It’s not a secret — fleets are struggling to acquire the trucks they need to get their work done. According to Toyota, truck deliveries take anywhere from four to 12 months if the OEM secures the allocation.
And the fleet industry is continuing to see order-related challenges.
What’s Causing the Delays?
There are multiple issues currently limiting the production/availability of trucks.
“OEMs continue to deal with numerous supply chain parts shortages (i.e.: chips, electronic components, wiring harnesses, etc.). In addition, there is an unprecedented amount of pent-up demand in the commercial truck space, which is extending the challenge of balancing truck production with customer demand,” said Mark Oldenburg, Senior National Fleet Operations manager, Toyota Motor North America.
But, according to Debbie Shust, vice president, Medium Duty Truck Business, Navistar, there is less of a buffer to the supply chain than we used to have, adding to the headaches.
“Although we have seen some recovery in the semiconductor chip issues, they are not completely behind us. There is no longer a buffer in the supply chain, so any disruption for parts or components (e.g., a ship waiting to be unloaded at a port, a new COVID outbreak) can cause a delay in the production schedule. In addition, we are seeing record demand, stressing the system even more,” Shust explained.
Current Truck Production Trends
Navistar is seeing truck production trending up in Q2 compared to Q1, but there is still uncertainty.
“Although things are improving, the fragility of the supply chain is still causing constraints,” Shust noted.
Work truck fleet managers must also deal with supply chain shortages with their upfitters.
“Upfitters are also being impacted by the shortage and bottlenecks of parts needed to complete their customer upfitting needs,” Oldenburg said.
Tips for Mitigating Issues
Challenges like we are seeing today, will not disappear overnight.
“Work truck fleet managers must realize the supply chain may take years to fully recover and be prepared to invest additional resources to maintain their existing fleet of work trucks until replacement trucks are available,” Oldenburg added.
Challenges Caused by Shortages
There are several issues resulting from ongoing truck acquisition challenges.
“These challenges will result in longer overall lifecycles, increased maintenance costs, and increased operational and vehicle acquisition budgets to buy a replacement truck once they become available (caused by a decrease in available incentives and higher MSRP and inflationary costs for increasing fuel prices),” Oldenburg noted.
Shust agreed, adding that, “we will have a time where customers will likely need to keep trucks longer than normal until industry production can catch up.”
While there are some good changes happening that are positively impacting truck acquisition, there are still challenges to face.
“Although COVID outbreaks are still happening, they are less severe than in the past. Chip suppliers are working on adding capacity,” Shust noted.
But there is no magic eight-ball that tells us when this will all be over.
“The end in sight to these issues will be when supply and demand balance out, which is not possible to predict at this time,” Oldenburg said.
Are you struggling to get trucks for your fleet? Do you see any improvements, or are things still as challenging for you? I’d love to hear your story!
E-mail me, and let’s chat!
Lauren Fletcher, Executive Editor
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