Get 'em out, push 'em out, waaay out!

In spite of his recent troubles and past transgressions, I enjoyed the humor of Bill Cosby for decades. The title comes from one of his routines on child birth where the mother is tired from nine months of pregnancy and the husband is getting into coaching the mother during birth.

When I started traveling globally for business, I encountered hotel rooms in central London that were smaller than the bathroom I used as a child. They managed to pack into that small space a bed, a light, and little else. No place to put my luggage, and a shared bathroom down the hall. Tokyo hotels did them one better. At one point they were offering the equivalent of a roll out casket from a wall as a place to sleep. With the cost of land and everything else in Tokyo, it's not surprising they would give such an idea a try.

Over the last few years, we've seen the iconic vans used by plumbers, electricians, and more change. The RAM van and Econovan have often been replaced by smaller versions that are less expensive for the owner. At the same time we've seen some bigger brothers come out with the Transit and Sprinter. In both cases, space is at a premium as companies work to improve their productivity, especially at the work site.

When I was at the IAA show in Hannover in September, and again last week at the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, I was impressed with the innovations for storing equipment and parts in and on these vans. Aluminum, slides, plastic, quick connects, and more were used to make it easy to find what you need, have a place to work, and do it safely. And the use of wraps on the outside seemed to give me that X-ray vision I wanted as a kid.

It's all about productivity and safety. I saw drawers that can be unlocked with a single hand, then locked open with that same hand. I saw pullouts from the beds of pickup trucks that become work tables for hammering and welding. I saw steps that automatically extend and retract. I saw concepts for automatic storage and retrieval that used to be for large warehouse operations adapted for the small space of an NV200. Not having to jump up into a vehicle saves time and minimizes the opportunity for accidents that cause time-off issues and costs. Having more parts stored in the van than is almost imaginable, can eliminate one or more trips to a parts distributor. That decreases the cost of the job and allows more jobs to be completed in a day. And, that means more revenue and profits for the business.

Far too often, people see that I like technology and ask if that is IT. They don't seem to understand that technology is everywhere, in everything. ITs (not IT) purpose is to make life better, make business more profitable. So, whether it is the latest in GPS tracking, RF remote controls, clean combustion, materials, batteries, or anything, let's get it out, push it out, waaaay out!

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