With all the advanced, high-tech resources available online to help parts buyers find replacement parts fast, you’d think the Internet would be the first place they would turn when faced with finding a part in a hurry. But much more often than not, parts buyers will grab the phone before they grab their mouse.
Why? Simple. Because an Internet search is only as powerful as the information you give the search engines. And if you only have a partial part number, well you might as well enter a random string of numbers and letters. Because your search isn’t going to be much more effective.
I’ll prove it. Try entering “part number 77559” in a search engine like Google or Ask.com. Go ahead, I’ll wait. You probably got nothing but unrelated responses, like one for a vacuum cleaner hose adapter, an audio processor or, the closest one, a cylinder head. Had this been a real replacement part emergency, you’d be in serious trouble with those responses.
Now major search engines aren’t set up to search for truck parts, so say you put that part number into the search box on a few parts websites instead. This partial part number in my example could be for a brake hose, sleeve, or an electric mirror depending on the manufacturer. To make matters worse, if you put a 1 in front, part 177559 could be a rotor.
And all of those responses won't show up on any one parts website. Most importantly, if you need it now, you’ll also need the responses to include a local supplier who has it in stock, and that is just about impossible to find on the web.
So this is what usually ends up happening: A mechanic brings a defective part to the counter and says he needs a new one as fast as possible -- if not faster. If the counter person doesn’t know the whole part number, or even who manufactured the part, he needs to find out what it is and who carries one before he can even begin to get the truck back on the road..
Since he can’t search the Net with the information he has, he turns to the phone and spends time calling a number of suppliers. The first calls are to find out what exactly it is he’s holding in his hand, and then once that’s been established, he has to make a second round of calls to find out who has it and how much it’s going to cost him.
More often than not, this process can involve as many as five to seven phone calls or more, plus hours spent waiting for people to get back to him with answers. And we know how expensive that can get for the shop, the drive, and the customer who is waiting for delivery.
So what’s the answer to make the Internet more useful for parts buyers to find the right part number and a local source fast? Use a dedicated parts search engine, like Part Search. And there are 3 important things to look for when deciding which to use:
First, the search engine you use needs to know that the buyer is only interested in parts for trucks, and nothing else, so that it filters results to only contain truck parts of some kind. Not audio or home appliance parts.
Second, the engine needs to give the buyer a way to quickly filter out truck parts that don’t relate by selecting a manufacturer or a part category, like brake hose. That way you don’t have to waste time digging through a number of possible engine parts to find the brake parts.
Third, it should show you alternate part numbers for the same parts. For example, Gates might make the hose, but any number of suppliers might sell it under their own numbers. And finally, just knowing what the part is and its full part number isn’t going to get your truck back on the road, it also needs to show you the sellers in your area that might carry it.
So find yourself a good parts search tool that gives you everything you need and lets you get your trucks back on the road, and let the Googles and Bings of the world find the really important things like “videos of cats playing piano.”