Notes from the HDAD (Heavy Duty Aftermarket Dialogue) …. Panel Discussion By Sam Russo
Fresh from Heavy-Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW) 2024, held in Gaylord, Texas, January 22nd – 25th, the Pivotree pit crew in attendance is feeling the fuel in our veins when it comes to helping digitally transform the heavy-duty industry.
The heavy-duty trucking industry is the beating heart of our economy; it keeps goods moving and shelves stocked. A tagline from HDA Truck Pride at the event says it well:
“If you bought it, a truck brought it.”
Yet, navigating the turbulent landscape of today’s complex supply chains can feel like traversing a blizzard blindfolded. Disruptions, from chip shortages to geopolitical tremors, threaten to grind operations to a halt. So, how can businesses in this critical sector stay ahead of the curve and ensure a smooth journey?This was the topic of focus during the Heavy Duty Aftermarket Dialogue which was held on January 22nd by MEMA in conjunction with HDAW.
The Imperative of Resilience in a Fragile Ecosystem
The past few years have exposed the vulnerabilities inherent in globalized supply chains. Over reliance on single sources and long, interconnected networks amplified disruptions, causing cascading effects like production slowdowns, inventory shortages, and price hikes. The recent chip shortage, for instance, crippled the heavy-duty truck industry, as Ken Hogan, Vice President and General Manager at Cummins Meritor, highlighted, “There’re many areas that are getting better… but overall, I would just think we’re just going to see different issues.”
Spanning the globe, automotive supply chains involve a complex network of suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and service providers responsible for sourcing and delivering the 15,000-25,000 parts that make up each vehicle. Ensuring the integrity of this vast ecosystem is a monumental task.
From Fragile to Agile: Rethinking the Supply Chain Paradigm
Building a resilient supply chain demands a paradigm shift. The focus must move away from mere cost efficiency and towards flexibility, agility, and redundancy. Traci Melville, President of North America Commercial Vehicle and Aftermarket Vehicle Group at Eaton noted how 2023 was a year of mixed results as the industry entered the year chaotically and at the liberty of supply availability. By the end of 2023 she observed real improvements in efficiency and more control had been made which has led to where we are today. This means diversifying sourcing options, fostering strategic partnerships, and leveraging advanced technologies for real-time visibility and predictive insights.
Industry Leaders Chart the Course: Key Takeaways
The HDAD panel discussion offered invaluable insights from industry leaders grappling with this evolving landscape.
- Diversification is Paramount: Moving away from overreliance on globalized chains is crucial, as Hogan emphasized. Exploring regional sourcing opportunities and building strategic partnerships within the USMCA zone, as Traci Melville, President of North America Commercial Vehicle and Aftermarket Vehicle Group at Eaton, suggested, can create a more diversified and adaptable network.
- Investing in Supplier Resiliency: Proactive risk mitigation is key, as Melville highlighted with Eaton’s supplier resiliency metric. Ensuring backup plans for critical materials minimizes disruptions and keeps operations running smoothly
- Technology as a Guiding Force: Data analytics, AI, and blockchain are transforming supply chain operations. By harnessing these tools, businesses can gain real-time visibility, predict disruptions, and optimize logistics for greater efficiency and agility.
- Collaboration – The fuel for collective success: No single company can build resilience in isolation. Open communication, joint planning, and a commitment to shared goals, as Mark Pigott, Senior Vice President at Dana emphasized, create a network of trust and support that benefits everyone.
The Road Ahead: Building a Future of Uninterrupted Journeys
The heavy-duty trucking industry stands at a crossroads. By embracing resilience and adaptability as core principles, businesses can not only weather the storms of the present but also pave the way for a more prosperous and sustainable future. By investing in diversification, strategic partnerships, advanced technologies, and collaborative initiatives, the industry can ensure the uninterrupted flow of goods that keeps our economy running strong. Remember, the road ahead may be winding, but with the right tools and partnerships, the heavy-duty trucking industry can continue to be the engine that drives our progress forward.
These insights, gleaned from the HDAD panel discussion, offer a roadmap for the heavy-duty trucking industry to navigate the turbulent waters of the future and emerge stronger and more resilient.
Collin Shaw, Chief Commercial Vehicle Officer at MEMA, and Chief Operating Officer at MEMA Original Equipment Manufacturers.
- Ken Hogan, VP & GM at Cummins Meritor
- Houman “HK” Kashanipour, CEO and President of Alliant Power
- Traci Melville, President of North America Commercial Vehicle and Aftermarket Vehicle Group at Eaton
Practice Director, Automotive
About Pivotree: Pivotree designs, builds, and manages frictionless commerce experiences for brands and their customers around the world. We provide end-to-end solutions and services in Commerce, Data Management, and Supply Chain for hundreds of brands globally.