News Analysis: Transportation

Sales Report: A Look at Glass Transportation Trends and Developments

Despite the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many glass and glazing companies have stayed busy. This has resulted in strong sales for companies that sell glass racks, among other glass transportation trends.

Staying Busy

“What we’ve noticed is a relentless and unending demand for glass trucks,” says Paul Schodorf, vice president of sales at Schodorf Truck Body & Equipment of Columbus, Ohio. “It hasn’t slowed down at all.”

Whether companies spent much of the past year meeting demand for sneeze guards and dividers in commercial spaces or new windows and shower doors in homes, glaziers throughout the U.S. have found ways to stay busy. This has translated to some companies needing extra help and extra vehicles to transport glass to jobsites.

“We haven’t seen a shortage in equipment purchases since probably June,” says Michael Frett, sales director for MyGlass Truck of Glassboro, N.J. “It’s been steady for most of the year after we recovered from the down spot in April and May. While everything slowed down many companies had enough backlog to keep us going through that period of uncertainty.”

John Weise, president of F. Barkow in Milwaukee, says his company also experienced a busy year in 2020 as the residential market boomed and commercial business remained steady thanks to longer lead times.

Vehicle Types

Frett says there hasn’t been strong demand one way or the other for vans and pick-up trucks, though geography does play a part. He explains that vans are more popular in the Northeast and metro areas where people want to protect their tools from snowy weather or theft, whereas pickup trucks are more popular in the South. However, he has seen a rise in demand for medium-sized truck bodies, which can carry more weight than smaller vehicles.

Vans with high roofs are also maintaining their popularity, says Schodorf, who adds that many glaziers prefer to have an interior space to use as a workshop with the glass rack on the exterior of the vehicle.

Weise explains that companies have tried to fit more people into one vehicle in recent years. He’s seen growing demand for four-door crew cab trucks that can fit up to four people. Schodorf also has seen this trend as companies try to do more than ever before. However, trucks have been scarce. Weise attributes this, in part, to a pause in commercial truck manufacturing to focus on ventilator production by GM and Ford. Frett also has noticed a shortage of vehicles. He attributes this shortage to companies such as Amazon, which needed to increase their fleets toward the end of the year to accommodate the increase in package deliveries.

The high demand for new vehicles has led some companies to purchase used vehicles instead due to lack of availability. Schodorf says many companies look to buy vehicles that were used in rental fleets or leased, as they have a reliable service record.

“There’s no shortage of demand for good, used vehicles,” he says.

Some companies have even removed the beds of their pick-up trucks to replace them with 9-foot bodies with new lights on the rear, according to Weise, who says he’s helped with a few of those transitions.

If companies decide to reuse an existing glass rack with a new vehicle, they can purchase additional hardware from the respective glass rack supplier to modify it for refitting.

Rack Improvements

The pandemic hasn’t stopped glass rack companies from innovating. MyGlassTruck has made improvements to make its racks more efficient, such as adding a 30-inch tall front stop to prevent the glass from sliding forward. The company also provides glaziers with the option of choosing a plastic coating on top of the roof rack material to prevent metal from rubbing on metal.

F. Barkow has made it easier for its customers to use straps with its glass racks to accommodate doors, frames or other items they may move using their racks.

“We’re busy and we hope it continues,” says Weise.

Jordan Scott is an assistant editor for USGlass magazine. She can be reached at jscott@glass.com.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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