Heavy Duty Trucking

JUL 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

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T rucks are on the road much longer than they used to be, and that translates into a greater demand and investment in parts, service, and ongoing maintenance, according to Paul Tuomi, director of dealer and fleet parts sales for Daimler Trucks North America. This makes parts purchasing decisions more important than ever, because purchasing the wrong part, paying too much for a part, or choosing the wrong supplier can have significant consequences. "You need to have consistency [in your parts purchas- ing] out of the cradle or heading into the grave," says Jim Pennig, vice president of business development for Vipar Heavy Duty. "By this I mean you need quality replace- ment parts purchased at regular intervals from a reputable point of distribution." The lowest price for a part is not always the best choice. Factors other than price need to be considered when mak- ing parts purchasing decisions. For instance, lower-priced brake friction may appear to be a bargain, but if it wears prematurely, causes early drum wear, and you have to replace it more frequently, "the parts and labor cost will quickly out run any initial piece parts saving," says Aaron Bickford, aftermarket busi- ness unit director, drivetrain, Meritor. Mike Cueto, director of parts sales and marketing for California-based dealer Velocity Vehicle Group, says fleets "make a big deal out of the price of parts, but parts only represent 15% of their operating budget." He adds, "You can buy something for $10 and it's only going to last a year, or you can buy something for $20 that's going to last three years. You're better off spending the $20." Following are five areas to consider when buying parts for your fleet. LIFE CYCLE MATTERS Whether you choose to stay with the original brand or go with an aftermarket part, purchasing parts properly does not mean buying the least expensive one. It also does not necessarily mean buying the most expensive. Tim Bauer, aftermarket business unit, director, un- dercarriage products at Meritor, says fleets must identify suppliers that have a variety of quality/price levels to offer them without sacrificing safety. "Having a good, better, and best product offering allows fleets to maintain their vehicles properly while balancing the cost of the total maintenance of the fleet" throughout the life of the vehicle, Bauer says. For instance, consider brake life. "When proper brake components are purchased and installed, there can be a savings of hundreds of dollars over the life cycle of the truck due to longer brake life and time between required maintenance," says John Thompson, sales manager, com- mercial vehicle NAFTA, at TMD Friction. However, parts choices may differ based on vehicle age. "If you look at somebody who is trading a truck every three to five years, they are going to use [original equipment Denise L. Rondini • Aftermarket Editor 42 HDT • JULY 2014 www.truckinginfo.com 5 Keys to Best Parts-Buying Practices PRICE IS JUST ONE FACTOR IN THE PURCHASING EQUATION

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