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Fleet managers carry less on-site inventory this year, study shows

Monday, December 4, 2017 - 08:00
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Fleet managers are carrying less on-site inventory this year than last year, according to the 2017 Aftermarket Business World Fleet Product Study. Nearly 60 percent of respondents to this year’s study said they order parts as needed, compared to 48 percent who said that in last year’s study.

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Among those fleet managers who said this year that they carry onsite inventory, 25 percent carry a one-month supply, 9 percent carry a three-month supply, 1 percent carry a six-month supply and 6 percent carry a one-year supply. These figures are all down slightly from last year.

Only 35 percent this year said that they were open to switching to a new supplier for the product categories surveyed this year. Those categories are auxiliary lighting, brakes and batteries.

Among those 35 percent, nearly two-thirds said this year that they prefer to be contacted via email by companies that want to do business with them. Some 21 percent preferred a phone call and 12 percent wanted a personal visit.

Half of this year’s respondents said that they prefer to buy from national parts retailers while 32 percent want to buy from warehouse distributors and 6 percent from dealerships.

The most important characteristics that fleet managers say they look for in their suppliers are product availability followed by price, fast delivery, customer service and being easy to work with. Other important qualities they mentioned include carrying specific brands, having a good working relationship and the return policy.

Some 27 percent of fleet managers said quality is the main reason they buy a particular product, followed by availability (16 percent), reliability (12 percent), brand name (12 percent), price (11 percent), warranty (10 percent) and performance (7 percent).

The 2017 fleet product study was fielded via email to readers of Aftermarket Business World who are part of a fleet. The results are intended to show general market trends, not statistical certainties.

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