Fleets should swerve main dealers for parts

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 15:00
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OPTIONS: Fleets have a choice, claim Intertruck

Ever-increasing pressure from CV operators demanding less expensive parts – delivered with an exacting service – means fleet managers are trapped in an ongoing parts supply debate.

Ed Pedder, of Intertruck, argues there is a growing need to balance the views of CV manufacturers – that to source genuine OE-quality components, an organisation must purchase from the main dealer.

Here is his take on the matter:

When a fleet operator, whether large or small, needs a replacement part for a vehicle, invariably the first requirement is that the component must be ‘fit for purpose’; thus must be of Original Equipment (OE) quality.

It is a general assumption by many that to truly be OE quality, the component must be sourced directly from the vehicle manufacturer’s main dealer.

However, it is the OE parts manufacturer not the vehicle manufacturer that specialises in the design, development and production of that high quality component or system.

Indeed, those parts are not only available to the vehicle manufacturers for fitment on the assembly line but also for sale in the service and replacement market as well.

So, while vehicle manufacturers’ brands undoubtedly offer a degree of familiarity and security, the main dealer is not the only answer for most aftermarket customers.

Within the current market, there are few operators that will run single badge fleets.

Therefore, sourcing parts from a range of individual manufacturers’ main dealers will involve the complexities and associated costs of dealing with multiple suppliers.

In choosing a parts supplier, operators are looking for a one-stop-shop company that can support and service the needs of their business, with an all-makes proposition for trucks and a similar parts programme for trailers.

Therefore, the advantages independent distributors provide fleet operators in terms of product range and availability mean they offer a choice and a total solution package often commercially unrivalled by the main dealer.

As has already been highlighted, the technical expertise lies with the OE parts supplier, which, in turn is sold onto the vehicle manufacturers.

In order to ensure the commercial viability of the company however, the parts manufacturer also needs to make the products available to the aftermarket.

To achieve this effectively, they have to enlist the distribution services of the independent distributor.

As a result, we are totally confident about the integrity and OE pedigree of our product portfolio, as we deal directly with these leading OE suppliers.

Therefore, in most instances, we can supply the exact same parts you would buy from a main dealer.

In the past, the independent sector has been accused of offering lower standard products, sometimes called ‘spurious’ parts.

It is an issue that needs to be taken very seriously and education of the market must continue in order to ensure customers are fully aware of it when making the purchasing decision.

Independent distributors need to ensure that fleet operators are fully aware that the parts purchased are being produced using the same quality materials and engineering – backed by the manufacturers’ warranties – from OE suppliers.

The only difference is that it is at a more favourable price on most occasions, just without the badge on the box.

When it comes to purchasing aftermarket parts, main dealer or independent distributor is a question that continues to be faced by commercial vehicle fleet managers.

I think that the answer is clear-cut, with the independent sector offering a number of significant benefits, ensuring that fleet operators are presented with a choice, whilst still enabling them to enjoy a better service.

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