The continued strong economy means the trucking industry is running into back ordered parts on a regular basis, said David Dabasinskas, parts marketing manager at Southport Truck Group, a Freightliner Elite Support dealer.
“We are constantly measuring inventory to increase critical parts before there is a shortage situation,” he explained.
The company has made investments in additional inventory and inventory systems in the warehouse to maximize accuracy, employing set delivery routes that run multiple times a day, including late at night.
Southport uses the CDK Dealer Management System and other software tools that track parts in the warehouse to help make sure inventory is accurate in real time.
Meanwhile, Johan Agebrand, director of product marketing for Volvo Trucks North America, said the company works closely with its dealer network to ensure parts availability for customers by having a high volume of parts stocked on dealers’ shelves.
The OEM offers a full line of Volvo Genuine Parts, ranging from fuel and oil filters to factory fill fluids and painted replacement parts. Parts are distributed for the North American market through regional distribution centers using expedient transport methods.
“In the world of uptime, having the part you need at the dealer is critical to providing the best possible service,” Agebrand said. “Having dealer on-shelf availability is managed using the same advanced forecasting software that is used for the distribution centers, which helps to maximize parts availability that is managed in collaboration with the dealer networks.”
Similarly, Laura Bloch, assistant general manager of operations for Paccar Parts, said the company “works very closely with our supply base to deliver first time fill. We provide each supplier with part number level forecasts to enable them to plan effectively for our demand.”
The company employs a supplier management system that provides key performance indicators and early warnings on emerging issues, so they can be addressed before they affect the fleet customer. Parts are stocked using a regional distribution strategy, placing parts close to the dealers and customers who will need them.
“Suppliers know that when they work with us, they have access to a distribution network that will provide the best possible support and uptime to our customers,” Bloch said.
Paccar is the parent company of Kenworth Trucks and Peterbilt Motors. Brad Johnson, national sales manager for Kenworth Trucks, noted the company purchases its replacement parts exclusively from trusted sources that are tested for quality.
“We rely on input from fleets and dealers and factor in the make and model of their trucks to determine the parts needed,” added Mark Santschi, fleet services director for Paccar Parts.
For added inventory management, Paccar Parts uses the Managed Dealer Inventory (MDI) program to increase efficiency and supply-chain performance. MDI launched in North America in 1998 as an inventory planning, forecasting, and replenishment system to help Kenworth dealers streamline operations and manage their inventory more effectively. MDI provides predictive inventory management from order to retail consumption and employs software combined with a collaborative process between Kenworth dealers and Paccar Parts.
Elsewhere, Mack Trucks only goes to market through its extensive dealer network. “Using this channel is not limiting though,” stressed Roy Horton, Mack director of product strategy, “since the options for customers are many. They can locate Mack dealers via the Mack website. They can visit these locations in person, place phone orders, or leverage Select, which is the Mack-branded eCommerce platform that provides customers with 24/7 access to the parts they need to keep their trucks running.”
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This article originally appeared in the January 2019 edition of Fleet Owner magazine. You can view the digital edition here.