3 Ways To Make Sure You’ve Found A Quality Parts Manufacturer
Whether you’re an installer, parts retailer, or parts distributor, it’s important to work with quality auto parts manufacturers that offer extensive coverage. That way, you can offer your customers assurances about quality and reliability, minimize returns and come backs, and save time hunting for products.
Unfortunately, it’s much easier to say “work with a quality manufacturer” than it is to find one. Likewise, “extensive coverage” is a term that doesn’t seem to mean the same thing from one manufacturer to the next.
As one of the renowned global manufacturers of water pumps, wheel hub assemblies, u-joints, fan clutches, and fuel pumps, we’re obviously biased when it comes to this topic. Still, we think there are good rules of thumb for finding a quality parts manufacturer. Here are four rules to keep in mind.
1. Part Variety
Extensive coverage is the number one factor to look for in an auto parts manufacturer. Developing a long-term relationship with a single manufacturer is preferable to juggling a bunch of suppliers that offer limited coverage. When you work with one single manufacturer, you reduce the complexity of finding parts, ordering parts, dealing with returns, etc.
Of course, you can’t work with a manufacturer if they don’t carry the parts you need. At GMB, we cover applications as far back as the 1950s. We’re also a global company, which means we have coverage for US domestic and import nameplates.
If a manufacturer doesn’t offer applications going back more than a couple of decades – or if they simply only offer limited coverage by vehicle brand – that’s something to carefully consider. If you have to find a new manufacturer every time a 1980-something vehicle rolls into your shop (or someone looks for a part on your website), you’re going to waste a lot of time.
2. Product Quality
Product quality is important to everyone in the parts business. Unfortunately, quality is very much a subjective term.
A lot of aftermarket parts suppliers emphasize cost over quality. While this helps make their parts less expensive, it causes a lot of headaches down the line. If you’re an installer who has to deal with a comeback – or a retailer who has to deal with a return – the “savings” of a low quality part can evaporate quickly.
Therefore, you want to make sure you’re not comparing brands on the basis of price. Instead, we suggest evaluating parts manufacturers on the following basis:
- Are they an OE manufacturer?
- Do they offer an OE comparable warranty, with reimbursement for installers?
- How long have they been in business?
- Are they a manufacturer, or are they re-branding parts from other companies?
While there’s a bit of trial and error involved in finding a great parts supplier, these questions can help you sort the good from the not-so-good.
3. Communication & Support
Communication is key. You want a manufacturer that has a good line of communication open. If they discontinue a part or one of their parts goes out of stock, they should either update the information on their website or notify their customers right away.
A manufacturer that doesn’t communicate well puts you at risk of upsetting a customer when one of the parts they ordered turns out to be discontinued or out of stock. Such a situation wouldn’t be your fault, but the customer would blame you, and your business may suffer as a result.
Another factor of good communication is technical support. Does the manufacturer offer help to installers or consumers with a problem? GMB North America, has a live technical support line as well as online tech support for quick questions. We offer free technical support to any GMB customer – not every brand offers this.
Questions to Ask a Manufacturer
Extensive coverage is the most important quality you should look for in a supplier. Here are a few good questions to ask them to gauge how big their catalog is and how they communicate any changes to their clients:
What year do you go back to?
Even though the average age of vehicles is 11.3 years, you still want to offer parts for classic cars. You can’t get any better than a supplier that carries parts dating back to the 1940s.
How many OEMs do you have coverage for?
Generally, the more brands, the better.
What is your company’s process for discontinuing parts?
By asking this question, you’ll find out how they’re going to communicate the information to you. If they dodge the question or give you a vague answer, take it as a huge red flag.
What’s the process for producing new parts or offering new coverage?
You’re going to score major brownie points with your customer if you keep updating your catalog with new parts or coverage as soon as these parts come out. You want a supplier that will keep you in the loop when they produce a new part or offer new coverage.
Can I take a look at your catalog?
A supplier can spend all day telling you how great their catalog is, but you have to see it to believe it. Check out their catalog to see exactly what kind of parts your customers are going to get if you sign with them.
Now that you have a good idea of what a good supplier entails, check out GMB.net because we offer extensive coverage and bear all the other hallmarks listed in this post. Contact us with any questions you may have about our catalog or services!