Heavy Duty Trucking

JUL 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

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48 HDT • JULY 2014 www.truckinginfo.com dealer managed inventory in theory is a great idea. "But if you didn't have a person on the fleet side who is commit- ted to it, it doesn't work. You can put all the electronics you want in play, but it comes back to a warm body to make it work." Consigned inventory is another option some parts distributors offer. The benefits include having replacement products on the shelf at all times and only paying for the part that are used at the time of restocking. "The challenges usually involve consistent tracking and replacement of parts used in a timely and efficient manner," says Vipar HD's Pennig. "Products that involve core-credits can be very difficult to keep accurate count of. Consigned inventory is becoming less common as Internet and e-commerce ordering/purchasing gains acceptance." THE VALUE OF SERVICE VMI is just one example of how the services offered by your supplier need to be considered alongside other parts- buying considerations. River States' Laux says the number one driver of parts purchasing should be availability. "The cost of a truck being down is estimated at somewhere between $500 and $750 a day. If you are able to procure that part the same day, fix the truck and get the truck back up on the road, there is a real value added." According to Yancey Bros.' Terry, most customers tend to focus on the right part, at the right price, right away. "When you start looking at why a fleet should buy from you vs. somebody else, it starts with, how good your people are on the counter? Are they able to identify what you need, source it, and then give it to you at a competitive price?" Terry says. Other things to look at, he says, include delivery, as well as how a supplier handles cores for remanufactured parts. "If you provide a solution and you are fair and competitive in your price, if you offer some things like consignment or delivery and you have got a good approach to how you manage cores on behalf of the cus- tomer, those are some things that have got to transcend the price you are paying for the part," Terry says. Truck Enterprises' Rose advises fleets that when a supplier comes in and says he is going to sell you a part for $10 less, "make sure you are armed with the right questions. How about the training? Do they come on site if you have your own techs and help train them and get them up to speed? If you really want to have all the rest of this quality and service, then there is a cost to that. If you want outside sales people coming to see you and helping you through things, if you want tech and spec [advice] from one of our folks to make sure that you get the right product, it is going to cost you." Wade advises fleets — whether it's a single location or a multi-location fleet — to form relationships with their parts suppliers. "Whether it is a dealer, or an independent or a buying group, it does not matter," Wade says. "What really matters is that you develop that relationship, because anybody will sell you an AA part on Wednesday at noon. You want the guy who will bust his butt to find you an obscure part on Saturday morning or Sunday night because you have a truck down." Choosing the right parts supplier and building a strong relationship with them is paramount to running an ef- ficient fleet, according to DTNA's Tuomi. "Not only can a reputable supplier help choose the right parts for fleets, but they can also alert customers of new parts, mainte- nance, or savings programs that will help to lower the total cost of ownership down the road." When choosing a supplier, Velocity's Cueto says it's all about uptime. "Fleets need to pick a parts supplier that is going to give them the maximum amount of uptime. They need to keep the trucks on the road. If they save $5 on a $100 part but that part fails, it isn't worth it because they lose $700 when they are down." n Parts-Buying Practices You need to have a relationship with great parts availability. If for some reason they don't have the part in stock, you need to know how quickly they can get it to you. "You can put all the electronics you want in play, but it comes back to a warm body to make it work." – Ted Rose, Truck Enterprises Inc.

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