Do you know the distinction between a repaired part and a remanufactured part? Is reconditioned any better than refurbished? At every level throughout the aftermarket there seems to be confusion about the options available when it comes to replacement parts, partly because there are so many different words used to describe them that it’s hard to judge which will deliver the best quality and value for a given situation.
‘Remanufacturing’ is bringing a product back to its original OE specification through a combination of genuine spares, approved test equipment, properly trained personnel and appropriate software. This requires a high level of investment in new technology and training, on a regular basis, in order to keep up with industry developments and the very high standards set by OE manufacturers. We, and the relatively small number of other OE-authorised remanufacturers in the UK, have to adhere to very rigorous standards in order to maintain our accreditations.
Words such as ‘repaired’, ‘reconditioned’ or ‘refurbished’ simply mean that a used part has been fixed, and so now works – but it’s worth bearing in mind that quality tends to vary between repairers, as there is no specific standard to work to.
Of course, repaired (or ‘refurbished’, or ‘reconditioned’) parts have their place, for example, it may be the correct option for a customer who is cost-conscious and prepared to wait a few days. We repair thousands of parts every year, again using OE equipment, software, genuine parts and trained engineers, so our work is of the highest quality. But if a quick turnaround and assured long term reliability are paramount, we would suggest remanufacturing is usually the better option.
When you consider the commercial advantage of offering motorists a choice between remanufacture or repair, the case for clarity becomes even stronger. The comprehensive warranty that comes with a genuine ‘off the shelf’ remanufactured item is a powerful incentive for them to choose this option, let alone the additional time involved in turning round a repair.
There’s also a marketing case to be made for letting the motorist choose. Last year, the industry body ReMaTec conducted a survey of over 1,000 garage customers. They explained the various options available for replacement parts, with the result that 81% opted for remanufactured parts – by being offered such a choice, not only does the motorist feel reassured by the garage’s transparency, but also feels an element of control over the transaction, which can only lead to a happier customer experience. And isn’t that the best possible outcome for all involved?