                                                                                               EZ STAK not only hit the deadline, they came in a week early, ensuring ComEd had plenty of time to have the trailer serviced and stocked by June 1st.

“It’s a really good example of what we can do,” says Paul Lawrenson, EZ STAK’s National Fleet Manager. “It displays flexibility, it displays listening to the customers, it displays working in a tight timeline and it displays familiarity with a heavy-use market. You have to build stuff strong enough to withstand that use, and we did that here.”

 

Let’s discuss how EZ it is to spec your next trailer upfit solution. Call Paul Lawrenson at 630.944.3300 or click to send an email.

Let’s Build a Trailer

 

 Click to download the PDF version

Photos of the ComEd Trailer

‘Tis the Season

It’s the festive season and we at EZ STAK would like to take a moment to extend our good wishes to you – our valued customers. It’s a busy time of year for everyone but it is our hope that the excitement of the holidays and the spirit of goodwill finds its way to you and yours.

With this in mind, our family-based business whole-heartedly decided to support causes that make a difference in our local communities this year. In recognition of our Canadian customers, we have chosen the University Hospitals Foundation Kingston, which supports and reinforces excellence in health care services to over 500,000 residents in the Kingston, ON. Funds raised support programs, research, education and purchase state-of-the-art equipment.   In particular, we will be supporting the efforts of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Centre at Hotel Dieu Hospital where patients receive specialized care on the road to recovery and assistance in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Closer to our Schaumburg, IL roots in the United States, we will be contributing to the C.O.P.S. Foundation. The Concerns of Police Survivors remembers the sacrifices made by law enforcement officers who have given their life to protect our way of life. C.O.P.S. provides financial assistance to the families and offers hands-on programs to help spouses, children, siblings and co-workers rebuild shattered lives. Programs are free for survivors to attend and are held in a relaxed setting to help them on their journey of grief and coping.

It is our privilege to be able to contribute to these charities and reminds us that we are grateful for the efforts these – and other worthwhile organizations – provide throughout the year.

Once again, we wish you all things bright and merry this holiday season and extend best wishes for a healthy, prosperous and joyful new year.

Happy Holidays from the EZ STAK Team 

 

About University Hospitals Foundation Kingston 

hospital-foundation-kingston

The University Hospitals Kingston Foundation was created in 2005 as the joint fundraising arm of Hotel Dieu Hospital, Kingston General Hospital and Providence Care. On July 1st, 2014, UHKF amalgamated with the foundations at each of the hospitals, creating the new UHKF organization, responsible for fundraising, granting, distribution and reporting.

In May 2014, UHKF became one of the first 100 Canadian nonprofits and charities (and the sixth hospital foundation) to receive accreditation through the Imagine Canada Standards Program. This program is designed to demonstrate compliance with 73 industry standards in five key areas: board governance, financial accountability and transparency, fundraising, staff management and volunteer involvement.

See how donations have had an impact for 2016

www.uhkf.ca

 

About C.O.P.S.

c-o-p-sC.O.P.S. was organized in 1984 with 110 individual members.  Today C.O.P.S. membership is over 37,000 survivors.  Survivors include spouses, children, parents, siblings, significant others, and affected co-workers of officers killed in the line of duty according to Federal government criteria.  C.O.P.S. is governed by a National Board of law enforcement survivors.  All programs and services are administered by the National Office in Camdenton, Missouri.  C.O.P.S. has over 50 Chapters nationwide that work with survivors at the grass-roots level.

www.concernsofpolicesurvivors.org