Photo: Neil Abt/Fleet Owner
A 'pop-up' store from Alliance Truck Parts on display at a media event in California.

Daimler outlines plans to further speed repairs, expand parts business

July 18, 2018
Daimler Trucks North America outlined plans to continue speeding repairs, and updated its efforts to gain a larger slice of the parts segment.

YOUNTVILLE, CA. Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) outlined plans to continue speeding repairs, and updated its efforts to gain a larger slice of the parts segment.

Maintenance issues are certain to arise over the life of any truck, said Stefan Kurschner, DTNA’s senior vice president of aftermarket. What makes the service difference is how quickly that vehicle gets back on the road, he added.

During an aftermarket-focused event with North American journalists on July 17, Kurschner announced DTNA would launch the Service Tracker smart phone app on Sept. 1.

It offers “complete transparency in the repair process,” Kurschner said. Five fleets are already using the app as part of a pilot program, allowing them to see the repair status of nearly every truck in real time.

Kurschner also announced DTNA will open its 10th parts distribution center (PDC) next year in Phoenix. The company already can deliver parts to 80% of its dealerships in 12 hours or less, meaning an order placed as late at 4 p.m. will arrive by the next morning. The newest location will bump that percentage up to 90%.

In May, Daimler opened its ninth PDC just outside of Des Moines, IA. Kurschner hinted studies are underway for its next center, likely to be strategically located in Canada.

The faster deliveries are part of DTNA’s effort to complete any regular maintenance service request in less than 24 hours.

More than half of dealers are already achieving that level of service, and Kurschner called it a “feasible goal” to see this happen at all Freightliner and Western Star dealers. It is being accomplished in part through advancements in the Uptime Pro system, which uses historical data to more quickly diagnose the root cause of any maintenance issue.

Beyond the repair process, Kurschner said DTNA’s Alliance Truck Parts unit was taking steps to better position itself as the “leading brand for value parts.”

The unit is launching several Alliance-branded parts stores within dealerships, as well several stand-alone stores. Alliance is also modernizing its website and mobile app, offering more photos and detailed information to make the order process easier.

Ten new product lines have launched in 2018, including steel wheel and steering gears. An estimated 80 more will be offered in the next 12-18 months.
John Finn, director of aftermarket marketing, said Alliance is working to find the right mix of product offerings for its customer base. The aftermarket parts sector is a $30 billion annual business, and Alliance is partnering with "experts in the retail environment" as it expands its presence.

Brad Williamson, manager of Alliance, said the phrase “value parts” does not imply “a race to the bottom.” Instead, Alliance views it as “customer-expected quality.” He noted if a vehicle owner knows the lifespan of the truck is only five more years, the best choice for a replacement part is likely not the top-of-the-line brand built to last many more years.

About the Author

Neil Abt

Neil Abt, editorial director at Fleet Owner, is a veteran journalist with over 20 years of reporting experience, including 15 years spent covering the trucking industry. A graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., he began his career covering sports for The Washington Post newspaper, followed by a position in the newsroom of America Online (AOL) and then both reporting and leadership roles at Transport Topics. Abt is based out of Portland, Oregon.

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