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Trailer manufacturers challenged by material supplies, pricing, staffing

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Jason Morgan is the content director of Fleet Equipment. He has more than 15 years of B2B journalism experience covering the likes of trucking and construction equipment, real estate, movies and craft beer industries.

According to this quarter’s issue of ACT Research’s Trailer Components Report, component and material availability continue to be a significant problem for trailer manufacturers, and the issue is widespread, not contained to any small group of parts and materials.

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“In addition to supply-chain constraints, workforce availability and reliability are both mentioned as challenges for trailer OEMs,” said Frank Maly, director–CV transportation analysis and research at ACT Research. He explained, “And, while parts availability and staffing considerations are impacting OEM production, they are also challenging to aftermarket channels.” Maly added, “Reports of sidelined equipment, both power units and trailers, due to a shortage of replacement parts, are being heard. Sometimes that’s due to widespread availability issues, but sometimes it’s because parts have been re-directed to the production side of the business and away from aftermarket support.”

ACT Research’s U.S. New Trailer Components and Materials Forecast provides those in the trailer production supply chain, as well as those who invest in said suppliers and commodities, with forecast quantities of components and raw materials required to support the trailer forecast for the coming five years. It includes near-term quarterly predictions for two years, while the latter three years of the forecast are shown in annual details. Additionally, analysis is segmented into two categories: those needed for the structural composition of new trailers and those used in the production of undercarriage assembly.

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“We’ve learned about additional industry production capacity under development, but in the meantime, OEMs remain reticent to fully open their 2022 orderboards,” Maly stated. “We expect them to carefully manage their order acceptance over the next few quarters, as they continue to face unusually long backlog-to-build ratios.

“Price increases for components and materials have meaningfully impacted the market in 2021 and will likely continue to do so in 2022. Many OEMs have had to re-negotiate pricing on previously accepted orders with fleets, implementing either price changes or material surcharges during the year. Sometimes, given their extended backlogs, OEMs returned to their customers more than once for these adjustments, additional reasons for manufacturers’ current caution.”

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