00:00 00:00

Podcast

The Amazon Experience for Heavy-Duty Parts

Learn about how FindItParts are helping shops and fleets get the parts they need, on time when they need it.

Episode 247: The parts business is an essential sector for keeping trucks and trailers on the road. However, there is a real problem for shops when it comes to finding the parts they need, sometimes ending up with trucks down for months, which can be devastating for fleets. FindItParts has come up with a solution for this by creating an Amazon-like experience in the heavy-duty parts industry.

David Seewack the CEO & Founder of Find It Parts. In this episode, learn about how FindItParts are helping shops and fleets get the heavy-duty parts they need, on time when they need it.

My guest today is David Seewack the CEO & Founder of Find It Parts.  

Guest Website: FindItParts.com

Watch the Video Version

Disclaimer: This content and description may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, The Heavy-Duty Parts Report may receive a small commission.

Sponsors of this Episode:

  1. Want to look up parts but don’t have a part number or the VIN? Download Diesel Parts for free on Desktop or on your Apple or Android device.
  2. Looking for high-quality fuel injection for heavy-duty applications? Buy now from AMBACInternational.com/Aftermarket
  3. Looking for suspension, steering, and 5th wheel parts? Buy now from SAMPA.com
  4. Looking for OEM genuine parts? Buy now from AlliantPower.com

Buy Parts:

Are you looking to purchase heavy-duty parts and get your commercial vehicle repaired? Get access to one of HDA Truck Pride’s 750 locations across the United States and Canada. Visit HeavyDutyPartsReport.com/BuyParts.

Transcript of Episode:

Jamie Irvine:

You are listening to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I’m your host, Jamie Irvine, and this is the show where you get expert advice about heavy-duty parts that keeps trucks and trailers on the road longer while lowering costs per mile. The parts business is an essential part of keeping commercial trucks and trailers on the road, and I’m really excited to have my guest with me today because they’ve got an extensive background in parts, both the traditional way and also some real insights into where we’re going as an industry from a digital perspective.

So my guest today is David Seewack. He’s the CEO and Founder of Find It Parts. David, welcome to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. So glad to have you here.

David Seewack:

Right back at you, Jamie. I’m really excited to be here on your show. Thanks for having me.

Jamie Irvine:

We’re going to talk about a couple different aspects of the business today, but for the listeners who maybe aren’t familiar with your background, I actually want to start with just maybe give us a little bit of a background so people understand where you come from in the parts world.

David Seewack:

So I started in the brick and mortar world. So I joined a family business in my early twenties and we were remanufactured of transmissions and differentials. And so I’ve been a counter guy, a warehouse guy, a truck driver, a sales guy. I’ve done everything in the space. So I was part of that business and we grew it from one branch location to 24 branch locations. So I’ve been in the business on the brick and mortar side my whole life until the time came that I transferred and changed the way in which I did business.

Jamie Irvine:

And so now with Find It Parts you focused on the digital side of the business. Just for those who maybe aren’t familiar with the company, just give us a brief overview of what Find It Parts is doing right now and then we’ll talk about trends.

David Seewack:

Sure. Well basically in my brick and mortar business, the big problem we had was many of our customers that came to our front door, we didn’t have the parts they were looking for and that was the biggest problem that we had and we were able to locate them and mark them up and sell ’em to our customers.

So after I exited the business, I had three years that I really kind of thought about the business and wanted to do it different. So I really wanted to build a marketplace with the greatest amount of SKUs online and make it super easy that if anyone’s looking for a part, certainly they can look local, but if not, they just type into Google and there will show up and you can buy the part online with a really easy experience.

Jamie Irvine:

And that actually touches on a major inefficiency in the parts business. So you and I, we’ve both been on the counter before we know what it’s like, the phones are ringing, people are coming to the counter and what happens about 20% of the time?

David Seewack:

So I mean it’s really funny, I learned this in my own business and I’ve validated with other people. It is just regular folks that are trying to help their customers at the counter, they’re at the back counter, they’re sales guys in the field and when they need 10 parts for a job or for a customer and they only have seven of them. So basically the journey is they try to find them within their ecosystem. If they have multiple branches, they look there. If not, they start dialing for dollar and they call one person after the other. And it’s just super time consuming. And my experience is that’s the journey that people are on today.

Jamie Irvine:

And this contributes to a lot of I think people have accepted it as reality up until this point, but if you think about it from the end user’s perspective, they’re waiting for their best part’s guy that they like to use to get back to them. And maybe that guy has six calls stacked up and he’s also trying to phone around and find this part that you particularly need for your truck. And what hangs in the balance of course is that truck needs to go, without the part, it can’t get back on the road, right?

David Seewack:

Yeah. So it’s really funny. So I’ve lived this right my whole life, this is what I’ve done. So it’s not like I’m a tech guy going into the e-comm business. I’m a truck parts guy that went online. So I went to visit a dealer two weeks ago and I’m like, what’s your biggest problem? And he was telling me, well finding parts is the biggest problem we have.

And he pointed over there and he said, see all those trucks, I have 60 trucks that are sitting there waiting for parts. There’s a truck that’s been there like a year. So the problem is universal. It doesn’t matter if you’re an OEM, an aftermarket, just finding parts, there are trucks that are parked because people can’t find parts. So it’s really something that we’re all experiencing.

Jamie Irvine:

And I think when you look at business problems, I think we have the tendency, first of all to accept the status quo. And second of all, sometimes I don’t think we do a good enough job of really evaluating what something is actually costing us. So from your perspective, if all of the parts people on the counter at your parts store are spending roughly 20% of their day just looking for parts, what kind of an economic impact does that have on the parts store?

David Seewack:

I don’t know that it’s all just about economics. I think it’s about when I just went and visited these locations, everyone’s busy so the phones are ringing and then so you’re talking to a customer, then a customer walks in front of you and then so the customer’s a little upset because he’s expecting you to help ’em and yet you’re on the phone talking to other customer and in the back of your mind you’re trying to locate the part for the customer you didn’t have the part for.

So it’s less about the economics than it is just making their lives easier. So as opposed to, because they’ll make a call local place kind of like you pointed out, they have to wait for a call back and that person also is busy. So I think it’s just the time and effort that it takes. It’s more than it is just about the economics.

Jamie Irvine:

And it has that trickle down effect because there’s inefficiency at the parts level. This causes frustration for the end user customer. This is where wait times can be 2, 3, 4 hours before you get a call back from someone. And then by that time, I mean it could be too late for today. So now that’s an entire day’s revenue gone.

David Seewack:

And what I find is even if you do business on a brick-and-mortar basis, you can walk in the front counter. If they have the part, great. If not, it depends on the hour of the day when you were to call in a distributor, you might call late in the afternoon and that truck won’t deliver it till the next day anyway. So jobs aren’t always of needed that same day. So if it’s PM, they wanna get it in out. So I think people overestimate how important it is that I get the part immediately.

Jamie Irvine:

I guess to your point, it does depend on the scenario. So we’ve got one situation where there’s a truck broken down and they need that part to finish a load. There’s another situation where, hey look, if I know when the part’s coming, I can schedule the repair accordingly. And so if I know it’s coming in a couple days, then I can make my shop more efficient by making sure that there’s trucks that actually can be fixed in my shop today and I’ll bring that other truck in tomorrow when the part shows up. So again, I think this loss of visibility of where the part is can also impact decisions that affect the efficiency of the fleet, the repair shop, the parts distribution company and so on.

David Seewack:

That’s exactly the way I look at it. So what we did to address the problem is we have 6 million parts on a website. So we have pretty much any part you’re looking for with the cross reference and we’re not looking to overcome and take over the truck parts business. It’s crazy. We want to be friends with the market, we want to solve the problem. So the local distributor’s going to do the best job taking care of that customer because they’re friends, they went to high school together and they have the part the same day. We just wanna help them when they don’t have the part that they need. So it really makes everyone’s life easier and it really gets a lot of people out of trouble for the way I look at it.

Jamie Irvine:

Okay, well we’re going to take a quick break. When we get back from the break, we’re going to talk more about the solution that you’ve built at Find It Parts. We’ll be right back.

Commercial Break:

Don’t have a heavy-duty part number and need to look up a part? Go to parts.diesellaptops.com or download the app on Apple or Android to create your free account.

Looking for high-quality fuel injection for heavy-duty applications? Having one supplier for fuel injection allows you to better serve customers by providing them with a complete line which increases your sales and profitability. Learn more at ambacinternational.com/aftermarket.

Parts availability and quality have a big influence on fleets and owner operators total cost of operation. If they can’t find a part, it means more downtime. If they install a low quality part and it fails, it means even more costs like tow bills, hotels, meals for the driver and lost revenue. That’s why we recommend Sampa. They manufacture a wide range of advanced parts for commercial vehicles. Their website has an intelligent product search engine and broad coverage of suspension, steering and fifth wheel components. Expect More. Expect Sampa. Visit sampa.com today.

Jamie Irvine:

Okay, we’re back from our break. And before the break, David, I think we did a good job of describing the daily reality of parts distribution and getting the part to the end user customer at the right time.

There’s a lot of challenges just built into the way that the business has to run in order to have inventory on the ground at the right location at the right time. And to your point, as we were discussing the solution that you’re building at Find It Parts, you recognize that that local inventory is an important part of the puzzle, but really I we’re really focusing on when that inventory isn’t available locally and that’s really the solution that you’ve tried to build your company around. So maybe go into a little more detail about how you thought about that and the type of solution that you developed.

David Seewack:

It is the problem. So what we built is we’re a virtual business. So in our business we don’t stock any inventory. So we want to do business with the entire market up and down the supply chain. So what we do is we get data feeds from our suppliers, which means we know what part is located where and when a consumer comes to our website. So we’ve ingested, we have over 6 million parts on our website. We know where you are the customer and we know where the part is.

So we can approximate how long it takes to get from A to B because we’ve loaded so many parts and cross references. If you’re looking for that part and we have it in our inventory, which is a high probability, you’ll know it’s going to take you two days to get there and then it’s as easy as one click away. So what we wanted to do is make it as easy as possible and recreate an Amazon experience. And we’re not Amazon clearly, but we wanna create that experience and have the customer support behind it. So you’re talking to a real company.

Jamie Irvine:

The logic behind what you’re doing really makes a lot of sense to me. So if I’m a parts person, I’m spending a lot of my day phoning around trying to find parts. At the same time I’m trying to field incoming people to the counter who are looking for parts and I’m answering phones and I’m probably responding to text messages and emails from my customers. Plus I probably have an outside salesperson out there who’s phoning in the counter pretty regularly looking for help finding parts as well.

David Seewack:

And your wife calling.

Jamie Irvine:

Right, oh yeah. And then you still have your life to deal with. Exactly. So what I see is in your solution is just such a smart way of going about it is by you kind of opening up the marketplace to show where parts are actually located with just a quick almost like a Google search. You go to find it parts, you go to the search bar, you put in the part you’re looking for, boom, it tells you where it is, tells you how far away it is, how much it’s going to cost. This is going to save a lot of time for parts people, but my question is, is this built just for the independent service channel or is this something that the dealership groups need help with as well?

David Seewack:

So we’re kind of like agnostic, meaning we don’t really care. So we bring in so much inventory from our supply chain. So we carry parts from automotive all the way on up to earth mover construction equipment. So basically we’re serving the entire market. We’re not looking to take over any market, we’re looking to just solve this problem up and down the channel.

So if you’re looking for any part we wanna solve the problem. If I can’t find it, we’ll have it for you. So it doesn’t matter if you’re a repair facility, you’re an OEM dealer, you’re an aftermarket distributor, we like to think we’re friends in that whole ecosystem because we’re not trying to take anyone’s business, we’re just looking to solve a problem. We’re not local and we are never going to be local.

Jamie Irvine:

And you’re just connecting people who need the part with people who have the part. So to me that that’s a good thing. But that also brings up a question about price. If people are buying the part from someone who has it in stock and then shipping it through you to the like what is this doing to their purchase price, wouldn’t that drive the cost up?

David Seewack:

Well the way we do our pricing is is we’re fair. So we’re not the cheapest guy in town, so we absorb the freight or anything over $50, we’ll pay the freight for if it has to go ltl, the customer has to pay the freight. So it’s really not about the price of the part. So we like to think we’re fair, we’re not competing any brick and mortar distributor isn’t going to say Find It Parts is ruining the market and selling for cost plus 10.

That’s not how we roll. So we really wanna be fairly priced. And again we found that it’s not about the price, it’s about the efficiency in solving the problem. So we try to be in the sweet spot, we might be cheaper, we might be more expensive, but we will be better on the part that they need and they’ll have full transparency.

Jamie Irvine:

And David, I mean let’s look at a situation where someone’s maybe got an oddball starter or alternator or something that they need and they can’t get it locally. I mean their truck is down and so that could be costing them what like $750 a day in downtime is kind of the average number floated by the technology and maintenance council and their research. I mean if you pay 20 bucks more for the part, but you can get it tomorrow and get your truck back on the road and that got your truck back on the road a day sooner, you just saved $730. So purchase price isn’t the only part of the cost, is it?

David Seewack:

No, I mean our customers are really calling us or going online cuz they need that part. So it’s never a price game. It is a price game clearly if someone wants to stock their shelves, but really our business model was really meant to serve and solve the problem of I have a truck or I have a job I’m working on, I do business with my local supplier, I love that guy or girl or whatever and we went to school together,

I want to do all my business over there but they don’t have this part and now I’m stuck and I gotta get this truck going. And that’s where we serve that market. So it’s not on price, it really is about, look, I need it, you have it and once I order it, I can trust that you’ll get it to me when you say you can. And that’s really pretty much where we shine.

Jamie Irvine:

And that part’s visibility, I know a lot of the fleets I’ve talked to over the last, like let’s say 18 months, especially with the supply chain shortages and issues with finding parts in general, they’ve all said the same thing. Visibility of where the part is just as important as availability.

David Seewack:

And we don’t tell ’em exactly where it is. So it’s not that we mask it, but the way in which we do business is we don’t tell them where the part’s located, we just know where they are and we know where the part is and we give them a date based on the analytics that we’ve proven out. So we don’t tell if they’re Nashville and the parts in Memphis, we just say that if you order it before this time, you’ll have it tomorrow.

Jamie Irvine:

But that’s what they need to know.

David Seewack:

Yeah, I mean because I don’t know where it’s coming. If I order from Amazon, I don’t know. I just know if I order from Amazon Prime, it’s going to be there in two days and I’m like literally I’m like a dog waiting for the owner to come home. I’m sitting at the front door waiting for my part. So it’s kind of that world that we’re living in now.

Jamie Irvine:

But again, this goes back to being able to schedule when repairs should go in the shop. I mean that is a huge part of why fleets are saying, look, we just want to know when the part’s going to arrive because then we’ll plan accordingly. And I think that’s just an important data point that is needed. And unfortunately in the older traditional way, there wasn’t as good.

You know, were very dependent on individual people to communicate that. And so on a good day you found out right away, on a day where people were having a bad day or they were too busy and they forgot, you might not know that. You know, think the part’s coming at three o’clock this afternoon doesn’t show up till the next day. Meanwhile there’s been a truck sitting in the bay and it’s tied up the bay and the truck isn’t going. So to me that’s just like bad, bad all the way around.

David Seewack:

So here’s the deal, we’re human beings, we’re really digital forward and we have what I think is really a fantastic solution. I think we’re the best out there, but we make mistakes like everybody else. So if we don’t know exactly where the part is or if our vendor told us they have it and they don’t, we just have folks behind the counter, or not a counter, but we have call centers and they’re just, they’re calling also. So we’re kind of like, we’re doing the calling for you. If we make mistakes like anyone else, we just own up to it and we try to make it right. Every human makes mistakes and we try to make less.

Jamie Irvine:

You already told us about one dealership that was having some trouble. Could you relate maybe another story of maybe an independent company that has used your service with good success? What was the situation and how were you able to help them and what was the end result?

David Seewack:

Sure. So one of the best ways to really understand who we are is just look at our reviews online. And when you see our reviews online, they’re like, oh my god, these guys had the part I’ve been looking for and I couldn’t find it and I got it when they promised. I think that tells the story. I mean, because I can tell you all these stories about we solved this guy’s problem or that guy’s problem. But when you hear it from the market, when you hear it from independent people that are posting like Google reviews, I say liars figure and figures let never lie.

So if you just look, those are the stories really. I mean if you talk to the customers, they’re like, I called the dealer and he said it’s not available. The truth is that guy may have been busy, he might have typed the number in wrong, who knows what happened. We’re just human beings. So I think the stories are , I’m so happy I found the part. You got it to me and you got it in the right amount of time and they’re happy.

Jamie Irvine:

Yeah, exactly. You’ve been listening to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I’m your host, Jamie Irvine, and we’ve been speaking with David Seewack, the CEO and Founder of Find It Parts. To buy parts from Find It Parts, go to finditparts.com. Links will be in the show notes. David, thanks for taking a few minutes to talk to us about this. I think the solution that you focused on, the problems that you’re solving for the industry, it’s an important part of what we need to do to make our industry more efficient. I think you’re a real blessing to all of us, so thank you for everything that you’re doing.

David Seewack:

Oh, my pleasure. Thanks for having me on. And I hope that people, when they try me out that they love it. And if they don’t, find me on LinkedIn and you can tell me that you had a problem, I’ll call you.

Share this:
Twitter
Facebook
LinkedIn
Email
Related:

FOLLOW THE PODCAST

Receive a weekly email with links to the latest episodes.

North America’s largest most trusted independent provider of parts and service.

Find Heavy-Duty Truck Parts Fast. VIN decoder included.

Fuel Injection for
Heavy-Duty Applications

Suspension | Steering | 5th Wheel

OEM Genuine Parts

Search