What Are OEM Products in Manufacturing?

April 8, 2022 12:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Whether you are buying a new car, an appliance, or any other manufactured good, it is made of parts that are original to that product. The original equipment manufacturer (OEM) either is the company whose name is on the final product or another manufacturer that provided parts or entire systems that enable the product to work as designed.

OEM products are desirable because they are the parts that your car or other item is designed to have and is engineered to perform its task correctly. The same engineers who designed the object you purchased determined that the OEM part is ideal for performing its intended duty while helping to keep total costs lower.

What Are OEM Products?

OEM often is thought to be the same manufacturer who designed and built the final product, such as a car. But the OEM usually is a part acquired from a third-party manufacturer who supplies the OEM parts as part of a large order.

OEM parts most often are used in:

  • Engineering and manufacturing products
  • Manufacturing sub-assemblies
  • Component manufacturing

OEM manufacturing also might make the same parts used in products produced by competing manufacturers.

The automotive industry is a perfect example. An OEM transmission might be used in vehicles manufactured by Ford, GM, and Chrysler and in direct competition with one another.

A good example is the six-speed T56 manual transmission that originally was used in the Dodge Viper. It also saw use in high-powered Ford Mustangs, Corvettes, and other sports cars produced by competing automakers. And one company based in Saginaw produced the OEM T56 transmission for the competing automakers.

How OEM Differs From Aftermarket

An OEM part is not the same as an aftermarket part. Both types of parts are manufactured by an entity that is not the manufacturer that produced the final product. But the aftermarket part is produced later and made available as a replacement for the OEM part.

Aftermarket parts are never used in the original equipment as the product rolls off the production line. They mostly are used either when repairing damaged OEM parts or when customizing the product.

Aftermarket parts might be superior to the OEM part and improve how the original product works. Aftermarket parts also might be of lesser quality and not provide an ideal fit. But they work well enough to keep the original item working to suit your needs.

Aftermarket parts often are less-costly alternatives to OEM parts. And many often work very well and will not degrade performance or product service life.

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