Sourcing Parts During Supply Chain Issues

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Fleets, owner/operators, and truck repair shops struggle to find replacement parts needed to keep their trucks running and earning essential revenue. The world blames the covid pandemic and its ensuing difficulty keeping workers and resulting shortages of raw materials for manufacturing vital truck components required for transportation of consumer goods.

Semiconductors and sensors are crucial items for keeping trucks mobile. In fact, most all truck parts are affected, nothing is spared. Freight cannot move when parts are impossible to procure, and that fact leads to rising prices throughout economies. 


Don’t Blame Builders

Manufacturers are not to blame for the parts shortages. They cannot produce parts when raw materials are simply not available. Parts shortages are not just affecting trucks already in service. New truck manufacturers are feeling the pinch of needing components for completing existing builds not yet ready for delivery due to missing parts.

Fleets are experiencing long wait times for such items as engine oil, tires, and even windshield wipers and filters. Some fleets are waiting weeks or even months to get essential items. Whenever possible shop managers need to be placing orders of frequently used items ahead of time in order to keep their trucks profitable. Of course, for unexpected part failures supplies will still be subject to delays. For now, we all face waiting times.

Some truck owners resort to using aftermarket parts in a pinch. A drawback with that strategy is that those parts usually come without warranty coverage. That may seem like a good option but if an owner finds a non-warranty part happens to not stand up in use, it can lead to a need for further repairs without recourse.

If you are searching outside your normal area for parts and you really need to get trucks rolling again, often you will run into a parts supplier who will not sell to you because he or she is saving parts for regular customers. 

There are those who choose to have components refurbished. This is fine for starters, alternators, and even larger parts. But again, you are at risk of these failing prematurely and you end up wishing you had not used them to begin with.

Some drivers even resort to using used parts from a salvage operation. Some are winners, others not so.  If you want warrantee covered parts, be prepared to order with a lead time in mind. A few days’ wait, while worrisome, is the right answer to keep your assets covered. 

Unfortunately, if you are purchasing from a supplier outside your city, shipping issues may also cause delays. Shippers are also experiencing slowdowns in deliveries.

The last thing you want to do is to place a truck out of service for lack of a part. Any truck down even for a few days can cost thousands of dollars in lost revenue. It is time to look at alternative measures to keep your trucks moving.

Strategies for Acquiring Hard to Find Parts
  • Have your parts people get online and search for needed items outside of their geographic area, even across the country. A few days shipping can get a truck earning again and is worth the time.
  • Start looking wherever your trucks run and have your drivers pick up parts and bring them back.
  • Consider refurbishing parts such as starters and alternators.
  • Look to salvage yards to find good used items to get your vehicles back in service.
While you may not like these methods, your business and your reputation for good service may be at risk. Do whatever you need to keep your trucks on the road.
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