fleetdigest August 2018
The August 2018 issue of fleetdigest is now available online. You can flip through it here, but first, a few words from the Associate Publisher of fleetdigest, Jack Kazmierski.
With the implementation of tariffs, it’s time to prepare for an uncertain future.
I recently had an opportunity to chat with an upfitter who was lamenting about how some of the new tariffs were impacting his business. He explained how he was fighting for his business on two fronts. First, the tariffs caused a spike in his materials costs. Second, finding the raw materials locally was difficult.
Perhaps you’ve already noticed an increase in prices for some of the goods you depend on to run your fleet. Are your upfitters starting to charge a premium? Are your suppliers running out of the parts and products you rely on to keep your vehicles on the road?
Focus on what you can control
If you’re seeing increases in prices and lead times, you’re not alone. If it’s any consolation, tariffs are impacting the price and availability of products across the board. It’s a challenge for many industries, including ours. As with all things in business, we have to focus on what we can control, and hope for the best in everything else. From a purely practical standpoint, this would mean preparing for a future where vehicle parts cost more than what we’re used to, as well as the possibility that some parts and products may be hard to find due to increased demand from a smaller number of suppliers.
That said, perhaps the tariffs will fall as quickly as they’ve been imposed. Perhaps all sides will decide to bring the trade war to an end sooner rather than later. The simple truth is, we don’t know.
What can you do?
In the meantime, what can you do to make sure your fleet stays on the road, and that your annual budget doesn’t balloon exponentially? Perhaps it’s time to sit down, crunch the numbers, and prepare for a more expensive future? Are there certain parts that you should be stocking up on? Are there some vehicles you thought you might need in a couple of months or next year that you should probably invest in today?
If you’re not sure how to hedge your bets, perhaps it’s time to call in outside help. Should you be speaking with your fleet management company, and drawing on their resources and expertise to put together an action plan? If you’re not working with an FMC, is there someone within your own organization, or an outside consultant, who could shed some light on your options?
We all hope for the best. But in the meantime, it’s wise to prepare for the worst.