As consumers, we are presented with many options everyday and it isn’t always clear which option is best for us. For instance, when you get a flat tire, you can either go to the dealer where you got the car for a new tire or you can go to your local mechanic. Both will have tires that will fit your car, and get you back on the road. But what is the difference? The difference is almost always price and availability. The car dealer has a set price and may need to order the tires you need. While typically speaking, the mechanic is able to be a bit more competitive in his or her pricing and usually has many options to choose from. While building, marketing and selling automobiles is the car dealer’s primary focus, providing good, affordable and timely service is the mechanic’s business. Aftermarket parts in the floor care industry works much in the same way.
WHAT DO THESE TERMS MEAN?
The term OEM stands for ‘Original Equipment Manufacturer.’ There is a common misconception around just what that means. Some people describe a part as an OEM item, this could mean the part is manufactured by the same company who manufactures the machine it fits. Or more often than not, it simply means the parts themselves are manufactured by the same manufacturer that the equipment company selected to use in its finished goods. The term Aftermarket, when describing a part, means the item is made by a different component manufacturer than the OEM item, but it is marketed as comparable in fit and function.
SELECTION & QUALITY
While you may think you are getting the best value by purchasing the OEM item through the equipment manufacturer, there can be some down sides. First off, the equipment manufacturer will only carry the one option, the OEM item, and it will likely carry a higher price than other options in the market. Additionally, because they only carry one option, it is not uncommon for it to be out of stock, causing a delay in your repair.
On the contrary, parts companies that offer aftermarket solutions will likely have a selection to choose from that can include the OEM item as well as others that will fit and perform the same, for a much lower cost. Since they are a company that focuses solely on parts, they often keep a very large inventory of the parts you need, are very sensitive and competitive with their pricing, and they understand the importance of quick delivery.
Are All "Aftermarket Companies" Equal?
Warning…not all aftermarket parts are of the same quality. Unfortunately, in the pursuit of driving down cost, some aftermarket companies sacrifice quality and market inferior products. That’s why it’s important to use an aftermarket part supplier that takes quality very seriously and places it above price in terms of priority. One that certifies the parts they sell as not only fitting, but also performing the same as the OEM counterpart.
Aftermarket parts can and do fit and perform the same as OEM parts when sourced and selected responsibly and with care. When considering your parts suppliers, select a partner that is just as critical of its product selection. If you do that, then you are sure to not only get quality parts, but also enjoy the best selection, price, availability and service.
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