Making the most of CSA
It’s been more than two years since the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) launched its groundbreaking Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) program. Designed to improve safety on roadways nationwide, the program works by grading all commercial fleets and their drivers on seven safety improvement categories called BASICs.
Fleets and drivers receive points every time they fail to abide by a BASIC rule; and a fleet or driver’s score can only go so high before they are fined or forced to stop working.
While more than half of the BASIC categories relate specifically to the driver and his mental and physical health, the final three — Vehicle Maintenance, Cargo-Related and Crash Indicator — fall squarely into the realm of the aftermarket.
This is an area you can capitalize on.
The best way for fleets to avoid high CSA scores is to prevent violations from occurring. Fleets are doing that by upgrading preventive maintenance plans and using higher-quality components.
You need to sell them those components. CSA has provided your business an opportunity to increase parts sales and service in an effort to improve on-road safety. The program affects all of your customers, and the only way they can survive it is to invest in your services.
By researching CSA and understanding how it relates to your customer base, you can improve your sales and service numbers and keep your customers in business.
A good first step in taking advantage of CSA is to become an information provider.
CSA is an extremely detailed program, one that’s not easy to master. Even more than two years after its introduction, the program continues to puzzle fleets nationwide.
If you can prove yourself a reliable interpreter of the material, fleets will look to you for advice and guidance on how to keep their BASIC scores low.
This isn’t easy, says Randy Luthe, heavy-duty product manager at Six Robblees, but it is a way to create a strong and beneficial relationship with your customers.
“It’s extremely tough to understand it all,” he says. “At the surface it can look pretty simplified but once you dig in it gets a lot tougher. There are so many levels and so much to learn.”
Reaching out to your OE suppliers can help a lot. Most OEs are well aware of CSA and its impact on the industry. Some offer classes on understanding the program, while others provide advice on how to market CSA-related components.