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7 Reasons why leading facilities continue to rely solely on genuine parts from the OEM

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The true cost of non-OEM spare parts and replacement pieces is often overlooked by short-term thinking that makes them attractive at first, but more expensive in the long run

Tempting, isn’t it?.

With budgets and financial considerations always among the absolute highest priorities when it comes to business decisions, it can be enticing to consider substituting original equipment manufacturer (OEM) spare parts with cheaper non-OEM items or used surplus items.

But looks can be deceiving

When all the factors are correctly taken into account including aspects such as the hourly cost of industrial process downtime, the safety impacts and costs of an avoidable accident, and professional support and warranty implications of non-original parts the true benefits of going the surplus or non-OEM route are most often insignificant.

Furthermore, if less-tangible emotional aspects such as anxiety about the risk of having chosen the seemingly ‘cheaper’ parts are added in, deciding to use original OEM parts almost always makes it the better option – in terms of both economics and risk. In the following paragraphs, we go through all the items that you may want to consider when weighing the “OEM vs non-OEM sourced” parts decision.

The true cost of ownership

OEM parts are, as the name implies, designed, built and tested to meet the original specifications of the original equipment. They are made to give optimal reliability at a competitive price, and no factor is more important to people working in process industries than reliability. On the other hand, if a non-OEM part is selected the risk is high that the build quality or the design, or both, can be inferior. And poor part quality or design increases the chances of a process breakdown, with negative and very expensive impacts on maintenance costs, production line quality, and output of saleable goods.

Did you just inadvertently void your warranty?

By choosing genuine OEM parts, you are guaranteed that the applicable warranties will still be valid. Conversely, the use of non-OEM, generic parts can void the system warranty. Along these lines, use of authentic original parts also helps avoid secondary damage to auxiliary parts and systems that can arise from using inferior spare parts.

Supply chain visibility

Play it safe; Play it smart. Always specify original spare parts from ABB for all your ABB equipment.

By using non-OEM parts, you are shortsightedly cutting the critical cord that exists between the OEM and your supply chain. As a result, your OEM loses helpful insight regarding your inventories and parts needs, thereby harming their unique ability to help you predict and meet the long-term requirements of your parts supply chain.

Increased safety incident risk

OEM parts are designed for the highest reliability and safety. While buying inferior quality non-OEM parts may initially save you short-term costs at the time of purchase, they can have far greater negative impacts – and costs – for your people and facilities in the slightly longer term.

Wrong or incompatible parts arrive

With today’s digitally-linked systems, OEMs can easily send updates about new part modifications, availability and compatibility to ensure superior equipment performance and top-level lifecycle support. In addition, Critical Engineering Change Notices (ECNs), Firmware Updates and Revisions can only come from the OEM. Non-OEM suppliers often lack the tools and access, not to mention the interest and resources, to provide this level of service. This lack of service is hard to appreciate until a critical “wrong update or incompatible spare parts” situation arises – causing extended troubleshooting and costly additional downtime.

Looks can be very deceiving

Surplus parts suppliers will often advertise an item as “new”, but this is an impossibility as they are not part of the authorized supply chain. Thus, it is not new, but has been resold at some point and you can’t determine the path this part has taken. How long ago was it made and sold? Who actually made it? How was it stored and handled? Have all of the ECNs and updates been performed and tested? There are too many unanswered questions surrounding parts like this to justify any savings.

The whole is, quite literally, greater than the sum of its parts

Relying on inferior quality parts in any process, system or plant equipment can have far reaching and unanticipated impacts on the overall facility. As the famous saying states, The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Don’t risk the whole process – and your production quality and reliability – by using substandard parts anywhere in your plant.
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