Tuesday, November 6, 2012

O.E.M. vs. Aftermarket: The Choice Is Simple

For many years, dealer parts managers have had to play a "juggling" act when comes to choices between stocking only Original Equipment Manufacturers parts, (O.E.M.) to mixing in some aftermarket parts into their inventories. There are many reasons for both sides of the argument, pending on market areas, demographics, competition or just plain common sense decisions.

First of all, I am a true believer that O.E.M. parts are best for the overall performance of the vehicles manufactured today. They also provide the best "fit" and in most cases, are backed by the best warranties in the industry. Most would also agree that O.E.M. parts are the top choice of most technicians when it comes to the overall quality of repairs.

With the infiltration of many "counterfeit" parts vendors today, parts managers have to consider the quality of the parts manufactured as well, which makes the choice rather easy for those "O.E.M. Only" parts managers. It is also much easier from an accounting standpoint with manufacturer invoicing, discounts and return allowances as well inventory protection programs.

This all sounds good except that we have left "choice" out of the above equation, thus leading to the title of this article..."The Choice Is Simple". I believe that in some cases, we need to give our customers more of a choice, when it comes to their vehicle repair options. Many of the manufacturers' pricing policies on some highly competitive parts are much higher than aftermarket competitors parts of equal quality.

One case in point that comes to mind is the pricing of brake parts with some manufacturers. I'm not going to single out any particular manufacturer, but I do believe a better job can be done in order to be more competitive. Standard brake repairs can vary by hundreds of dollars, thus resulting in "lost repair opportunities" and more customer "price shopping" at aftermarket facilities.

Even though some manufacturers offer some "good, better, best" parts options, in some cases, a high quality aftermarket part can out perform the lesser of these manufacturer options. Even though many of us believe that price shouldn't be an issue, we still have to be competitive and be somewhere "in the ballpark".

Another little tidbit that we all have to be aware of is that many parts are made by only a few different vendors and labelled by the individual manufacturer for re-distribution. Each year, vehicle manufacturers constantly bid with outside vendors on many replacement parts as well as original equipment parts.

We have to look back at how we lost so much of our repair and maintenance business to aftermarket vendors in the first place. We all know how much convenience, quality service and value has played in getting some of that business back, now we have look closer at providing those same three principles with even more competitive pricing.

Giving our customers more of a "choice" in some of these basic repair and maintenance items will lead to more sales because we are giving them options "within" our stores. In many cases, we have only given them the option of choosing "where" they will have their vehicle serviced.

So, the choice IS simple when it comes to some of these basic repair and maintenance items...give your customers more of a choice. We need to think "OF" our customers, not "FOR" our customers!

Dave Piecuch is the Vice President of Automotive Consultants Group Inc. and is the Head Coach for Smart PartsTM. The only "Results Based" High Return Training, Coaching, and Consulting company in the world!  Dave can be reached at Cell 786-521-1720 or E-mail at dave@smartservicetraining.com Vist our Website at www.smartpartstraining.com