Ford Work Solutions – the Job Just Got Easier

February 6, 2008
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Sure, your neighbor may be nothing more than an urban cowboy, using that big F-Series pickup to haul the family and an occasional load of lumber, but the vast majority of truck buyers actually use their rigs for work. And Ford is rolling out a series of new tools, collectively known as Ford Work Solutions, to help make the job a little bit easier.

“It’s not just about selling trucks,” explains Mark Fields, Ford’s President of the Americas. “It’s about offering solutions.”

The various options being introduced include a system to ensure you’ve always got the right truck for the job. Another make it easier to manage a small business while on the road. Then there’s a new system to protect your tools on a job site.

Building on the new Sync infotainment system, Ford will launch a new mobile computing package that eliminates the need for contractors to haul around a laptop computer. The system replaces the conventional navigation screen, built into an F-Series instrument panel, and adds a downsized keyboard. There’s even an optional, built-in printer, notes Fields, to make it easy to print out a work order or invoice in the field.

The system uses a high-speed mobile access card, provided by Sprint, to access the Internet. Special software allows a user to seamlessly link into their home or office computer files. And a version of the software under development will even permit a user to play music files stored on a remote computer.

The Navi doesn’t go away. In a first-of-its-kind team-up, Ford will feature a Garmin navigation system in the Ford Work Solutions computing center. Hands-free Bluetooth cellphone capability is also part of the package.

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Another high-tech Solutions package is dubbed Tool Link. It uses the same sort of RFID – or Radio Frequency Identification – system popular at stores and supermarkets. Small tags can be attached to a user’s tools, from hammers to chain saws. A pair of sensors are then mounted, one on each side of the pickup bed. When it’s time to go to work, a user can call up a pre-programmed list of tools, and Tool Link will let him know if they’re all on hand. At the end of the day, the system also ensures that everything you bring goes back home.

A more low-tech solution is dubbed Cable Link. It’s a retractable, 8-foot cable that can be attached to a portable table saw, for example, or some other piece of gear, making it difficult, if not impossible, for the tool to be stolen.

“Theft is something our customer doesn’t have to worry about,” explained Fields.

Yet another package is a truck identification system, which will allow fleet managers to locate each of their vehicles and quickly figure out which is equipped and ready to handle a new job.

While the Ford Work Solutions packages are being launched with the latest F-Series update, company officials say they intend to make as many of the new packages as possible available for trucks already on the road.

2009 Ford F-150 Preview by TCC Team (1/13/2008) Making the best better?

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