OEM Is Not Always Available

Original equipment manufacturer
Original Equipment Manufacturer
OEM, of course, stands for original equipment manufacturer. Believe it or not, if you are buying a Ford or Toyota or any other kind of car, almost all the parts in your car are not manufactured by the same brand. For example, if you bought a BMW, chances are the engine is built by the Bavarian Motor Works out of Germany. The rest of the parts, from your door handles to your tires to your interior fender or quarter panel parts, are probably produced by a wide range of suppliers.

These suppliers are called original equipment manufacturers. They are all rebranded under the name of the manufacturer of the car you bought. So, if you bought a Ford Explorer, for example, all the items would say “Ford” but Ford would know immediately that if you need an ashtray, where to get the ashtray? It’s not made by Ford. It’s made by a supplier.

Understand how OEM works because OEM is really all about the manufacturer, in this case Ford, farming out the specific manufacturer of the different parts that go into a Ford truck or car. Obviously, Ford cannot really afford to make all of these in-house. That’s why it farms a large chunk of its manufacturing out and it just assembles the car.

Understand how this works because OEM, sadly, is not always available. This is especially true if we are talking about a car that is maybe 30 to 40 years old. At that point in time, you are at the mercy of the aftermarket manufacturers. The good news is that there are high-quality aftermarket part makers and low-quality part makers.

Your job at this point in time is to avoid low-quality players. How do you know? Well, they would take an original part and make a plaster or rubber mold out of it. They would then manufacture products based on the mold or model. For certain parts this is okay. For example, for door handles, this is perfectly acceptable. However, if we’re talking about your transmission or some other mission critical part of your car, you are rolling the dice.

I’m not just talking about gambling with your money. I’m also talking about taking serious risks with your life or the lives of your customers. You have to understand that when it comes to OEM replacement, you really have to have your antenna up and you need to be very, very skeptical because if there is any kind difference between the aftermarket part and the original part, somehow someway, somebody will feel the impact of that difference. You might be out hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawsuit settlement money because you went with the wrong aftermarket manufacturer.

As the global market of suppliers for aftermarket parts continue to expand by the day, it becomes harder and harder to track suppliers who you know can be trusted. So, understand how this works because if you’re clueless to the dynamics behind this as well as the economics underpinning all of these, it’s anybody’s guess what would happen to you personally or to your business.