ATLANTA. As Class 8 orders remain elevated – they exceeded 40,000 units in February, according to analysts – truck maker Navistar is seeing “fairly equal and constant” for both sleepers and daycab models, according to Michael Cancelliere, the company’s president of truck and parts.
“We’re also seeing customers spec’ing a lot of safety equipment, with fuel efficiency remaining a hot topic,” he explained to Fleet Owner here during a press conference at the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) 2018 annual meeting. “And with the driver shortage situation currently being experienced by the industry, there is more focus on getting a truck that appeals to them.”
Cancelliere added that Navistar’s heavy focus on vehicle uptime plays into that as well, as a driver’s time is now more fixed due in part to the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate that went into effect last December.
“This focus we have on uptime; it’s not new to us or to the industry, but the urgency for uptime is far greater now,” he said. “It’s not just about improving the planning for scheduled maintenance it’s about better handling for unplanned maintenance as well. With [truck] capacity now more limited, a vehicle up and running on the road is making more money for the fleet and the driver.”
Parts availability an important piece of that uptime puzzle, Cancelliere said, and it’s one reason why Navistar is revamping its Fleetrite private parts label operation and its ReNEWed remanufactured components business.
“Uptime is at its heart really all about parts and service – it’s about closing the support loop between the customer and the dealer,” he said.
Josef Kory, Navistar’s senior vice president for parts, noted that ReNEWed and Fleetrite offer in combination more than 100 product lines, giving customers alternatives when it comes to repairs and maintenance, lifecycle value, and total cost of ownership. “Our parts business has delivered double digit growth over the past five years, and much of that success is due in large part to our commitment of providing customers the right products to support our dealers' and customers' needs,” he said.
Currently, the OEM offers over one million parts through seven distribution centers located around the U.S. that support its network of 700 International Truck-branded dealership locations.
Navistar is also “re-branding” its ReNEWed remanufactured parts business with a new logo that will debut later this spring and is planning to add more products to its lineup this year, Kory noted – starting with the OEM’s 2015 model N13 engine and the 2010 through 2016 models of its I6 engine, as well as expanding its portfolio of remanufactured electronic components such as engine control modules, instrument clusters and body controllers.
Fleetrite is also expanding with addition of a comprehensive all-makes radiator and surge tank program. Added to its all-makes collision parts program launched in early 2017, the Fleetrite private label parts band now offers product coverage for 24 makes and models covering 80% of the vehicles on the road, Kory said, with future efforts focused on adding bumpers, hoods, grilles and headlights to its portfolio to keep help customers lower their operating expenses.
“We’re also using our OnCommand Connection [telematics] system to provide terabytes and terabytes of data to us to improve our products,” he added. “We’re using that data to help us forecast what kinds of parts are in demand so we can better fulfill our focus on providing access to our stock within 24 hours or less.”
Kory also noted that, earlier this year in partnership with an International Truck dealer, Navistar launched its second Fleetrite-specific parts store in Clearwater, FL, with the company planning to add more stories in 2018 and beyond.
“To supplement our dealer locations, we want to continue to expand our regional and national footprint to ensure we are doing everything possible to meet our customers' needs with increased availability and faster delivery of quality products,” he said.