Here are some strategies our customers are using to keep their fleet orders rolling forward .
- If you’re not first, you’ll be last. Get in line...NOW! Get the deal done soon as you know you will need to order new trucks in the near future. With demand high and supplies low build spots are filling up fast. Delays and up-charges are often passed “down the line” to those who hesitate. Orders for 2023 are already breaking records, so be sure to have contracts in place with all 3rd party manufacturers involved in building your trucks.
- Future-proofing is key. Fleet operators will benefit from thinking more like business forecasters. They will need to strategically craft orders to meet predicted needs up to 18 months from now when the new trucks will actually arrive. How much growth do you anticipate? What specs will be required to handle changing workloads? Just replacing aging vehicles spec-for-spec could mean your new trucks may not be able to get the job done when they finally do arrive.
- To paraphrase the Rolling Stones, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes you can get what you need.” There may be some options you want that the manufacturer has removed to keep their assembly line producing. If you can get what you need to get the job done and that model truck matches your specs, grab it while it’s available.
- Be diligent about preventative maintenance (PM) for current vehicles. It’s often said, “the best offense is a good defense.” Extending the life-span of your trucks through PM will buy some extra time to cope with delays so you can win the war of attrition that is vehicle availability. It will also reduce breakdowns and cost of ownership, while pushing revenue to the bottom line and paying a dividend in safety.
- Carefully consider used equipment and rentals. Pre-owned trucks and rented equipment don’t have the long procurement lead times that new vehicles do, but there are some caveats. You may have to be flexible about some features. Plus, long lead times for new trucks have created demand in the used and rental market, pushing up prices in some cases. Added maintenance costs, surcharges, and inflated prices may cause you to owe more than the truck is worth over the long haul.
- BONUS - Think About Swapping Bodies. Make Demountable truck bodies, a.k.a. Swap Bodies part of your research before you make your next fleet truck purchase. This lean and efficient system reduces the number of new cab-chassis required to get the same amount of work done and it optimizes operations for more deliveries per day - and same day delivery in some cases.
One thing you can count on to remain the same in business is that everything changes...evolves. The same delays, shortages, and price increases that are the norm today will be the catalyst for a stronger truck manufacturing industry tomorrow. To close on an encouraging note: trucking is still the preferred form of transportation in the USA with almost 70% of the country’s goods carried by trucks from one state to another, and FleetOwner reports that fleets will be able to procure more trucks and trailers in 2023 than in previous years.
We're rolling in the right direction.