While every fleet manager would be overjoyed if their trucks never required new parts or service, that’s just not a reality.
Today’s work trucks are used each day as tools for many different trades. Keeping these trucks on the road and reducing downtime are top goals for fleet managers. And OEM parts and service programs are here to help.
Work Truck reached out to learn more about parts and service programs and combat some common misconceptions surrounding them.
Benefits of a Parts & Service Program
With continuously tightening budgets and rising expenses, parts and service can be a top expense. Which means it can also be a place some fleet managers try and cut corners.
The No. 1 benefit of utilizing an OEM parts and service program comes down to the age-old adage: you get what you pay for.
Parts manufactured by an OEM for their vehicles have been tested and approved for your specific vehicles.
“One of the top benefits is peace of mind. When a customer has their truck maintained at a Mack dealership they can rest assured that any work is done properly and with the correct parts. Our diagnostics are far above any repair facility, which allows our dealers to identify potential problems before they surface,” said Todd Shakespeare, director of parts marketing for Mack.
Additionally, the various part and service programs have their own paybacks. Customer service is one of the top benefits.
“Some of the top benefits of our parts and service program include consistency in customer service throughout the Freightliner and Western Star dealer network, clear expectations throughout repair process, process efficiencies that get your truck in and out the door as fast as possible, and a partnership with your OEM,” said Miranda Richardson, Elite support operations manager, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA).
A good partnership with your OEM can be invaluable.
“GM Fleet’s Sales, Service, and Parts teams work together tooffer solutions that meet the fleet customers’ needs and truly add value. Our host of programs provide discounts and consolidated billing programs that help manage their fleet,” said Renee Smith, fleet service operations manager for GM Fleet.
Consistent pricing is also something fleet managers can rely on with an OE parts and service program.
“FleetValue parts meet or exceed Isuzu original factory standards and are designed to optimize the truck for its full B-10 life. Offering our FleetValue line of parts gives our dealers a better opportunity to offer customers a lower cost with the OEM specifications,” said Brian Tabel, executive director of marketing for Isuzu Commercial Truck of America (ICTA).
Mack also offers pricing guarantees.
“For fleets of 20 units or more, we offer the Preferred program, which provides users with a centralized purchasing platform, customized reporting, and guaranteed ‘not to exceed’ pricing when working through a Mack dealer,” said Shakespeare of Mack.
Fleets can also benefit from OEM-specific guarantees and warranties.
“We offer fleets that utilize our parts and service program guarantees not to exceed pricing, instant credit recognition at dealer locations, comprehensive reporting tools, an integrated platform with part purchasing and maintenance programs, customized parts discount programs, optional access to emergency breakdown services, and more,” said Gary Mascetti, director of global fleet solutions at Navistar.
Additional maintenance-related expenses and downtime can also be reduced through use of an OEM program.
“There are many benefits for customers using our BusinessLink program. Our authorized BusinessLink dealers offer program customers next available bay service, complimentary loaner vehicles, complimentary shuttle service, extended service hours, upfitter and bailment pools, and commercial vehicles available in stock,” said Mike Cockell, head of fleet service & parts for FCA.
Another way to reduce maintenance-related downtime with an OE parts and service program is typically extended hours and trained and certified technicians, when compared to local repair shops and chain stores.
“Commercial Vehicle Center benefits include extended service hours with dealers open a minimum of 55 hours per week, specialized commercial training for parts and service personnel, and priority service and support for Commercial Customers,” said Erik Strom, fleet service operations, fleet sales and marketing manager for Ford Motor Co.
Part selection really does matter to today’s fleet manager.
“Recently, with Bobit Research Services, we surveyed the nation’s top fleet managers about their parts purchase decisions and 71% agreed the original equipment parts were important. And, most also agreed that brand reputation/quality and warranty were important attributes, which our OEM parts brands, GM Genuine Parts and ACDelco, are known for,” said Smith of GM Fleet.
Additionally, OEM parts and service programs often offer parts and service warranties specific to commercial fleets.
6 Parts & Service Misconceptions
When it comes to OEM parts and service programs, there are several misconceptions, from how much it costs to who can benefit most. Some of the top misconceptions include:
1. Higher Costs: One of the top misconceptions about OE parts and service programs is centered on cost. But, OEM parts and service programs can cost little to nothing to be a part of. “The BusinessLink program costs nothing for participating members and is structured to maximize vehicle uptime and minimize cost,” said Cockell of FCA.
OEMs work hard to ensure fair pricing. “Our FleetValue parts line is priced competitive with the aftermarket and often is less expensive. The FleetValue line is set to offer customers a high value part at a lower cost to lower the overall cost of ownership,” said Tabel of ICTA.
It is also important to look at the total cost of ownership of a truck.
“Certainly, there is cost perception, which assumes that the genuine OEM product will be more expensive than a third-party alternative. Often, this is not the case. When it is, there is a reason,” said Shakespeare of Mack. “Paying a bit more for a quality repair using OE parts is worth it when the cheaper part may fail prematurely, and the service provider won’t reimburse labor costs.”
2. Impact on Relationships: One concern fleet managers have is that utilizing a parts and service program might disrupt their relationship with the local dealership. “Fleets can order parts from fleetcharge.com and still work with their local dealer,” said Mascetti of Navistar.
3. Required Fleet Size: One misconception fleets have is that only large national fleets can benefit from these programs. “Any size fleet may participate in the Ford Fleet Care (FFC) consolidated billing program,” explained Strom of Ford.
4. It’s Mandated by the OEM: Another misconception is that the program is mandated by the OEM. “Elite Support, for example, is a voluntary initiative. Elite Support is developed by the dealer with the customer in mind. All criteria are determined and implemented based on the impacts of the customer experience. There is no extra cost to participate in Elite Support,” said Richardson of DTNA.
5. Vehicle Availability: Another misconception is that only certain vehicles are eligible for some of the OEM programs. “At Ford, all makes of vehicle are eligible for the program. Ford offers Omnicraft premium replacement parts for non-Ford/Lincoln vehicles, which are approved, and back by Ford Motor Company,” said Strom of Ford.
6. Parts Quality: Finally, many believe that aftermarket parts are engineered to OE specifications. “The fact is, Ford and Motorcraft are the only parts designed and engineered for your Ford and Lincoln fleet vehicle,” said Strom of Ford.
OEM Parts & Service Programs Explained
While the general concept of a parts & service program is the same, each manufacturer offers different programsand options. We've detailed a few below:
Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA)
DTNA’s Elite Support initiative – which has been in place for almost 10 years – offers customer service and efficiency for maintenance and repairs. Every Elite Support dealership must be recertified annually to ensure a consistent, high-level of service, and each dealership that is certified as Elite Support must meet more than 130 specific criteria across 22 customer service areas. Every Elite Support-certified dealership has an onsite Continuous Improvement Coordinator to ensure these high standards are always met.
The Elite Support network – which has more than 290 certified dealers – recently spearheaded an effort to narrow the repair-time window to 24 hours. DTNA’s long-term vision is to achieve a 24-hour or less repair time and to create the ideal customer experience.
DTNA also has several data-driven tools that help streamline communications between customers and the dealer network, including:
- Service Tracker: A web-based, mobile-compatible application so customers can track service in real time, on demand. Customers can opt to receive notifications about the repair status of their vehicle, review and approve estimates, and communicate with the service location.
- Express Assessment: Express Assessment is the commitment to provide a preliminary diagnosis and communication to the customer within 2 hours of arrival. All Elite Support Certified locations participate in Express Assessment.
In 2019, DTNA will open its 10th parts distribution center in the Phoenix area, which will support DTNA’s ability to provide next-day delivery to more than 90 percent of its United States dealer order volume. DTNA’s existing network already reaches more than 80% of the United States.
Alliance Truck Parts – which is launching more than 15 new product lines over the next several months, as well as new retail locations in dealerships and at stand-alone locations – provides a strong, all-makes product portfolio that is available for customers at the most critical times.
For more info: daimler-trucksnorthamerica.com/brands/elite-support/
FCA US/Ram Truck
Ram Truck through FCA US offers BusinessLink. BusinessLink dealers are equipped to work harder and better to meet small-business needs. Become a BusinessLink member and enjoy dealership perks like expedited service, access to FCA's trusted network of upfitters, and more.
BusinessLink offers next available bay service, complimentary loaner vehicoes, dedicated account managers, complimentary shuttle service, extended service hours, upfitter and bailment pools, and a large number of in-stock commercial vehicles.
For more info: www.fcausfleet.com/programs/business-link-dealers.html
Ford Motor Co.
Ford has a national network of fleet mindedCommercial Vehicle Center Dealers qualified to provide solutions for sales, service, and finance needs.
Originally established in 1989 as "Main Street USA" and later called the “Business Preferred Network,” the Ford Commercial Vehicle Center program was specifically designed to help dealers address the needs of fleet and commercial customers. The Program has evolved over the years with direct input from our dealers and fleets.
Commercial Vehicle Center Dealers fully comprehend the needs of our fleets and understand that fleet vehicles are critical tools for financial success. It’s all about helping minimizing the total cost of ownership and helping maximize fleet vehicle up time.
The Ford Fleet Care program is a no cost parts and service consolidated billing program offered to commercial fleet customers who choose to self-manage their fleet of vehicles. A single invoice replaces multiple repair orders or part invoices helping to manage fleets administrative time and cost. The Ford Fleet Care Program is available through Ford and Lincoln Dealers, as well as Quick Lane Tire and Auto Centers in the United States and Canada.
Commercial Vehicle Center benefits include commercial vehicle experts in Sales, Finance, Parts and Service; extended Service Hours with dealers open a minimum of 55 hours per week; specialized Commercial Training for Parts and Service personnel; priority Service and Support for Commercial Customers; commercial Vehicle in-stock parts availability; two-year/unlimited miles parts warranty with no commercial exclusions (labor cost may have a limit); and loaner and Rental Services Available.
With Ford Fleet Care, there are no Enrollment Fees; No Administrative Fees; all-Makes Service Billing Solution; complimentary Online Management Reports Available; ability to Set Repair Prior Approval Limits; roadside Assistance – Offers services beyond New Vehicle Limited Warranty,” said Strom of Ford.
For more info: www.commercialvehiclecenters.com and www.fleetcare.ford.com
GM Fleet & AC Delco
While regular vehicle maintenance is important to protecting fleet assets, GM Fleet aims to reduce the amount of downtime our customers experience with their vehicles.
GM offers dedicated fleet sales, service, and parts teams who are experienced in assisting fleets with driver convenience and maximizing vehicle uptime and efficiency. The first step to this is for fleet to contact their GM Fleet Account Executive.
Additionally, GM’s Certified Service is available at more than 4,100 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac dealers in the automaker's network. The GM Fleet Action Center provides support to dealers, fleet customers, and fleet management companies to expedite maintenance and repair solutions.
GM’s OE parts brands, GM Genuine Parts and ADelco, ensure that factory parts are available for each of the vehicles in its lineup. And, ACDelco offers a Key Fleet Program which offers fleets, discounts on tools, equipment, service, and training manuals.
For more info: www.acdelco.com/gm-original-equipment-parts/gm-oe-products.html
Isuzu Commercial Truck of America
Isuzu Commercial Truck of America (ICTA)'s FleetValue program offers parts for most 1987 to current year Isuzu-built trucks. FleetValue is a parts product line designed to provide greater value than what is currently available in the parts aftermarket. This parts line focuses on maintenance parts for Isuzu-built commercial trucks. FleetValue parts are high quality, provide excellent value at a competitive price and are available only at your Isuzu truck dealer.
All FleetValue parts meet the performance standards established for Isuzu-built trucks . As an example, FleetValue brake pads were put through rigorous on-vehicle testing and exceeded the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS).
Your Isuzu truck dealer can offer you FleetValue parts as well as the full line of Genuine Isuzu Parts to service your truck. FleetValue parts provide high quality and great value at a competitive price. FleetValue
For more information: www.isuzucv.com/en/app/site/pdf?file=fleetvalue_brochure.pdf
Mack Trucks offers Mack genuine products that are the exact same components used to produce Mack vehicles. These parts meet or exceed the truckmaker's quality and safety standards for OEM parts.
Mack also offer competitively priced REMACK parts, which are OEM-quality parts fully remanufactured to their original specifications using the company's thorough processes. While other remanufactured components are available in the market, there is no guarantee that the same quality parts are being used or the same processes followed to meet the high expectations of Mack customers.
REMACK parts are available through, and can be installed by, our extensive network of Mack dealers. All OEM products are warrantied, which can include parts and labor when utilizing an authorized Mack dealership.
For more info: www.macktrucks.com/parts-and-services/parts/remack/
OnCommand connects your entire fleet through a single portal, offering reporting, live monitoring and more.
With the OnCommand Fleet Charge purchasing program, fleet managers and owner/operators can feel confident when purchasing all-makes and proprietary parts to maintain their entire fleet. The Fleet Charge program is ideal for 100-plus vehicle fleets with the Fleet Charge Advantage program is ideal for fleets up to 49 units.
All programs include no enrollment fees, guaranteed consistent billing, and consolidated bi-weekly billing statements. The program applies to all truck makes and is accepted at more than 600 International Truck and IC Bus Dealers.
OnCommand Parts Information is a customized portal that provides service technicians with instant access to your trucks parts lists, giving them the exact information they need to repair your vehicle. Eliminating the risk of mistakes and delays, all so your truck can quickly get back up, out and earning on the road.
For more information: www.internationaltrucks.com/support/oncommand-fleet-charge
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