Open Letter to the Towing and Recovery Industry from Bob Nelson, Jerr-Dan
In 2022, Jerr-Dan is celebrating its 50th year in business. While preparing for this milestone anniversary, we paused to take a look back at the long and winding road that has brought us to where we are today.
As the single brand leader in the towing and recovery industry, it is not often that we stop to look in the rear-view mirror. We generally operate with an eye on the road in front of us.
Today, that road looks a bit daunting.
With inflation rates at a four-decade high, widespread supply chain disruptions, a tight labor market, logistics challenges, increasing fuel and insurance costs and the threat of increasing interest rates, it’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. A major chassis shortage further complicates the situation.
Truck OEMs are unable to deliver the chassis needed to meet the demand of tow equipment manufacturers and have moved to “allocating” available inventory in 2022. They anticipate that supply will fall short of demand through 2023 and perhaps into early 2024.
These shortages limit Jerr-Dan’s manufacturing volumes. And we are not alone. Competitive manufacturers are equally experiencing these market conditions and unfortunately, there is no quick fix on the horizon.
That said, and as difficult as it may be to see today, every business challenge presents an opportunity for improvement.
First and foremost, Jerr-Dan remains focused on building trucks to satisfy customer demand. To do so we are working diligently and getting creative to secure the parts and chassis needed to build product.
To keep driving our business, your business and the industry forward, we have allocated resources to three key areas: proactive customer communications, product development and operator training.
In terms of communication, we are being transparent with customers so that they can work through fleet planning and make business decisions with the most up-to-date information. A customer is the first to know if a part or chassis is delayed which will impact their delivery.
The Jerr-Dan product specialist and engineering teams are heavily focused on working to develop products from customer feedback. This rich level of customer input is helping us define our future products.
And finally, we strongly support operator training. One tower is killed in the line of duty every 6 days. This is an unacceptable statistic we take to heart at Jerr-Dan. We are upgrading our training facilities, capabilities, and programs to get more operators trained to change this statistic going forward.
As an industry, we need to pull together during these tough times. We can’t bury our heads and ignore inflation. We must practice pricing discipline to remain healthy. That means as costs increase, pricing must be adjusted and/or surcharges instituted to keep businesses healthy and tow trucks in service.
In today’s marketplace, if you aren’t changing, you are dying. Gone are the days, at least for now, when customers can arrive at a trade show with the expectation of buying a tow truck. Those on display are in most instances already sold. Customers who want to minimize business disruptions should embrace fleet planning, forecast purchases, and secure financing well in advance.
While this is our 50th year in business, we haven’t seen anything like this in our first 50 years. As always, we are committed to our customers and to doing what we can to mitigate cost impacts. This is how we have led the way since 1972 and how we will remain a market leader for the next 50 years.
Keep Driving Forward,
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JerrDan, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation [NYSE: OSK] company, is a leading manufacturer of towing and recovery equipment. Its full line includes light-, medium- and heavy-duty carriers and wreckers, industrial transporters and four-car carriers. The company is headquartered in Hagerstown, MD., and its products are backed by industry leading warranties and a strong service network dedicated to the towing professional. To learn more about Jerr-Dan, visit www.jerrdan.com.
About Oshkosh Corporation
At Oshkosh (NYSE: OSK), we make innovative, mission-critical equipment to help everyday heroes advance communities around the world. Headquartered in Wisconsin, Oshkosh Corporation employs nearly 15,000 team members worldwide, all united behind a common cause: to make a difference in people’s lives. Oshkosh products can be found in more than 150 countries under the brands of JLG®, Pierce®, Oshkosh® Defense, McNeilus®, IMT®, Jerr-Dan®, Frontline™, Oshkosh® Airport Products, London™ and Pratt Miller. For more information, visit www.oshkoshcorp.com.
®, ™ All brand names referred to in this news release are trademarks of Oshkosh Corporation or its subsidiary companies.
Forward Looking Statements
This news release contains statements that the Company believes to be “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than statements of historical fact, including, without limitation, statements regarding the Company’s future financial position, business strategy, targets, projected sales, costs, earnings, capital expenditures, debt levels and cash flows, and plans and objectives of management for future operations, are forward-looking statements. When used in this news release, words such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “intend,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “should,” “project” or “plan” or the negative thereof or variations thereon or similar terminology are generally intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors, some of which are beyond the Company’s control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These factors include the overall impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company’s business, results of operations and financial condition; the duration and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic; actions that may be taken by governmental authorities and others to address or otherwise mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on global economies and the Company’s customers, suppliers and employees; and the cyclical nature of the Company’s Access Equipment, Commercial and Fire & Emergency markets, which are particularly impacted by the strength of U.S. and European economies and construction seasons.