After parts and labor expenses increased 15% in 2022, costs are on the way down, decreasing 1.3% from Q1 to Q2 2023, according to the latest North American Service Event Benchmark Report from the American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council and Decisiv. The report used the top 25 Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standard (VMRS) system level codes.
This is the second straight quarter that parts declined, and the first time in a year that labor costs had decreased. Year-over-year, combined parts and labor costs rose only 5.57%.
Factors for the drop included reduced mileage due to lower freight volumes and the increased availability of new trucks.
“With rising build rates for new equipment and less mileage reducing the need to operate aging trucks, fleets are finally seeing a definite improvement in parts and labor costs,” said Dick Hyatt, president and CEO of Decisiv. “The data that Decisiv collects and analyzes for TMC on Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standard system level codes points to a return to normalized trade cycles and more predictable service and repair costs."
In a release, TMC and Decisiv noted:
"Economic and inflation pressures are still driving parts prices and labor rates to comparatively high levels, OEMs are effectively managing fewer supply chain disruptions that had negatively impacted production capacity. With the steady elimination of pent-up demand, fleets are finally taking delivery of new, less repair-intensive trucks. Additionally, the influx of replacement vehicles and lower freight volumes are decreasing the demand for service and repair activity and consequently lowering parts and labor costs."
Looking ahead, there is a growing expectation that service and repair costs will find a new equilibrium and consequently settle into a more predictable cycle similar to what was experienced in the past.
Data on the top 10 VMRS code categories shows that engines and related systems accounted for the largest percentage of all costs in 2023 Q2. In total, Powerplant (35.9%), Exhaust (12.9%), Cooling (6.1%), and Fuel Systems (5.3%) equaled 60.2% of costs in 2023 Q2.
“After many months of rapidly increasing parts and labor costs, we are pleased to see this positive trend in the maintenance expense data,” said TMC Executive Director Robert Braswell. “The Council’s fleet membership will benefit from this important parts and labor cost analysis and plan accordingly going forward.”
The Decisiv/TMC North American Service Event Benchmark Reports are generated using data from the Decisiv SRM platform on service and repair events for commercial assets operating across the U.S. and Canada.