Parts – Black & White?

Over the years, mobile service has evolved from emergency breakdowns to becoming the single most effective way to stay current on preventative maintenance and to keep equipment rolling in the field.

An effective sales pitch used by your national mobile competitors is that fleets who don’t use a single source supplier have no way of knowing what parts local providers are installing on their equipment.

The reality is, fleet managers at local levels are typically very much involved with service, especially if a maintenance manager is on staff. If not, it creates the perfect opportunity for you to become their local expert, which includes educating them on what parts they are buying from you or other suppliers.

As owner operators, you are typically very astute at finding the best pricing in the market. If you stumble upon parts 50% cheaper than anywhere else, you need to find out why. It usually means the parts are “knockoffs.”

knockoff (plural knockoffs)

  1. An imitation of something, particularly a well-known product, usually lower in quality and price than the original. 

Many “knockoffs” can actually be high quality, similar to “Up” brands at Target. In fact, Meritor sells a “white label” brake lining product to distributors at better prices, but it essentially meets the same quality standards as their main product line. That being said, some products are not high quality, and it’s your responsibility to recognize them.  If the manufacturer is not familiar to you, ask your supplier who they are and if they’re reputable.  

If you purchase parts from companies like FleetPride, TruckPro, etc., it’s still on you to know what you’re selling. I personally have a real problem with companies that sell to owner operators/independent service providers and compete with them at the same time. FleetPride and TruckPro are aggressively building and acquiring hundreds of service locations throughout North America and they’re using your money to do it. Yuck!

That’s a different article for another time.

As a business person it’s important to understand where you fit in the big picture. Make yourself more valuable by becoming an expert!

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