Independant Parts (IP) is a heavy duty truck and trailer parts supplier to the transport, agriculture and mining industries. With branches in Kewdale and Port Hedland, the business supplies remanufactured differentials and transmissions via a new and comprehensive exchange program. It also provides truck drive and steer wheel bearings and seals, trailer wheel bearing and seals and everything from the taper rolling bearings up to and including unitised bearings. Another segment of the IP business involves truck air dryer systems and replacement cartridge systems for fleets.
IP CEO and Managing Director, Ray Albert, says his firm has shared a good supplier and customer relationship with SKF for many years, working in conjunction with IP customers alike for all transport maintenance solutions where required.
“The quality and supply performance of SKF places SKF as one of the more proactive, strong suppliers within the IP group,” he says. “In total, I have been working with SKF for 30-plus years – from the days of a storeman to sales, and now in the role of close relationships with SKF.”
Truck hub units from SKF, Ray says, are a great way of eliminating wheel bearing and adjustment issues that are frequently encountered in the market.
“This assembly takes that issue away and saves downtime overall in the maintenance process,” he says. “Currently, we supply a large quantity of the unitised bearing (THU 1) product to the trailer market and as the market moves towards the complete hub replacement design (THU 2) we will work with SKF as a premium supplier to continue to service this market as it develops.”
These SKF products are also ideal for reducing heavy vehicle downtime.
“Everything is preset,” Ray says. “So, the maintenance fitter simply fits the hub assembly up to the wheel end. No adjusting, no measuring – simply fit and off we go.”
Truck hub units, thanks in part to their compact, weight optimised design, can also help to eliminate the risk of any potential installation errors and also allow for greater freedom from maintenance requirements.
“It is a positive all around,” Ray says. “Wheel bearing tolerances are preset, speed of installation and downtime is reduced and it is still weight sensitive. Ultimately, SKF is at the forefront of modern bearing technologies with quality European made products that provide excellent value for money and high-end quality. From a fleet perspective to an end user, the value of the product is at a premium without the premium end cost.”
SKF also adds value to IP’s business due in part to being a well-known brand in the industry. Ray says customers often specify them by name when ordering parts.
“I think that speaks volumes of the product,” he says. “We have found that in the air dryer market that aftermarket products just don’t live up to the quality of the SKF air dryer components. We see plenty of failures time after time with competitors’ products against the Genuine SKF air dryer cartridge. Larger fleets are requesting the SKF wheel bearings for their annual services rather than competitor wheel bearings. The confidence is definitely in the product. This adds a positive to our business.”
Most of IP’s dealing with SKF are via SKF Product Manager – Vehicle Aftermarket, Chris Hayes.
“Dealing with Chris is fantastic,” Ray says. “We catch up regularly and forecast our product usage in advance for ordering purposes. Chris will then manage and discuss each month and provide constant updates on lead times and of any disruptions of supply. From my perspective this is a strong building block of a relationship with Chris and SKF. SKF is one of our more highly regarded suppliers in our supply chain.”