March 22, 2022
BY BEAU BECRAFT
Following a successful week in Indianapolis for the annual Work Truck Show, Knapheide brought “the show” back home to the parking lot of its Quincy, Illinois headquarters with an on-site display of the products featured at this year’s event.
“The purpose of the parking lot exhibit is to bring the NTEA booth back to Quincy for all internal personnel to see,” said Product Strategy Manager Haily Meyer. “It allows us to get customer-facing personnel up to speed with the new products and accessories we showed at the event and serves as a refresher on existing products. It also gives internal teams the ability to see what our finished product looks like when it is completed, mounted on trucks, and ready to be put into use by our customers.”
The showcase also provides an excellent educational opportunity for employees who are new to the company, allowing them to familiarize themselves with Knapheide’s extensive product lineup in a hands-on capacity.
“After touring the parking lot exhibit with Haily, I can confidently say that there is so much value in this display and this tour,” said Communications Specialist Dori Bramer, a new employee at Knapheide. “I learned so much about our products, the features on each unit, the customer and vocation that each truck can serve, plus so much more. Going into this tour, I explained to Haily that I really didn’t know anything about our trucks. He then tailored the tour to me, a new employee with limited knowledge, and gave me a very detailed, yet simplified, explanation of each unit. I walked away from this tour with a newfound confidence in my knowledge of our Knapheide product line.”
Knapheide’s accounting team helps with finished goods inventory annually, but very rarely does the group get to see the trucks in their final form. According to Accounting Supervisor Melinda Hoener, a display like this helps the team better understand what the inventory in the yard will look like as it is delivered to the customer.
“We constantly see all of the suppliers and short descriptions of parts on invoices, but never really know what they physically look like and what functions they serve on the finished products/upfits,” Hoener offered. “From a cost accounting perspective, the more familiar we are able to get with the function, form, and fit of the products, the better. We are constantly analyzing bills of materials to understand the costing structure and see if there are errors in how we are reporting our inventory costs. So, having that physical interaction with the product gives us a much better understanding of how everything works together.”
In the Shipping and Receiving department, the International/Navistar MV electric truck was of great interest.
“There was a lot of buzz, no pun intended, about the electrical vehicle,” said Shipping and Receiving Manager Ryan Blue. “This generated a lot of questions about range and durability of the electrical components. My team also thought the removable 5th wheel option was a neat feature. Overall, they really enjoyed the opportunity to see the finished products.”
For those who work on the manufacturing floor, they see the components of each body in their rawest form, but rarely get the opportunity to view the finished product that is the end result of their efforts.
“It is great to see the finished product,” said Nathan Housewright, an assembler on the production floor. “I also enjoy looking at the trucks at the annual employee picnic. It’s crazy how much stuff they can fit inside of these bodies. I also like to look at the different ways people trim the units.”
The sentiment was shared by Housewright’s colleague, Will Friday, another assembler on the shop floor.
“It’s always nice to see the finished product,” Friday offered. “I thought it was interesting to see the variety of uses the bodies have in the field.”
The distributor services department also found the display incredibly informative during their time on the tour.
“It really helps us in seeing what we’re selling and how the bodies fit up on the chassis, especially the 48” or 60” tall bodies on a particular chassis. They look a lot better on the bigger trucks than a 40” high body,” said Sales Correspondent Jane Gardner. “I also hadn’t seen the Turnoverball system, so this was actually beneficial to see it as well.”
For Gardner’s colleague, Inside Sales Correspondent Laurie Walters, seeing the trucks up close and learning more about the bodies themselves, she now feels more comfortable and confident when speaking with her distributor clients when they’re seeking specific products.
“Getting to see the finished bodies and all the features and options we offer is very helpful and helps in speaking with the distributors intelligently and understanding what they are searching for,” Walters noted.
Throughout the multi-day display, Knapheide’s numerous internal departments enjoyed getting a closer look at all 12 vehicles from a variety of manufacturers all upfitted with various Knapheide bodies.