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Good, better, best parts—finding what fits your needs

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Jason Morgan is the editor of Fleet Equipment. He has more than 14 years of B2B journalism experience covering the likes of trucking and construction equipment, real estate, movies and craft beer industries.

The array of aftermarket part options runs the quality gamut from “it’ll work” to “it’ll last.” To determine the right part fix for your job, Corneliu Bogdan, Eaton’s director of aftermarket product strategy, recommends looking a few key metrics.

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“The age of the vehicle and the expected retention period for the asset has to be taken into account when making a good/better/best buying decision,” he said. “Most aftermarket suppliers offer a range of product that can satisfy these needs; however, we find that most often the upfront cost tends to drive purchasing decisions vs. the life cycle needs of the vehicle.”

The Good/Better/Best decision isn’t one that can be made broadly. It often is determined by your fleet’s approaches to vehicle retention, resale and in-house vs. dealer service.

“In emergency truck down situations, for example,” began Tracy Royal, Daimler Trucks North America’s (DTNA) director of aftermarket supply chain, “decisions to use alternative parts such as an all-makes equivalent may also be made to achieve uptime. That said, a parts supplier’s ability to anticipate part needs can potentially reduce emergency down situations and provide the service manager more part options.”

Remember that there’s a difference between value and price. The part you’re replacing is part of a total cost of ownership equation and that needs to be considered when making your stock decisions.

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“Safety is always a critical area,” said Todd Shakespeare, director of parts marketing for Mack and Volvo Trucks. “If the part being replaced is tied to safety, then a high-quality part is critical. Total repair cost is another area: If the tear down effort is large, then it might be worth investing in a higher quality part in order to ensure longer life expectancy.”

Read our full story on reading the data tea leaves to streamline your stock here.

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