Now that brake and wheel-end parts are easier to come by again, we’re seeing wheel-end manufacturers, distributors, and dealers reducing margins again to capture market share, like the way it was pre-pandemic. Before the pandemic, we had all heard stories of owner-operators going to the opposite end of town to literally save a dollar. The pandemic changed that to where customers were willing to pay for time-savings and availability. We know that our customers face pricing pressures because owner-operators and fleets put price pressure on them, but it is going to be important for distributors and dealers to resist the temptation to reduce margins. Since the availability of brake drums is much better now, we all must demonstrate to our customers how we’re going to save them time, provide value, and do a better job at keeping their vehicle(s) running to generate more revenue for themselves.
Some customers will always focus on the lowest price possible, but some will focus on the value we provide. DuraBrake faces the same challenges and so we also must prove to our customers that we might not be the least expensive, but we save our customers time and provide a great product, which means that they can spend more time selling more parts as we discussed in the previous article. Webb and Gunite built a name on a similar foundation and now DuraBrake has done the same. We believe that larger inventories, high-quality and well-engineered products and customer service do come at a cost, and it is important to charge for that on every layer in the supply chain.