Trailer builders challenged by material supplies, pricing, staffing

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Updated Nov 27, 2021

Component and material availability continue to be a significant problem for trailer manufacturers, and the issue is widespread, not contained to any small group of parts and materials, according to this quarter’s issue of ACT Research’s Trailer Components Report.

“In addition to supply-chain constraints, workforce availability and reliability are both mentioned as challenges for trailer OEMs,” says Frank Maly, ACT director, CV Transportation Analysis and Research.

“And, while parts availability and staffing considerations are impacting OEM production, they are also challenging to aftermarket channels,” Maly says. “Reports of sidelined equipment, both power units and trailers, due to a shortage of replacement parts, are being heard. Sometimes that’s due to widespread availability issues, but sometimes it’s because parts have been re-directed to the production side of the business and away from aftermarket support.

“We’ve learned about additional industry production capacity under development, but in the meantime, OEMs remain reticent to fully open their 2022 orderboards. We expect them to carefully manage their order acceptance over the next few quarters, as they continue to face unusually long backlog-to-build ratios,” Maly says.

“Price increases for components and materials have meaningfully impacted the market in 2021 and will likely continue to do so in 2022. Many OEMs have had to re-negotiate pricing on previously accepted orders with fleets, implementing either price changes or material surcharges during the year. Sometimes, given their extended backlogs, OEMs returned to their customers more than once for these adjustments, additional reasons for manufacturers’ current caution,” he says.

ACT Research’s U.S. New Trailer Components and Materials Forecast provides those in the trailer production supply chain, as well as those who invest in said suppliers and commodities, with forecast quantities of components and raw materials required to support the trailer forecast for the coming five years.

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