Thursday, November 19, 2015

Aftermarket CMM Services - OEMs vs. 3rd Party Providers


If you’re reading this, you’ve likely purchased a measuring machine or metrology equipment from us or you’re looking for the best solutions to your measuring and inspection needs. Whether that’s a new CMM, a pre-owned unit or a retrofit, when you invest in a product from Wenzel America we consider you a partner, not just a customer.

Metrology inspection and measurement in manufacturing today are constantly changing and you need a metrology partner for collaboration to help navigate the path after you buy a CMM or other metrology equipment. At Wenzel America, we call this path the Aftermarket.

Much like buying a car, CMMs require parts, maintenance and regular certification. And like car owners, you, as CMM owners, have different options available for maintaining and updating your machines.

These options fall primarily into two categories:

  1. Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) or
  2. Third Party Service Provider 
Both of these have benefits and potential challenges that make the choice of which to choose a little challenging. Hopefully, this article can make it less so.

OEM CMM Aftermarket services vs. third-party Aftermarket services


Using the OEM to maintain your metrology equipment is the most traditional and straightforward option to choose. Just like having your new car serviced at the dealer who sold you the car, when you have your aftermarket services performed by the OEM, you are guaranteed a certain quality of service, availability of parts and consistency of customer service experience you may not get from a third party provider.

For most of you, having the OEM service your CMM is a logical step and your natural inclination. Working with a third party service provider to maintain your CMM investment may not seem as intuitive, but some people find it works well.

Like taking your car in to a local repair shop, some third party providers are very flexible, sometimes they’re more local and maybe even cheaper than the OEM. But, also like choosing your own mechanic instead of the dealer they may run out of parts, they may not have the expertise to fix everything or they just don’t have the resources or quality assurance you’d get with an OEM. That said, the experience of working with a third party CMM service provider can be more relaxed and more personalized than an OEM.

What are the main differences between OEM and 3rd Party Providers?




Most OEMs of capital equipment like CMMs are set up for two primary functions: 



  1. Make outstanding equipment.
  2. Bring that outstanding product to market. 
Notice I didn’t say, “Make sure the buyer of the equipment has a delightful experience…long after the sale.”

That’s where a Third Party Aftermarket provider can have an advantage.

When you are a Third Party service provider you  have only one function:

  1. Service the products someone else brings to market. 
This creates a difference in culture and attitude at 3rd Party service provider companies vs. OEMs and can lead to different experiences for customers; the generalization being that Third Parties provide great service, while OEMs supply the quality and reliability we want from our products, though we’re often just a number.

In the OEM vs. 3rd Party Aftermarket Battle - Who wins?

Of course, the above descriptions of OEMs providing aftermarket CMM services vs. 3rd party CMM service providers are a generalization, and not all cases fit the mold.

As competition increases and customers become more engaged, expectations change and both sides must adapt. OEMs are working to become more nimble and customer focused, while third party providers are working to deliver a higher level of quality, trust and more consistent customer experience. But, what is the prize they’re hoping to win?

Many OEMs see the Aftermarket as the “goose that laid the Golden Egg” - An endless supply of revenue that is theirs for the taking. Conversely, Third Party service providers often see the Aftermarket as their private domain that must be defended at all costs.

The funny thing is, from a strictly economic and commerce perspective, both sides are right. But as the two sides fight it out over marketshare, everyone forgets those at the center of it all and in this case, it is YOU - the customer.


Do you have to pick one or the other - OEM vs. 3rd Party Service? Is there a win - win?


Wenzel America holds a unique place in this landscape. We actually started life in North America as a Third Party service provider, maneuvering the market quickly with a variety of products and tools to fill gaps left by large OEMs whose focus was bringing great products to market with the aftermarket as an afterthought - if at all.

As we grew we became the North American dealer for Wenzel CMMs and started our journey to the OEM side. Ultimately, this culminated in an acquisition by Wenzel Group and that’s when we became Wenzel America.

It is that exact journey we took as a company that has created our unique and blended culture.

We have the breadth and depth of products and capabilities that only an OEM can provide, but that is coupled with the heart and soul of a Third Party service provider -- meaning, at the core, we are flexible, nimble and give personalized and customer-focused service above all else.

This hybrid culture helps us provide the best Aftermarket CMM experience possible for all of our customers. Our focus is not just on the big hit revenue of selling the highest priced products nor is it on the “golden goose” of providing recurring revenue from aftermarket.

Our total focus is on being a trusted partner who helps you achieve the right outcome for each specific customer need - at the right time, every time.


CMM Aftermarket Service, what does it mean at Wenzel America


Aftermarket means providing the tools, services and products that our customers need to be successful in the long term with our OEM CMM products (or any other pre-owned CMM we’ve upgraded.)

Our goal is to be unique in the OEM CMM world as we maintain our roots as a 3rd Party service provider by always being responsive, flexible, reliable and affordable and supply the best metrology machines and equipment available.

This is the philosophy we use when we do things like offer used styli at 75% off list, give you flat rate SMA prices (with no penalty for skipped years) or sell Machine Checking Gages so you can better manage your calibration intervals.

Our goal in the Aftermarket is to help you use your equipment effectively, for as long as you need it; not to take advantage of you with arbitrary calibrations and maintenance fees you may not even need.

If that sounds like a philosophy that is focused on your needs more than increasing revenue, you’re right. The funny thing is, when we focus on helping our customers, it always pays. We welcome you to challenge us to meet your needs, rather than just sell you product. It’s what we do best, and we’d love to show you. Aftermarket questions?  Fill out the form now or give us a call at 248-295-4300.



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