The North American Building Material Distribution Association (NBMDA), a Smithbucklin client, is a trade association representing the leading wholesale distributors of specialty building materials for interiors. NBMDA launched a unique program several years ago designed to lower its members’ costs and risks while also enhancing their knowledge and comfort in a key area of their operations – managing their truck fleet leases.
NBMDA members regularly operate large fleets of trucks that are core to their business operations and are sometimes difficult to secure and maintain. The fleets are extremely expensive and members don’t always have the resources and depth of staff to properly negotiate the truck leases, leaving them vulnerable to aggressive leasing companies, hidden costs, and complicated leasing agreements. The absence of expertise coupled with high risk leasing agreements created an opportunity for NBMDA to align itself with a strong partner in order to best serve its members.
To find a partner, the Smithbucklin team that supports NBMDA worked to gather insights from members on their challenges surrounding truck fleet management – specifically, the negotiation of truck fleet leases. NBMDA then discovered several niche consulting firms that specialize in working with private companies that operate large truck fleets, and have the specific goal of helping lower risk and costs. A member company introduced NBMDA to a leading truck fleet consulting firm that was interested in marketing its services through a trade association in an effort to reach a large group of potential customers.
After a short trial program, NBMDA decided to partner with the truck fleet consulting firm, which has provided NBMDA’s members with a wealth of education and information around truck leases. The consulting firm also completes a risk-free audit of members’ current leases and creates a comprehensive report about the health of their leases and how they could potentially lower their costs. Members have the option of using the consulting firm to lead the renegotiations with their vendor if they choose, or to simply take their recommendations. Members who choose to engage the firm receive a discount on their services and pay an amount based on the percentage that the firm is able to save them on their current leases, and NBMDA receives a royalty for every engagement that the firm closes with its members. The firm also provides NBMDA with content for its newsletters, content hubs, social media platforms, and events.
NBMDA’s partnership with the truck fleet consulting firm has resulted in its members experiencing significant cost savings following the engagement of the firm. One member company saved over $1 million throughout the course of a multi-year leasing agreement due to the size of their fleet and cost savings opportunities that they were not previously aware of. In addition to cost reductions, the program has helped NBMDA’s members increase their knowledge of truck leases and the inherent risks of not staying up to date on trends and best practices in the space. The program has proven to be a success – NBMDA has received exceptionally positive feedback from a growing number of members who greatly appreciate the fact that the consulting firm lowers their business costs and provides them with valuable resources.
Georgie Seago is in the Corporate Marketing unit at Smithbucklin.