OEM vs OCM vs Aftermarket Parts

When it comes to maintaining and repairing your heavy equipment, forklifts, heavy-duty trucks, and more, selecting the right replacement parts is crucial. While you need the new part to serve the same function as the one it is replacing, there are typically a few different choices. Among the available options are OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), OCM (Original Component Manufacturer), and Aftermarket parts. In this blog post, we’ll explore these three categories, highlighting their distinctions to help you make informed decisions regarding your equipment’s maintenance and repairs.

OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) Parts:

OEM parts are the parts supplied by the original manufacturer. These can be manufactured by, or simply branded and used by, the original manufacturers of the equipment. Think of them as the “brand name” option. Here’s what you need to know about OEM parts:

  • Exact Fit: OEM parts are engineered to be a precise match for the components they replace, ensuring seamless integration with your equipment.
  • Quality Assurance: OEM parts adhere to the exact specifications and quality standards set by the original equipment manufacturer.
  • Warranty: OEM parts typically come with a manufacturer-backed warranty, providing added assurance.
  • Consistency: Using OEM parts helps maintain the original performance, efficiency, and safety standards of your equipment.
  • Availability: OEM parts are most readily available through authorized dealerships and distributors, ensuring genuine quality and reliability but limiting accessibility.
  • Price: OEM parts typically carry a higher price than aftermarket or OCM parts.

OCM (Original Component Manufacturer) Parts:

OCM parts are often manufactured in the same factory as OEM parts and are simply devoid of OEM branding. OCM parts have the same fitment and function, buy may sometimes have different tolerances. Think of them as the “generic” option though they are still high-quality parts. Here are a few things you should know about OCM parts:

  • Origin: OCM parts are manufactured by the original component manufacturer, who is also making the same or extremely similar parts for the OEM.
  • Precision: These parts are specifically engineered to meet the requirements of critical components, ensuring optimal performance.
  • Quality Control: OCM parts undergo rigorous quality control processes, typically the same or almost the same as OEM parts in order to guarantee adherence to the highest standards.
  • Warranty: Similar to OEM parts, OCM parts can often come with warranties.
  • Availability: OCM parts can be purchased without going through OEM dealers and distributors.

Aftermarket Parts:

Aftermarket parts are produced by third-party manufacturers and are designed to fit and function similarly to the original parts. Though there are also aftermarket parts that aim to modify or increase the performance of equipment (called “performance parts”), particularly automotive. Here are some key characteristics of aftermarket parts:

  • Cost-Effective: Aftermarket parts are generally more budget-friendly than OEM or OCM parts, making them a popular choice for cost-conscious buyers. This can be due to competition or variations in manufacturing.
  • Variety: The aftermarket market offers a wide range of brands and options, providing flexibility in choosing the right part for your specific needs.
  • Availability: Aftermarket parts are widely accessible through various suppliers and retailers, making them convenient to find.
  • Quality Varies: The quality of aftermarket parts can vary depending on the manufacturer. Some aftermarket parts meet or even exceed OEM standards, while others may fall short in terms of quality and performance.
  • Warranty: Warranty coverage for aftermarket parts differs by manufacturer and supplier. It’s advisable to inquire about warranty options when purchasing.

Cross References

Cross references, or interchangeable/equivalent part numbers, are a way of linking parts in order to inform that they are equal or almost equal in application. These are used by OCM’s and aftermarket suppliers to show which OEM parts they serve to replace.

Here’s an example to illustrate the point:

Let’s say you buy a tractor from Company A. After a few months, you run into an issue and need to make a repair involving part replacement on your tractor. You can buy the part through Company A’s dealer and distributor network, or you can buy a cross referenced part from Company B or Company C. Company B produced the part for Company A and applied Company A’s branding to it. Company B also produces the same part and keeps their Company B branding on it. Company C produces their own version of the part with similar fit and function independent from Company A or B.

In the above situation, Company A would be the OEM, Company B would be the OCM, and Company C would be aftermarket part supplier. Companies B and C’s parts would be cross references to Company A’s parts.

Aftermarket sites will often list the OEM equivalent part number, and there a number of third-party services that offer cross reference lookups for a variety of industries in order to identify alternatives to OEM parts.

Making an Informed Choice:

Choosing between aftermarket, OEM, or OCM parts depends on various factors, including your budget, quality requirements, and equipment specifications. Here are some considerations:

  • Budget: Aftermarket parts are usually the most cost-effective, while OEM and OCM parts may be pricier.
  • Quality: For uncompromised quality and performance, OEM and OCM parts are often preferred. However, high-quality aftermarket parts can also meet your needs.
  • Warranty: Consider the warranty offered with each type of part, as it can provide valuable protection. Using non-OEM parts in repairs may also void any equipment warranty you may have. BE sure to verify before making any repairs or replacements.
  • Availability: Check the availability of the part you need, as certain components may only be available as OEM or OCM.
  • Equipment Age: Older equipment may benefit from cost-effective aftermarket parts, while newer machinery might require OEM or OCM components.

In conclusion, the choice between aftermarket, OEM, and OCM parts hinges on your unique requirements and priorities. By understanding the differences between these options, you can make well-informed decisions that align with your equipment maintenance and repair objectives.

Replacement Parts at Iron Wing Sales

At Iron Wing Sales, we carry a large inventory of parts servicing the Heavy Duty Truck, Heavy Equipment/Off-Highway, Construction, Material Handling, Agriculture, Mining, and other industries.

Our inventory contains genuine OEM parts, including New Old Stock (NOS) and other hard-to-find parts at the lowest prices available! We also carry OCM parts for your replacement needs, as well as a range of Aftermarket parts for brands such as John Deere, CASE, Hitachi, Cat, and more. All of our Aftermarket parts come with a 6-month warranty against defects in materials and worksmanship, and many of our Aftermarket parts are made in the USA. Our parts are in-stock and ready-to-ship straight to your door in order to minimize downtime. Browse our parts inventory categories or use the search function to search using part #, description, or manufacturer. Contact us with any parts inquiries via email at: sales@ironwingsales.com or by phone at:  216.912.9089

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