By Matt Hendrix, CTP

It’s easy for the trucking industry to talk about the driver shortage. We’re accustomed to it, the pain touches virtually every component of the supply chain, and, quite frankly, it’s well-documented.

However, there’s another labor shortage that continues to grow within the trucking industry that’s just as alarming to the overall supply chain, although it’s far deeper in the background of the industry.

Technician shortage.

Case in point, the shortage of technicians for diesel trucks appeared on the American Transportation Research Institute’s Top Industry Issues Report for 2017. Even though it ranked last among the top 13 challenges listed by survey respondents, it was the first time it made its way into the report1.

The problem with a shortage of technicians is that it adds to an already expensive problem the transportation industry has been grappling with in maintaining and repairing trucks. No doubt, older trucks are far more expensive to repair than newer ones, and there are still far too many fleet executives who continue to operate on legacy, outdated philosophies where they try to drive their trucks as long as possible.

The proof is in the data. Even when you factor in the investment costs associated with a new truck, it costs far less to operate and maintain newer trucks, acquired more frequently, as opposed to maintaining the same trucks over a longer period. This is why leasing is less expensive when looking at the Total Cost of Ownership today.

In a recent analysis of actual fleet truck utilization data comparisons, fleets that adopt a three-year, lease-based truck philosophy realize significant savings. Those that replace their trucks in year four realize a savings of $42,830 in M&R alone, calculated in years four through seven when compared to a fleet driving the same truck for the full seven years. A savings of $17,150 is achieved when comparing a three-year lifecycle to a five-year lifecycle.

Calculate these savings over a fleet of a few hundred trucks, and you can see where this represents millions toward the bottom line.

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