Now that there is generally a healthy inventory and capacity of brake parts around the world, warehouse distributors (WD’s) and truck/trailer dealers are looking to find ways of reducing product costs to gain more of a competitive edge in the market. One way that we’ve seen WD’s and dealers reducing product costs is by purchasing brake parts without a brand name. This is scary for a product type that has high stakes.
Think about the last time that you bought anything at Amazon, Walmart, or any other retailer, and there was no brand name on the product. There’s always a brand name, even if it’s one you’ve never heard of or a foreign brand name, partially for traceability reasons. With most products, the liability may be very low, but the stakes are high with heavy-duty brake parts.
Here’s the reason why branded heavy-duty brake parts are so important. Let’s imagine there is a liability event (e.g., collision or flying piece of a brake part), and the part that was directly or indirectly the cause comes into question. If there is no brand name on the part, the fleet or owner-operator will now need to disclose during legal discovery every place they may have bought a “no-brand” brake part because they won’t know specifically which WD or dealer sold them this part. If there was a brand name on the part, it wouldn’t matter because the manufacturer would be the liable party and not the WD or dealer.
It also may be important for you, WD’s and dealers, to check your own insurance policies in regards to what your insurance will cover. If you are in the business of parts distribution and you carry products without a brand name, it’s possible that your insurance carrier could deny claims you file or filed against you because when you sell a no-name product, your company effectively might be treated as a manufacturer because there isn’t a manufacturer to claim against. Your insurance may not cover your company as a manufacturer.
Lastly, even if there is a brand name on the product that you sell, it’s important to ensure that they have adequate liability coverage in North America. If there is a significant claim that occurs against that branded company and there is no insurance, the company is likely to fold as it’s easier to do so than to fight a significant legal battle. This could place additional liability on you, the WD or dealer.
By purchasing a no-name brake part or one from a brand not well known, you may be buying a part that fits fine and may function acceptably, but you probably have no knowledge as to what specifications it’s being made to, what’s in it, how it’s being made, all which can affect the long-term performance of the product and your reputation.
You can rest assured that by buying a DuraBrake brake drum, brake rotor, brake pad, or hub, it will have the DuraBrake name and part number permanently marked on the product. DuraBrake does carry $6 million in liability insurance and has been around for more than 75 years without a single liability claim.