At Heavy Duty Aftermarket Dialogue, just before Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week, a panel of truck part distributors, truck dealers and service centers took to the mic to talk about how the heavy-duty truck aftermarket is evolving.
• Market experiences so far in 2020: Overall, all the panelists noted that the market softened in Q4 of 2019 and continues to flounder so far in 2020. The truck market overall is a $31 billion industry.
• Independent service aims to keep up with truck technology: Growing a training library and taking it online for additional training connections, was a big focus. One panelist noted that the standard distribution model has been challenged heavily and more truck parts locations are leaning toward service. Additionally, uptime and pro-active communication are key to delivering service value to the market. Manufacturers and vendors are necessary for product support and training.
• Technician training: It’s difficult to train technicians in the shop when business is coming in. The expense to send technicians out to get them to training is substantial, “but if you can get them out of the shop for about three days that’s about the sweet spot between them learning and then them looking to get back home,” according to Greg Klein, president and CEO, Inland Truck Parts.
• Finding technicians: Spend the time up front to get the right techs and then invest in them so that they want to stay with the service operation. Service centers look toward schools and training facilities for recruitment.
• Parts brands: According to a Vipar Heavy Duty brand study cited by Chris Baer, president and CEO, 85% of its distributors are still selling “premium” brands. “While every store isn’t the same, we lead with premium brands.”
You can listen to the entire panel here:
The panel included:
• Chris Baer, Pres. CEO, Vipar Heavy Duty
• Ryan Hadley, VP of Parts, Premier Truck Group
• Greg Klein, Pres. CEO, Inland Truck Parts
• Tom Wiers, CEO Owner, Wiers Fleet Partners
• John Blodgett, VP, Sales and Marketing, MacKay and Co.
• Tim Kraus, Pres. COO, Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association