Perhaps it’s a term you’ve heard before but haven’t been sure what it means exactly, or perhaps OEM is a term you have never come across before. If you are a fan of technology, electronics, cars or indeed business – I recommend doing a little bit of research because OEMs are changing the way consumers buy their technology daily.
They especially come in handy if you are too busy to spending your time looking up random business acronyms. But don’t fear – in this article I will explain not only what the term OEM actually means, but also how it is changing the face of tech consumerism.
What Exactly Is An OEM?
OEM is short for Original Equipment Manufacturer. The definition, however, has evolved over time and can have varying meanings. The first definition, as a manufacturer/original manufacturer, suggests that OEMs provide very specific, standardised products for other businesses.
For example, if you’re reading this article on a computer screen, you are most likely using a computer, tablet or smart phone. These devices are made up by smaller components, which are often made by an OEM company who provide the big brands with many of the parts that go into making their most popular products. However, the term OEM has evolved to also refer to the company that customizes a product produced by a manufacturer, with its own name and branding.
An example of an OEM partnership like this is between VW and Bosch, in which Bosch makes the fuel parts that the VW uses and brands as VW parts. Another example is Tong Yang and Toyota, in which Tong Yang makes the light, mirror and radiators for Toyota.
Wondering what this all has to do with you? Well, this new definition of an OEM is changing the way tech lovers everywhere are buying their technology, as we are now able to go straight to the source of a particular component of our laptop, for example, and make out own modifications and updates without any middlemen.
How Is This Changing How We Buy?
It is becoming increasingly popular for people to seek out OEM parts directly. A replacement OEM part for our car, for example, generally enables the consumer to pay less than they would have to originally simply because it does not have the carmaker’s logo. If you’re willing to pay a lower price in exchange for a product that arrives without any branding – perhaps you too should be considering going directly to an OEM.
The company that provided the original piece to the carmaker created the same part you need; a genuine product. Consumers generally pay the most for genuine products due to the branding, and in today’s society everything in technology is about the brand- meaning if you want a specific logo, maybe this way of buying isn’t for you. However, many are now seeking out OEM parts and saving their money.
It is very important to note that is not always possible to buy parts directly from the OEM. For example, Apple’s success with the iPhone is in part due to its very successful OEM partnership. It is not easy for a consumer to find genuine OEM products to replace broken ones directly. Instead, a consumer needs to take his or her broken iPhone to the Apple store. If they choose to take matters into their own capable hands this will void their warranty. If you want to buy an OEM product directly, this is certainly something you should think about, as without your warranty you might meet further problems down the road.
Is This Change A Good Thing?
The retail industry is changing significantly due to how easy and popular it is for consumers to shop online. This is an undeniable fact, and it’s not the case for only a few industries but for most. Over time, many in-store retailers may not be able to keep up with the technology shifts, price wars and competition in order to meet this online demand.
As the retail environment transitions, OEMs will play a major role. They are predicted to begin creating showroom type environments with knowledgeable staff available to enable consumers to browse through different products. Prices will be based on the manufacturer’s suggested retail price and retail partners can then use that as a benchmark. This creates a partnership between retailers and the OEMs where a product gets moved and each party is supported.
This is certainly positive news for tech savvy consumers who are interested in customizing their own laptops, phones or cars, but this shift will also leave consumers with less options on where to buy and especially on price-range. Competition will be high for retailers and manufacturers who want to break into the market. In the end, OEMs will hold the power to this change.