While there have been many changes in the trucking industry, one thing has not changed, according to Rich Ferguson, managing director, Ferguson Partners LLC. “Trucking customers still strive for efficiency. This has not charged," he said during a presentation at Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week in Dallas, Texas.
He said there are a number of issues that bear watching, including continued consolidation, opportunities in mobile repair, the growth of electronics, the growth of remanufacturing, and the need to continue to invest in technician training.
“There is an electric product revolution going on, and I am not just talking about electric engines,” Ferguson said. “The growth of telematics and the increased speed at which we are getting data are happening concurrently.” On the product side, he said that while today automated manual transmission are only in 19% of Class 8 trucks on the road, they can be found in 80% of vehicles currently being spec’d. There also has been a growth of electric idle-reduction systems.
Reman product offerings are expanding, Ferguson said, because they are environmentally friendly and cost effective options. “OEMS are now designing for remanufacturing, and 3D printing is extending the life of cores.”
When it comes to parts, he said, there are more private label parts on the market that play into the good-better-best scenario in order to meet the needs of different customers. Manufacturers are also building new parts distribution centers in order to “have the right part, at the right place, at the right time.”
He also said service providers will need to make investments to educate technicians and to have the appropriate service system hardware and software.
Looking to the future, Ferguson said that service providers need to start working on building a safety culture within their organizations, especially in the shop, in preparation of the deployment of electric vehicles.
He wrapped up by telling the service provider members in the audience that in order to win fleet business, they had to understand and adapt to changing customer needs. “Know your customers and bring them solutions.”