Smaller trucks, big opportunity
Adds Messina: “We take a proactive stance — inventory isn’t a bad word, it’s something we need. We have to carry a lot of product lines because we have to get that truck on the road. You can’t tell a guy with two trucks he has to wait a month for a part.”
David Segal, president at Sanel Auto Parts, says once you enter the medium-duty market it’s not that much different than the heavy-duty market. After you’ve created your inventory, it’s just a matter of proactively managing it for your customer base.
“You have to make a long-term commitment,” he says. “It’s the same commitment you have to make with heavy-duty. You have to commit to learning the industry.”
Cancelliere says Navistar stresses researching the market to its dealers. Knowledge is a vital aspect to managing a medium-duty parts inventory.
“We encourage dealers to not look at just turns, but also have a broader parts inventory that might not turn fast but is always available,” he says. “It’s all about having the parts on the shelf.”
Servicing the medium-duty customer base also gives aftermarket businesses opportunities to work together to complete service requests.
A medium-duty customer may rely on a distributor for specialty components but rarely will have the staff on hand to install what it purchases. In those situations, distributors can direct their customers to service providers they have a positive relationship with or trust to get the job done.
This is good for both businesses bottom line.
Parrott says his business sells medium-duty components to a variety of service providers and can direct customers to repair facilities. At Blue Hen Spring Works, Thompson says his service department tries to stock as much as possible, but won’t hesitate to contact dealers or independent distributors when it needs a component.