In the heavy truck industry, orders for new products continue to fluctuate. Orders for Class 8 trucks soared in September, while demand for medium-duty trucks remained stagnant, and analysis from ACT Research indicated that September’s order volume for North American Class 8 trucks increased 62 percent year-over-year. The market is poised to continue to grow and expand into 2018, with many manufacturers introducing new models that are expected to take off.

And as some market volatility remains, and as more vehicles remain on the road for longer periods of time, heavy truck manufacturers have a huge opportunity in after-sales service. And while customer expectations evolve to expect maximized product uptime – opposed to break-fix service – these manufacturers have a huge opportunity ahead. So, how can they capitalize?

Maximize Service Parts Distribution

Since there’s an increasingly greater emphasis on maximum product uptime, heavy truck manufacturers must ensure their service supply chains remain efficient and optimized. While Excel spreadsheets and legacy ERP systems may have been helpful in the past, managing service parts inventory with outdated, cumbersome tools is no longer an effective way to do business.

Cloud-based service parts management solutions can help manufacturers increase both margins and revenue from after-sales service, while simultaneously ensuring maximum product uptime. It easily integrates into an existing ERP system, and allows manufacturers to track service parts, eliminate excess and obsolete stock and forecast when new parts are needed. These practices are critical for meeting customer delivery expectations and maintaining an edge over the competition. Beyond keeping products in the right place at the right time, inventory management technology also reduces carrying costs – which are estimated at a mind-boggling 25 percent of the value of inventory that’s on the shelf.

Identify Value Drivers

Finding competitive differentiators in today’s marketplace can be challenging, especially with competitors like Amazon emerging on the scene. For heavy truck manufacturers, service parts pricing offers an opportunity to separate from the pack, and positively impact the bottom line.

Using modern service parts pricing technology – rather than common, yet outdated methods – can help manufacturers price items automatically based on market conditions such as demand and geography. In turn, this allows them to identify and capitalize on how to strengthen the value of individual parts to match changes in customer behavior and product demands.

Get Analysis Right

As service-led initiatives become more commonplace, decisions must be made on an immediate and automatic basis. This can be challenging given all the moving parts associated with not just pricing, but also the logistics of making sure service parts inventory is available where needed, and how supplementary stock is distributed — among other things.

However, instead of missing out on opportunities because of long-winded manual work and slow access to insights, manufacturers need to invest in solutions to help them keep tabs on the performance across all regions in real-time. From there, manufacturers can drill down in more specific, ad hoc ways to uncover any potential competitive areas they can exploit to drive greater results.

The world is always going to be changing, and the heavy truck industry is not immune from that change. However, with the right changes to business processes, and adopting modern technologies, manufacturers will be equipped to succeed.