There was some good news about uptime in the fourth quarter of 2021: Miles between breakdowns were at their highest level in two years, according to the Decisiv/TMC North America Service Event Benchmark report. But the not so good news? During Q4 2021, labor and parts costs increased 2.7%.
In fact, they were up 8.8% year-over-year. Most commercial vehicle repairs occurred in their power plants (36.8%), followed by exhaust systems (14.9%) and brakes (5%). Supply chain issues and inflation are the likely culprits for these increases.
The increased cost of parts means that it’s more important than ever to buy smart to ensure you are getting the parts you need when and where you need them. Start by leveraging the relationships you have with your long-time suppliers. Analyze your parts spend with each of your vendors to see which ones you are spending the most with and have conversations with them about how you can get to the top of their list of priority accounts.
Beyond that, consider expanding your traditional network of parts sources. Contact distributors outside your normal area to see if they have the parts you need. Even if they don’t deliver, it might be worth driving a few extra miles if you can get a needed part.
Another good option is online parts sellers. Ecommerce sites tend to have both wide and deep parts inventories and you may have succuss locating parts through these sites. Choose sites that specialize in medium- and heavy-duty truck and trailer parts because they are likely to be able to provide you with any technical assistance you need in securing the right part.
Consider switching to private-label parts—especially for older assets. These parts usually fall in the “good” level of a good-better-best scale and are well-suited for assets you’ve had to extend the life of because of current supply chain shortages impacting new vehicle production.
Experts are predicting that supply chain shortages will continue throughout the year which means it’s unlikely parts pricing will come down. However, by leveraging existing parts suppliers and expanding your parts purchasing network to include online parts vendors you can help minimize parts costs.
David Seewack is the founder and CEO of FinditParts. Seewack is focused on transforming how heavy-duty truck and trailer parts are bought and sold. Founded in 2010, FinditParts is the No. 1 supplier of these parts online, with more than 10 million available from more than 1,800 manufacturers and customers in over 210 countries.