Heavy Duty Trucking

OCT 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

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www.truckinginfo.com OCTOBER 2014 • HDT 69 The 556 fleets that participated in the study take into consideration a variety of factors when choosing value line products. "While the age of the vehicle is important in the fleet's decision," Blodgett says, "it is really more about where the vehicle is in its life cycle for that particular customer. If a fleet that turns its trucks every five to six years only has one year left on that vehicle and knows when it goes to resell the vehicle it isn't going to get any more money for the truck because it has a particular brand widget on it, the fleet is more likely to consider a value line product." OEMs aim for bigger piece of parts pie The fact that fleets are holding onto their trucks longer is one explanation for the growth of OEM all-makes programs. "It used to be that major fleets turned their trucks in three or four years," says Dan Bambrick, private brand manager for Road Choice. "That has changed over the last few years, and now fleets are keeping trucks for as long as eight years. That means there is more oppor- tunity to sell parts that may not be genuine OEM parts." One of the advantages of an all-makes program, ac- cording to Bambrick, is it provides mixed fleets with a one-stop shop for their parts needs. Being one of the later entrants into the all-makes parts market, Road Choice avoided the mistakes of some of the earlier entrants, Bambrick says. "The Road Choice brand is not what a lot of people refer to as a white box program where you have a cheap part, put it in a box, slap a label on it and try to sell it. There is more to our program," he says. "The parts are good quality parts that are value priced over premium products and typically come with a one-year warranty, although some have extended warranties." Bambrick says Road Choice (which is owned by Mack) continues to build its product portfolio. "We are looking for more maintenance-type products like batteries. And we plan to introduce fan belts, wheel seals and bearings, radiators and brake shoes soon." Fleetrite is growing its product line as well, and according to Navistar's Cancel- liere, in 2014 alone the company has added 20 new product lines, with another 25 planned for inclu- sion in 2015. "The real growth in the parts business is to reach customers who don't run our trucks or buses. They all have batteries. They all use fluids. They all have HVAC systems. They all have wheel ends." The Fleetrite line is focused on what Cancelliere calls highly used products. "We asked ourselves why fleets weren't buying these products from us — oil, coolants, DEF — and the answer was because we didn't offer them. But by offering these types of products we position ourselves to get a greater share of the addressable all-makes parts on a truck." While he acknowledges that there are gaps in the Flee- trite, line especially in the driveline and engine compo- nents arenas, "we feel good about what we've done in the wheel-end area in rounding out the product offering." That achievement was aided in part by the launch and sub sequent folding of Navistar's PartSmart product line, which was started in 2009 and was of- fered through mid-2013. "Navi- star learned from the PartSmart experience how to properly execute a private label go-to- market strategy," Cancelliere explains. "One of the things we learned from PartSmart was that if you're going to offer a private label product, you need to have the breadth and depth in the line [the PartSmart Fleets need to do a risk-cost-benefit analysis when considering switching from branded to private label parts. "It is really more about where the vehicle is in its life cycle for that particular customer." – John Blodgett, MacKay & Co.

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