YOU'VE got a Mack or a Freightliner and need a part.
You wouldn't go into a TRP store because they are part of the Paccar conglomerate which, as we all know is Kenworth and DAF here in Australia. Right? Wrong!
Some years ago in Europe, Paccar realised that its vast dealer network and company buying power would lend itself to another, separate entity - quality products at a reasonable price, no matter the brand of truck. The strategy called for outlets to be stand-alone (rather than at, say a Kenworth Dealership) and to be spread across the country, rather than concentrated in major cities only, thus allowing greater access to the truck driving industry.
Today, there are 134 TRP stores globally, spread throughout Europe, North and Central America. On Saturday, John Everett, TRP's national sales and marketing manager, and his team had the pleasure of officially opening the latest outlet at 39 Selkirk Drive, Wendouree in Ballarat's industrial belt.
Ballarat is the fourth store to be opened in Australia by TRP.
The first opening 18 months ago at Burton on the north side of Adelaide, was followed in February last year with Geelong. Pakenham, still to have its official opening, has been trading since the beginning of this year.
"We are looking to roll out another three or four stores per year,” said John.
"TRP is looking to invite in everybody from the industry, including second and third owners. We want to be everything to everybody, so if a Mack or Freightliner, or in fact any other branded truck owner is looking for parts, we think we can offer some really good alternatives for those makes.
"In this store we currently have 2,100 lines of stock worth around $600,000 and are constantly increasing our stockholding. It is important to know what your local area's needs are, so we are in regular dialogue with our customers, which allows us to refine our stock in terms of meeting their requirements. If, for example, the leading truck brand in this area was Freightliner, we would obviously lean this store's inventory toward that brand.”
TRP is not looking to go to the bottom in terms of price. Rather, the business offers great quality products at good prices. Every product TRP brings to market has gone through a very rigorous testing process.
As an example, Erin Pistorito attended the opening, representing the company who manufactures TRP branded brake shoes and disc-brake pads.
"All of our brake shoes and pads have ECR 90 approval (European) or FM VSS (North American legislation). What that means is that all of the products are being tested and certified to meet those standards. In the absence of any legislation in Australia demanding tests for after market brake parts we decided it was important to prove that our products would reach those standards. TRP in turn realise that they are sourcing a certified product that they can put their good name to.”
John said: "Paccar is standing behind this business so it is Paccar's reputation on the line. We look at various supply sources, depending on the product. A lot of the product you see is coming from OE suppliers - brand names that you would recognise. We're not interested in carrying a 'good-better-best' product range. The TRP brand is one that gets respected and people recognise as being of quality.”
TRP stores don't just sell TRP branded product but also a range of quality vendor brands. JOST and XRay Vision Lighting joined the TRP team for the Ballarat opening, displaying some of their wares.
"We carry a large range of all the vendor brands that you would expect to see.
"We may be the new boys on the block but at Paccar one of our cornerstones is availability. We have next-day delivery to most of the Paccar network. That allows us to roll that ability onto the TRP stores. Availability is an absolute cornerstone of Paccar.
"Obviously the parts business is all about uptime and keeping the trucks rolling. So increasing our footprint and penetrating the older vehicle market of all makes is really what these stores are about.
"It's also about getting out to the regional areas rather than people having to get into the CBD to obtain parts. It's definitely giving more exposure to our peak brand and reaching the regional guys and showing them that they have support no matter what they might be driving.
"We've been told by our customers that being here is really important to them. The turnaround with which they can now obtain parts saves time - and it is a time critical industry.”
So, no matter what truck you drive, keep an eye out for the red, white and blue TRP sign.
It won't be too long before there's one near you.