Making the most of CSA
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.
Bill Betts, vice president at Betts Company, says his business has a strong back-and-forth interaction with distributors on dealing with CSA. He says Betts’ network tries to promote compliance in all fleets, and provides information on how to do so.
The best place to find information on CSA is online.
“Next to Google, I think the FMCSA is my most-hit website,” says Fred Andersky, director of marketing and government relations at Bendix. Responsible for keeping up with CSA, Andersky says the Internet has been flooded with information on the topic since 2010.
Most of it can be very helpful, he says, but it’s important to make sure whatever you pass on to customers is correct. It’s very easy to misunderstand aspects of CSA, and Andersky advises always consulting the FMCSA website (http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov) when issues arise.
“If a customer has questions, [the site] is a great place to get some insight,” he says. “It’s the one place with all of the right information.”
It’s also the place to find the customers most in need of your help. All fleet CSA scores are available online through the FMCSA website, with scoring breakdowns by BASIC category and state.