For the past two years, equipment-related issues have been at the top of drivers’ lists of complaints, according to PDA.
In commenting on data from the second quarter of this year, Scott Dismuke, PDA’s VP of operations, said, “Our equipment data includes tractor issues, mechanical/breakdowns, equipment assignment issues, on-board communication devices, APU/inverters, general maintenance issues, and trailer issues. We believe the increase in mechanical/breakdown issues is tied to aging fleets as a result of supply chain difficulties and companies' ability to get new trucks.”
It's clear that having properly functioning equipment is one of the keys to driver retention. It’s pretty basic: Drivers want to drive, and when equipment fails, drivers get very frustrated. If equipment breakdowns occur with regularity, drivers will look elsewhere for work.
See also: Saving costs when sourcing parts
Parts shortages and supply chain issues have made it increasingly difficult for fleets to find maintenance and repair parts. On top of that, delays in delivery of new equipment means that they are operating older assets that are more prone to break down.
All of these factors coming together are putting tremendous pressure on fleet managers to keep vehicles in top operating condition. Unfortunately, in many cases the fleet’s local parts sources don't have the parts in stock that the fleet needs.
Steps fleets can take to locate the truck parts they need:
- Reach out to dealers and distributors outside your local geographic area.
- Switch from your preferred brand to another brand of the same part.
- Use parts from an OEM’s all-makes parts program.
- Move to a good or better part from the good-better-best product offering of parts manufacturers.
- When parts are available, purchase more than needed to bolster inventory levels.
- Purchase parts from an online parts supplier’s portal.
The parts shortage does not seem like it is going away anytime soon, and while it looks like order boards are open for 2023, many OEMs are indicating that dealers and fleets will once again be on allocation for new vehicles. It’s time to get creative in your efforts to ensure you have the parts you need to keep your trucks running and your drivers happy.
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 SKUs available from more than 1,800 manufacturers and customers in over 210 countries.