Truck parts shortage intensifies, extending to ‘common parts’
Fleet maintenance teams are struggling to source many of the truck parts they need as suppliers face shortages of commodities from microchips to rubber. “It’s really starting to dribble down into common parts,” said Darry Stuart of DWS Fleet Management, during an online Fleet Talk presentation for the spring meeting of the American Trucking Association’s Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC).
Rubber supplies are under pressure because of factors such as stockpiling in China, and flooding and disease affecting rubber trees. (Photo: istock)
The emerging rubber shortage alone could affect the availability and pricing of everything from tires to O-rings, added TMC executive director Robert Braswell. Several reports have identified challenges including China’s recent stockpiling of natural rubber, as well as flooding and disease that are affecting rubber trees themselves.
But the shortages are not limited to parts alone. While South Shore Transportation maintenance director Kevin Tomlinson admits it’s difficult to source wood for trailer floors, he is facing lengthy waits for new trailers themselves. “It’s a perfect storm of build and parts,” Tomlinson said, referring to the surging market demand that has aligned with the material shortages.
Industry analysts at FTR recently reported that U.S. trailer manufacturers are almost booked solid for the remainder of 2021 and have yet to open 2022 order boards because they’re uncertain about material and component costs.
The situations are requiring some “creative” sourcing strategies when it comes to maintenance supplies, the TMC speakers note. Stuart, facing a shortage of DEF heads for a bus fleet in the eastern U.S., sourced the components on the west coast and paid to have them shipped eastward. (“There was none east of the Mississippi,” he said.) Tomlinson has also been cannibalizing a couple of wrecks for parts. The shortages may see more truck maintenance changes in the future, Stuart adds.
Filter intervals might need to become “more aggressive”, while tires might need to be run longer distances before being pulled. Some parts inventories may also need to be addressed. “I’ve seen where the inventories have been cut way, way back,” Stuart said. “Those things that kill us for downtime, we should probably be stepping up the stocking level on certain items.”
In the early months of the pandemic, refuse fleets in the northeastern U.S. were ordering a two-month supply of tires, he observed.
It isn’t the only way that Covid-19 has influenced the availability of parts. Some shipments are being quarantined for 30 days before distribution, even though there is a small chance of catching the virus from a surface, Braswell says. “That needs to be addressed.” The U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is a low risk of catching Covid-19 through contact with contaminated objects (formites). The odds of infection, while not impossible, is generally less than 1 in 10,000, it says. To compound matters, delays at some ports are seeing container ships redirected to secondary destinations such as Seattle or the East Coast.
While the speakers said they’re confident that parts shortages will ease, they wondered whether a related issue will linger.
“When we get back to some sort of normalcy there won’t be normalcy on pricing,” Stuart said.
- Philips Hue Fair White Ambience Smart Ceiling Light LED with Bluetooth, White &...
RRP PRICE: £189.99SALE PRICE: £185.20YOU SAVE: £4.79 About this item This fits your . by entering your model number. Smart Lighting For Your Home […]
- Philips Hue Being White Ambience Smart Ceiling Light LED with Bluetooth, White...
RRP PRICE: £139.99SALE PRICE: £115.40YOU SAVE: £24.59 This fits your . by entering your model number. Smart Lighting For Your Home – Set […]
- Russell Hobbs RHEO6501SS Stainless Steel 65L Built In Electric Oven...
RRP PRICE: £239.00SALE PRICE: £219.00YOU SAVE: £20.00 This fits your . by entering your model number. LED clock and timer Energy Efficiency […]
- Bosch DSZ4565 – cooker hood parts & accessories (Recycling kit, Bosch)
SALE PRICE: £61.78YOU SAVE: £2.04 Bosch dsz4565. Type: Recycling Kit. Compatible Brands: BOSCH PRODUCT. Weight: 620 g Diameter: 15 cm Check Offer […]
- GIONIEN Frameless Induction hobs 59cm Electric Built-in Cooktop 4 Burners...
SALE PRICE: £229.99YOU SAVE: £10.00 About this item This fits your . by entering your model number. [Flexible BBQ Function]-Flexible area is made […]
- De’Longhi EO12012 Mini Oven – White
RRP PRICE: £124.99SALE PRICE: £94.17YOU SAVE: £30.82 Large internal capacity of 12.5 liters. Double glass door. Full metal body. Pearl white knobs […]
- Kuhla KCLRF17 Table Top Mini Fridge Drinks Cooler, 17L capacity, White...
SALE PRICE: £64.97YOU SAVE: £5.52 This fits your . by entering your model number. The 17 litre mini cooler from Kuhla is small enough to fit in a […]
- Tower T14044 Mini Oven with Dual Hot Plates, Adjustable Temperature Control, 90...
RRP PRICE: £99.99SALE PRICE: £93.49YOU SAVE: £6.50 About this item ALL-IN-ONE COOKING – roast, bake, grill, toast the oven function, as well as […]
- Bosch WNA14490GB Serie 6 Freestanding Washer Dryer with AutoDry, SpeedPerfect,...
SALE PRICE: £779.00YOU SAVE: £20.00 This fits your . by entering your model number. EcoSilence Drive: extremely energy-efficient and quiet in […]
- KidKraft 62040 Wooden Kids Artist Easel with Paper Roll, Works with Pencils,...
RRP PRICE: £134.99SALE PRICE: £129.99YOU SAVE: £5.00 CREATE YOUR OWN DESIGNS – Create every masterpiece with the KidKraft Artist Easel with a […]