Fleets continue to say they want to outsource more service work, but they've been saying that for a while, and the actual amount of oursourcing has remained pretty stable, according to surveys done by MacKay & Company, a market research and consulting firm specializing in heavy-duty equipment.
John Blodgett, vice president of sales and marketing for MacKay, shared this and other results of the firm's study of the medium- and heavy-duty truck, school bus, and trailer service labor market in a presentation during the recent Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week in Las Vegas.
Blodgett's presentation was part of a new one-day program focused on the heavy-duty service market, called SOLD (Service Opportunities and Learning Day).
This is the fourth time MacKay & Company has completed this study since 1998. The research behind the project included analysis of 15,000-20,000 medium and heavy-duty vehicle operator surveys completed for MacKay & Company in the last four years. A targeted survey for this study focused on 1,500 vehicle operators, several hundred surveys with distributors of service and an extensive review of standard repair manual service labor data.
One surprise of the most recent study, according to Blodgett, is the decrease in preventive maintenance. While still a large portion of the service labor pie, it has decreased, primarily because of automated systems that indicate when a maintenance activity is needed as opposed to scheduling time to perform a maintenance check. Tire pressure monitoring systems would be an example.
Class 8 trucks drive almost 60% of the required service labor, according to Blodgett, with medium-duty vehicles representing 24% and the balance with trailers and container chassis. Truck operators (which can be an owner operator with one truck or a large for-hire fleet with 2,000 trucks) complete an average of 75% of the service labor activities in their own shops.
The Outsourcing Question
Typically, the less frequent or more complicated or specialized the service activity, the more likely a fleet will outsource. Fleets complete 91% of preventive maintenance labor hours but slightly less than half of engine overhauls or paint and body service labor.