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With rising parts and labor costs, PMs more important than ever

June 20, 2023
With costs of both parts and labor rising, it’s best to try to reduce the need for unscheduled repairs. Preventive maintenance is increasingly key to mitigate these rising costs.

Given that we are seeing higher prices in our personal lives, no one will be surprised that it is likely that costs for replacement parts pricing will be up as well. MacKay & Co., a research firm specializing in the aftermarket truck parts market, is anticipating a 3.5% increase in the price of replacement parts for trucks this year.

The price of parts is just one element of the parts replacement equation. There is also the cost of labor to install those parts. Fullbay, a company that offers a shop management platform for heavy-duty repair, found that 76% of respondents to a survey raised their labor rates last year.

Faced with both an increase in parts and labor, it's best to try to reduce the need for unscheduled repairs. One good way to do that is to make sure trucks are well-maintained.

Given the supply chain issues of the past several years, many fleets are operating older trucks. Older trucks need more TLC than their newer counterparts, so make sure you schedule their preventive maintenance inspections and service on a schedule that accounts for vehicle age.

The best PM scheduling is done on an asset-by-asset basis and is contingent on the age of the asset, the number of miles driven, the type of duty cycle, and previous repair history. When it comes to maintenance, a one-size-fits-all approach is not the best path.

Equally crucial as scheduling those PM service appointments is making sure the trucks actually come in to be serviced when they are scheduled. Tracking PM compliance is important regardless of the age of a truck but is critical with older assets. One missed PM service could spell disaster, especially if it results in an on-road breakdown because breakdown repairs are the costliest and the most frustrating for drivers and customers.

It's worth spending time reviewing—and, if need be, reworking—the PM schedules for your assets. While there is some expense involved when a truck comes in for maintenance, it is significantly lower than having something go wrong while the driver is on the road.

PM embodies the adage: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Focusing on prevention will help you avoid having to find a cure for an equipment failure.

Jane Clark is vice president of member services for NationaLease. In this position, she is focused on managing the member services operation as well as working to strengthen member relationships, reduce member costs, and improve collaboration within the NationaLease supporting groups. Prior to joining NationaLease, Clark served as area vice president for Randstad, one of the nation's largest recruitment agencies, and before that, she served in management posts with QPS Cos., Pro Staff, and Manpower Inc.

This article originally appeared in FleetOwner.com.

About the Author

Jane Clark | vice president, member services for NationaLease

Jane Clark is vice president, member services for NationaLease. In this position, she is focused on managing the member services operation, as well as working to strengthen member relationships, reduce member costs, and improve collaboration within the NationaLease supporting groups. Prior to joining NationaLease, Jane served as area vice president for Randstad, one of the nation’s largest recruitment agencies, and before that, she served in management posts with QPS Companies, Pro Staff, and Manpower, Inc.

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