All marine vessels and vessel engines need maintenance. That means that whether you’re looking specifically for cargo vessel parts and equipment, cruise vessel parts and equipment, or any other specialized parts and equipment, you’ll need to look at marine spare parts suppliers at some point. But as you look at what these suppliers have to offer, you may be confused by some of the terms they use. Here are three distinct categories you’ll want to know about before buying any marine spare parts:
- OEM Parts
OEM stands for “original equipment manufacturer,” and OEM parts can be thought of as a rough equivalent to brand-name products. OEM parts are made by the same manufacturer as an overall system and carry the same brand name. You might be more familiar with this concept in the auto industry; an OEM part for a Mercedes would be made by and sold by Mercedes as well.
- Genuine Parts
This is where things get a little tricky. Often, OEMs will use parts that they buy from other manufacturers, but label them as their own. Genuine parts are those parts that are used by OEMs, except they aren’t branded as being from that OEM. So essentially they’re the exact same parts, but can be purchased at a lower price because they don’t have the brand-name wrappings.
- Aftermarket Parts
The third category you’ll almost certainly come across is aftermarket parts. Also called OEM-equivalent or generic parts, these are not distributed by the manufacturer of the vessel or engine in question. Because they may not always offer the exact same performance as OEM parts, they’re often chosen either when OEM parts are no longer available or for non-critical components. A considerable amount of judgment goes into a wise decision of when to use generic parts; some are very high in quality, while others are not. You can always ask a supplier for an expert decision before deciding how much to invest.
What else might buyers need to know when looking at inventories of marine spare parts? Discuss in the comments.