Heavy Duty Trucking

OCT 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

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70 HDT • OCTOBER 2014 www.truckinginfo.com making substitutions or telling us it is the same as." Crowley acknowledges that in some situations fleets may be drawn to private label parts. "If a fleet is trading in a bunch of tractors and has to replace brakes before the trade, they are going to look for an economy brake. They are suitable for that tractor, but if the fleet is not going to be running that truck for another three years, it might choose a different product than the fleet or operator who has to make a living with it tomorrow." His advice to fleet maintenance managers is to make sure they know the actual source of product that is in the private label box. "Make sure you know what you are buying. Make sure you are buying from what you know is a trusted source. Make sure you get all your questions about the part answered before you install it." He adds, "I don't care what you save on a part, that savings is gone if the part caused downtime for the driver, caused a CSA viola- tion or just caused the truck to go out of service early." Tina Alread, director of sales and marketing at HDA Truck Pride, reminds fleets of the old adage, "quality, price, availability; pick two because you can't have all three." She encourages fleet managers to ask themselves "are you more concerned about the risk, the quality, the price or vehicle downtime." She adds, "I know fleets are always looking for ways to save money. Their fuel costs and tire costs have done nothing but go up so they try to save money somewhere else. But to save a little money, is it worth the risk of the product not performing to expectations? "I don't think it is worth it. But fleets need to do a risk- cost-benefit analysis and figure it out for themselves when deciding if they want to go the private label route." Bill Wade, managing partner, Wade & Partners, stressed the importance of the fleet's relationship with its supplier in the parts buying decision, "I think more and more people are reluctant to give up an extra five here or five there. As a friend of mine says, 'It is easy to find prod- ucts at 20 off, but what happens when you've got a truck down on a Saturday night? Try and find the guy who sold you the part at that price.'" He says fleets are looking for real value from the parts they buy and the suppliers they buy them from. "Real value is a product of a quality part, quality service and a reason- able price. Fool's value is just dependent on the price." n line did not offer this]. If a customer wants to do a brake job you want to make sure they can buy all the components they need to complete that brake job from your value line product," he says. Those value line products typically can save customers 10% to15% with equivalent func- tionality to OEM and branded product lines, Cancelliere says. "Customers are looking for value. They are looking for ways to make their money go further. But they also want quality. We want to have an offering that meets OE specifications yet also offers customer a greater value at a lower price point. We did not want to sacrifice quality, because anybody can sell anything for cheap." Ray Addison, manager of aftermarket marketing com- munications for Daimler Trucks North America, creator of the private label Alliance Truck Parts, agrees that quality is key. "In the bewildering array of aftermarket parts, the source and quality of what comes out of the box can mean a significant difference in performance and durability." He adds, "When a truck is down, it's costing the owner more than just the money to repair it." Alliance, formed in 1998, focuses on frequent-replacement parts that drivers need to keep their trucks in service. "Fleet owners know that lower quality parts have shortened lifespan and there- fore require frequent replacement." Do you know what you are getting? Many in the independent aftermarket believe that pri- vate label programs are not necessarily good for fleets. "We see many instances in these programs where they represent a part as being the same as [a branded part] but they are not," says Steve Crowley, president of Vipar Heavy Duty. "Because it is a private label, the product in that box can change at anytime." What this means is fleets may not know what to expect in terms of performance or life cycle. "They may not even know if the part is suitable for what they are trying to do," he says. Crowley believes the Great Recession caused a lot of fleets to depart from their standard operating proce- dures "and do things they normally wouldn't do looking for ways to lower their operational costs." However, he currently is seeing "a pretty hard rush back to known brands." In fact, many fleets are telling Vipar Heavy Duty distributors "we do not want substitutions on our parts or- ders. And we would consider changing sources if you start The private label parts equation "In the bewildering array of aftermarket parts, the source and quality of what comes out of the box can mean a significant difference in performance and durability." – Ray Addison, Daimler Trucks North America "I don't care what you save on a part, that savings is gone if the part caused downtime for the driver, caused a CSA violation or just caused the truck to go out of service early." – Steve Crowley, Vipar Heavy Duty

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