Guest Column

Truck Parts & Service Staff September 1, 2012

Dumb and Dumber


By John Bzeta

Fleet Brake

As I write this article, I do so in front of the mirror, as I should be listening to what I am saying. I have been fortunate to meet and visit with several of my peers over the years at industry events like CVSN, HDDC, HDAW and many others. Unfortunately, the topic of conversation invariably becomes a discussion of what I call, “the race to the bottom.”

Many of us understand this contest as a competition on who can give away heavy-duty parts the cheapest. Enabled by volume-driven manufacturers and complicite distributors, this is a race that all contestents lose.

Everyone reading this article is guilty of participating too often in this less than desirable race.

My concern is that the independent aftermarket is falling into a trap of making this part of its culture. This slide is a result of our vendors (dumb) and ourselves (dumber) focusing on volume and low-hanging fruit.

Too often our manufacturer reps and our own sales associates focus on the top 50 part numbers in our industry.

This results in a pathetic and depressing game that starts with distributors attempting to get a lower and lower price from suppliers.

Statements like, “I need an edge,” “I want maximum rebates,” “Put me on the same level as the OE,” “I will give you all my business,” “Why can my competitor sell at my cost?” echo through industry boardrooms like a reccurring nightmare.

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