Heavy-duty trucks need to be able to stand up to the stresses of daily operations. When performing maintenance and repairs on these assets, determining which parts brands can withstand the daily grind can help reduce instances of recurring parts replacements and increased component damage.
1. Track Parts-Related Data
Heavy-duty fleets sometimes encounter the odd defect when it comes to aftermarket replacement parts, but if brake pads on a specific truck constantly need changing every 7,000 to 10,000 miles earlier than advertised, you may be using a brand that isn’t quite as durable as needed.
Using historical service data can give fleets insights into high-fail components, as well as what parts brands work best for improved return on investment and reduced service spend and downtime.
Add Detailed Parts Information to Work Orders
Heavy-duty fleets can track parts durability in a number of ways, the easiest of which may be through work orders.
Work orders and repair orders typically have a line item for parts used. By adding detailed parts information, such as brand and vendor part number, fleets can collect historical parts usage data that will start to paint a picture of how often a part is used, for which truck, and how much it’s costing the fleet to make associated recurring repairs.
Review Historical Truck Inspection Data
Daily, pre-trip, and/or post-trip inspections are a great way to track parts durability.
Historical inspection data highlights high-fail items and recurring issues. Fleets can cross-reference the work orders tied to failed inspection items — particularly high-fail items — to see if the replacement part used across services was the same brand and, if so, that could be a good indication you need to switch brands.
While manually tracking these metrics for comparison and assessment may be a time-consuming endeavor, fleets can use fleet management software (FMS) and other fleet solutions to automate the collection, consolidation, and aggregation of this data, allowing for quick insights into parts durability.
2. Consult with Industry Peers
Not all heavy-duty parts are created equal, so simply relying on a “heavy duty” rating may not cut it. Talking with peers, vendors and reliable OEM contacts can help greatly when shopping around for more durable parts and once you’ve made a switch, you can track service data to ensure the part is holding up as advertised.
3. Categorize Service Types
Once you’ve determined a parts durability issue, you can begin the work to address it.
Fleets using FMS and other fleet solutions to collect, track, and monitor service data can surface recurring issues and high-fail items to address issues quickly. Digital work orders in FMS allow users to categorize and label service.
Categorizing service as scheduled, non-scheduled, or emergency allows fleets to easily break down where most of the service spend is being used, while labels further organize service based on criteria of a fleet’s choosing.
Because labels in digital work orders are often customizable, fleets can go as in-depth as they want and stack labels for more precise insights, such as the part brand used. Service reports are often automatically generated in FMS, and because reports are filterable, fleets can then quickly see which parts brands aren’t performing and which are.
While investing in more durable parts brands will likely increase the upfront cost of a service, fleets may save more on the back end by reducing downtime and avoiding having to purchase that part at a higher volume.
Additionally, high-fail items can impact other parts of the system, turning a simple brake pad job into replacing calipers and/or replacing or resurfacing rotors — creating more unscheduled downtime. By using more durable parts for heavy-duty trucks, fleets can reduce associated costs while improving safety, asset productivity and ROI.
This contributed article was to edited to adhere to Heavy Duty Trucking’s editorial standards and guidelines.