To know what you know and what you do not know, that is true knowledge.

— Confucius

Truckable Economic Activity (TEA®) is our proprietary measure of the trucking economy.  Since its inception in 2003, we have used it to provide you with timely and in-depth analyses of current and prospective conditions in all aspects of the industry.

TEA®  Truckable Economic Activity

Our latest Report was released SEPTEMBER 6th. Not to toot our OWN horn, but TEA® is an excellent resource when looking for ways to gauge the industry and THE PACE that goods are moving. (And, it is also one of the best deals for the $!)

As stated in our latest report and in Summary:

  • The recent figures show continued forward progress in the trucking economy

  • Several of the areas of concern have shown some improvement — the combined result of diminished headwinds and renewed strength.

  • The outlook for the balance of 2016 remains consistent with our conclusions from the last TEA® report. 2017, however, could see some changes in the pattern of growth.


In the United States there are over 4.9 million trailers and container chassis. These trailers and container chassis are being connected and unconnected, some on a daily basis, some even more frequently, from the tractors which pull them.  We are launching our inaugural examination of the truck/trailer connector aftermarket.

The components to be examined in MacKay & Company’s research study of tractor-to-trailer connections will include:

Air ConnectORS

1.      Air hose

2.      Air hose fittings

3.      Gladhands

4.      Gladhand seals


Electrical ConnectORS

1.      Sockets/plugs

2.      Electrical cords 

This study is in the initial stages which allows study participants to get in on the ground level – providing input on survey questions and specifying tailored component research needs.


Electronic Components Aftermarket Study

A comprehensive study of the medium and heavy duty truck and trailer electronic components aftermarket


The trend toward greater use of technology in trucks and trailers is clear and continues to increase. It is important to understand the impact of technology on the aftermarket and the opportunity that is represents. NEW 2016 Study will EXPLORE the current size and forecast of the electronic components aftermarket.

The study will:

  • Quantify in units and revenue dollars the current electronic replacement market
  • Examine failure modes and maintenance practices
  • Assess distribution channels and points of service
  • Identify life cycle differences and similarities


Parts Kitting: Adding Value for your Customer

I do a little home garage wrenching when I find the time. The other day I ordered a sensor online and when it arrived, I was dismayed to find the necessary o-ring did not come with it; I should have ordered a second part number. This delayed my repair and left me frustrated that the online site did not list the gasket as a complimentary part or simply include it in the box. Granted, I should have studied the description a little more….

Coming from the parts business, I know why this happens. The distributor gets the sensor from one supplier and the o-ring from another. Parts come in separate shipments and are then placed in separate bin locations in their parts warehouse. The computer doesn’t know they belong together unless someone tells it.

In this increasingly competitive market, distributors need to set themselves apart from the competition. One way is to implement parts kitting solutions for your customers. If you hand a customer a more convenient way to do something, chances are, if it is a good value, they’ll take it.

Step One -  do a detailed analysis of your sales data. Where do customers buy related parts together on a regular basis. Offer the customer the opportunity to purchase those parts as a kit. For example, does a customer seem to continuously purchase a water pump and gasket as separate line items? Why? You know and they know the gasket is needed, so why not sell it as one SKU? This saves your customer time in ordering and from hunting down yet another part both in your parts catalog or website as well as in their own parts department.

Other potential kit ideas:

PM kits – create different SKU’s by recommended maintenance intervals. Depending on the interval, include Oil, Air, Fuel filters and other necessary items like belts, drain plug washers, etc.

Wheel bearing kits – seals and bearings, castle nut, pin; per wheel end or per axle

Brake kits – calipers, rotors, pads; rotors and pads and related hardware

Any part that requires a gasket – include a new gasket

Parts that require new bolts or fasteners – include the bolts or fasteners

Step Two - interview your customer. What do they have a particular problem with? Which jobs have become costlier? Become a solution provider. In my prior life at a parts distributor, we had a customer who had a lot of drum brakes in their light duty truck fleet, but didn’t like the downtime necessary to change them out piece by piece. We set up a rebuilding shop in our parts warehouse and rebuilt their drum brakes – repainting the backing plates and fastening new shoes and hardware. The new SKU became a bolt-on solution. It cost more than the individual parts, but the new solution saved in labor and downtime.

Step Three - analyze your inventory. Do you have excess stock in brake pads? Putting parts into a kit can help move excess inventory. What parts should be sold together?

Kits may cost a little more in your upfront labor and should be priced accordingly. Most of the kits listed above are parts that would have been placed in the same box for shipment anyway. You are just doing that upfront instead of on the packing line. So, in most instances the incremental cost should be negligible. The ROI has to be there, but convenience, lower labor cost and less downtime are universally an easier sell. 


As seen in Truck Parts & Service Sept, 2016 Article by Lynn Buck

TMC in Spring 2017 - Booth


Have an interest in finding data to answer your aftermarket questions?  



We are looking at booth space at TMC (Feb 27 - March 2) and if you would like us to tap into the minds of fleets, this show is one of the best!



Save the Date

January 23, 2017, Las Vegas NV

Heavy Duty Aftermarket Dialogue

HDAD is an outlook conference, specifically directed toward the heavy duty aftermarket supplier industry. It is intended to provide an in-depth view of the prospects for the global, heavy duty industry’s aftermarket component for the next 5 years.

2017 HDAD Program Agenda is shaping up and will be released SOON!


Trivia Answer: Earth Wind & Fire