Since the onset of the pandemic, many businesses, perhaps including yours, had to make adjustments in order to keep the operations lean, functional, and up to speed. Now, more than ever, our financial wisdom is a must for the warehousing and logistics sector.
And when it comes to your commercial vehicles, finding the right parts can be frustrating. This applies most especially when you are working within a stricter budget with one too many options to choose from. For this, you need a simplified way of purchasing the right parts for your commercial vehicles and material handling equipment.
In this article, we’ll focus on differentiating an OEM versus an Aftermarket parts available in our Singapore branch so that when it’s time to purchase spare parts, you will have both ease and confidence.
The Two Choices
You will come across two major classes of parts when you scroll through the different sites and stores: Aftermarket and OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer).
Aftermarket refers to parts and equipment that are more commonly known as ‘replacement parts.’ These are parts that are not produced by the same manufacturer of the original part that is up for a change. Many suppliers offer alternative parts that offer the same function but with several distinctions by a competing supplier. These parts may come with customizations, variations, and most of all, a generally lesser price than the original manufacturer. This is the general appeal of Aftermarket parts and equipment. For the most part, they are cheaper. And at first glance, that gives them quite an edge when it comes to buyers looking to replace their equipment.
On the other hand, we have OEM parts. These are made by the same company that your vehicle’s manufacturer gets their parts from. With these parts, you can be assured that you will get the exact same part with the perfect fit and function. Before, you can only get these OEM parts directly from official suppliers or dealerships. But today, these manufacturers have made their parts available in many different outlets to better provide for their customers. If you’re the type who wants to adhere to the original form of things, and you want a part that will be ‘plug and play’ with no added complications, then getting an OEM part is the way to go.
Now as a customer, you have the daunting task of choosing whether it is wiser and more cost-efficient to acquire Aftermarket alternatives or get an OEM part straight from the source.
The Pros & Cons
It is difficult to say outright which strategy is better. There are different arguments on both sides of the fence on which is the smarter move to make. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of Aftermarket and OEM parts.
Right off the bat, an OEM part is the safer choice. You are assured of the quality, function, and fit of the exact part you are trying to replace. Many original manufacturers even provide additional services when you purchase replacement parts from them. Also, as a general rule, parts from the same original manufacturer work well together. So, there is much less of a likelihood for complications to occur. Troubleshooting is also much simpler if you have OEM parts. As you can determine exactly how each part is performing and it is easier to spot malfunctions without having to worry about defects or incompatibility issues. If you want a worry-free decision despite the usually higher cost, an OEM part is the way to go.
What about Aftermarket parts? Years ago, considering the purchase of parts not made by the original manufacturer would have been unheard of. Terms like ‘knockoffs’ or ‘fakes’ were thrown around and almost everybody preferred the original. But the service and quality of competing manufacturers have greatly increased in recent years. Now there is a steady supply of viable alternatives to all kinds of machine and trucking parts that consumers can choose from. These second-option manufacturers have stepped-up their game and improved the service that they provide. Many have proceeded to integrate customizations in their machine parts, offering additional features or variations. Others present the option of being custom-built, creating parts and accessories according to the buyer’s specifications. Aftermarket parts have now entered the market with a strong position, giving options that are both viable and affordable, and even with greater available supply.
One of the key elements of Aftermarket parts is the cost. Straight-up, they are a cheaper alternative. Since they do not carry the branding and the quality-control of the original manufacturer, these parts can be produced much cheaper and much faster. If you are in the market to replace your part or unit under a tight budget, these secondary-option parts may be the right fit for you.
The Test of Quality
If cost is the first thing that comes into mind when it comes to shopping for replacement parts, a close second would be the product’s quality. So when it comes to quality, do OEM parts trump Aftermarket parts? The answer is a complicated yes and no.
Quality assurance is one of the strong points of the bigger manufacturing companies. Backed by decades of production and consumer satisfaction, original equipment manufacturers have a reputation to uphold when it comes to the parts and services that they provide. This said, their products come with a definite guarantee that is supported by the name and capability of their company. Simply put, they will stand behind the quality of their products with confidence. And as a consumer, you are assured of that as well.
On the other hand, Aftermarket parts are supplied by newer and younger companies that are in to take a part of their share in the market. Many of these manufacturers are in the phase of starting out and introducing their name to buyers as an alternative to the established brands. With this said, there is very little that a shopper can know about the quality and capabilities of their product. There is very little information, testing, or user experience and recommendation. Apart from maybe a little word-of-mouth or other means, you would have very few sources to relay to you about the quality and usability of these new alternative products.
This does not always mean though that they are poorer or inferior in quality. The materials used may be different and the location where they were manufactured may be in another place entirely, but this does not mean that they are made in bad quality. Especially for the layman, as long as the replaced part works and is affordable, the problem is simply solved.
Supply and Demand
While the debate can go on about the pricing and quality between Aftermarket and OEM parts, one consideration has to be taken into account: market availability. Regardless if a product comes from the original manufacturer or from an alternate supplier, a consumer’s question is ‘is it available?’
Supply is also an important factor that buyers look for when it comes to looking for a replacement part. Sometimes there is a quick demand for the quality-tested option from the original manufacturer but because of the long process it takes to order and acquire a specific part, customers become disgruntled and opt to go for another option entirely. It can also happen that because of the large demand for cheaper replacement parts, a customer can no longer find the part that is needed because they are always out of stock and off the shelves.
The question of whether it is better to purchase OEM parts versus Aftermarket parts can go on. But one question we can give to help potential customers decide is simple; ‘how bad do you need it?’ If you want to be rest assured that your part is backed up by quality and service as well as it can work well with the original equipment, then a part from the OEM may be the best answer for you. But if you are up for a quick replacement to hop on back to work as fast as possible, then Aftermarket parts can offer you the quickest and possibly the cheapest alternative.
All in all, it boils down to your choice. Are your needs immediate? What is your budget range? Are you particular with a specific set of brands? Do you want new customizations? These are questions that you need to get to in order to decide on the better alternative.