Parts procurement may be one of the most challenging issues faced by fleet managers. When choosing parts for repairs or maintenance, you must consider factors ranging from long-term reliability to total lifetime cost. Although it may not always be the most critical factor, many fleet managers may spend too much time focusing on dollar value alone.
Whether you are responsible for procuring parts for a nationwide fleet or a handful of trucks, a few principals always remain the same. Keep reading to discover some of the keys to making cost-effective commercial parts procurement decisions.
1. Consider Labor Costs
You should always consider the cost of labor versus the cost of the part itself. For relatively simple maintenance tasks, part prices are often high relative to labor costs. On the other hand, parts for complex jobs are typically a small portion of the overall cost. Internal engine repairs often require relatively cheap parts, but double or triple-digit labor hours.
For jobs with a high labor-to-part price ratio, spending more money on better parts can reduce your long-term costs significantly. Choosing parts from manufacturers with a reputation for reliability will ensure that your trucks do not face another labor-intensive repair in the future.
2. Evaluate Lifetime Costs
The cost of a part goes beyond the number on an invoice. An oil filter or expendable brake component may last less than a year, while an infrequently replaced internal engine part should last for the useful service life of the vehicle. A relatively small cost difference is less significant for parts with long service lives. Likewise, part reliability matters more if a component should last for years or hundreds of thousands of miles.
For lifetime cost, dividing the price of the part by its expected lifetime in months or years can help you to understand the long-term costs of your parts purchases. When viewed over the life of any given component, relatively small parts differences between high and low-quality parts often become insignificant.
3. Don't Ignore Failure Costs
What happens when a part fails? Minor, non-critical parts are unlikely to take a truck out of action when they fail, but faulty safety components (such as brakes or tires) can create disasters for your fleet. If cost savings are a priority, then focus on procuring cheaper parts for non-critical systems and spend more on quality safety and critical components. Over the long run, this will result in lower overall repair costs.
Although it shouldn't be the only factor you consider when choosing parts for your fleet, price is undoubtedly an essential aspect of any parts purchase. When evaluating the cost of a part for your fleet, always look beyond the initial purchase price to discover its true value.
To learn more about truck parts contact a dealer near you.