DTNA parts distribution centre, IowaDaimler Trucks North America (DTNA) has inaugurated its ninth parts distribution centre (PDC) in Grimes, Iowa, with the aim of providing a faster next-day delivery service for the aftermarket and a stronger focus on the customer.

“With the opening of the PDC in Iowa, 80% of dealer order volume in the US can [now] be delivered by the next day,” said Jay Johnson, DTNA’s general manager of aftermarket supply chain. “Fast shipments are only part of our larger strategy to deliver uptime and improve the customer experience,” he added.

Situated 10km north-west of Des Moines, the centre will allow the company to provide a speedier service to clients in the Midwest.

“Uptime is critical to our customers’ business and having the right part at the right time is essential to achieve a 24-hour or less service turnaround time,” said Stefan Kurschner, DTNA’s senior vice-president of aftermarket.

DTNA has one of the largest dealer networks across the US and has created a continuous improvement programme called Elite Support, which is controlled by the dealers themselves and designed to improve the company's aftermarket service.

Speaking at The Supply Chain Conference this week in Atlanta, Georgia, Johnson outlined some of the thinking behind DTNA’s parts distribution strategy in North America and revealed the company would be opening a tenth PDC next year with the goal of increasing the level of next-day deliveries to 90%. The move is part of a culture change at DTNA to improve delivery and maintain uptime of fleet vehicles, he said.

“We believe that is a competitive advantage for servicing and maintaining uptime [of vehicles],” he said. “But we didn't do just that. We also created a programme for our dealers so they wouldn't have to order parts individually at the dealership. We have a retail inventory management programme that helps the dealer put the right stock on the shelves.”

According to Johnson, that tool has resulted in some dealerships achieving a 20 point gain in business at the counter. “If you don't have the part or you can't get it fairly rapidly, the business is gone,” he said.

The opening of the ninth PDC in DTNA's supply chain network in North America follows last year's opening of one in Indianapolis and the opening of a Dallas PDC in 2016.

Based in Portland, Oregon, the company manufactures heavy-duty trucks, producing and marketing commercial vehicles under the Freightliner, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses brands.