Crystal Bristow
Find a partner who has these five qualities.
Jenkins Electric

The industrial parts aftermarket is centered around the ability, tenacity and urgency to recreate obsolete or hard to find parts. It’s like trying to recreate your favorite dish from your favorite restaurant. You know what it looks and tastes like. While you may have all the information necessary to recreate it, the execution and practice will likely prove more difficult. However, if the chef shared his recipe, the task would be easier. It wouldn’t mean you’d nail it on the first try, but you’d be much further ahead than if you went it alone. As an aftermarket industrial parts supplier and manufacturer, the recipe is relatively simple, but like all recipes, the quality of the ingredients makes all the difference.

1. A Heaping Amount of Application Understanding

To begin the recreation process, you need a heaping amount of application understanding. When your aftermarket part is finished, what’s the application, environment and life cycle that will be expected? Does it need to be perfectly polished and fine dining ready, or is functional, delicious and repeatable okay?

In looking for an aftermarket solution, look to a partner with years of experience in the industry or related to the application. No matter how detailed the recipe is, technique and experience can never be replaced by detail.

2. A Dash of Problem-Solving Mindset

Next, don’t forget to add in a dash of problem-solving mindset and company culture. Chances are, if you’re looking for aftermarket parts, you’re a problem solver already. Look to like minds—those willing to experiment and who have the staff, tools and processes conducive to that shared mindset.

3. Blend of Complementary Flavors

Salty and sweet is my favorite blend of complementary flavors, and finding a similar blend is the next step in your recipe for aftermarket excellence.

This is where old school meets new school, and knowing what works well together through experience shines. By utilizing old school techniques such as foundry castings, pattern making and repair and refurbishment skills blended with new school tools like 3D printing, computer-aided design (CAD) drawings and waterjet capabilities, you’re left with complementary flavors that deliver a well-balanced solution. While new school techniques may seem like the easiest solution, they can be cost prohibitive or limiting when working with small quantities and the need to experiment. Utilizing both old school and new school techniques, you can get the best of both worlds.

4. A Pinch of Experimentation

Once your core ingredients are ready, it’s time to start combining them, which means you’ll need the time and partnership to experiment. Discover what works. What order gives you the best results? Do you work with lower cost ingredients during the experimentation phase and then once you’ve locked in your ingredient order, shift to a more permanent and repeatable list of ingredients and process?

Remanufacturing aftermarket parts works similarly, but finding a partner who can and will work with you during the experimentation phase is critical. Perfecting a recipe takes repetition and patience but not always a large investment. Look for a partner who can and will work with you and is comfortable experimenting to find solutions. They should also be skilled in helping you move from an idea all the way to remanufacturing.

5. A Drop of Remanufacturing (To Taste)

Remanufacturing is the final step in bringing our recipe together. We’ve nailed the ingredients, the order and the techniques, but can we make a significant quantity and solve our original problem?

There are two ways to look at remanufacturing: partial and turnkey. Do you want to receive an unfinished part that you put the finishing touches on, or do you want to receive the final, beautiful, ready-to-use part that is the result of all your hard-earned experimentation? The choice is yours. Selecting a partner or resource who can walk through the whole recipe with you and be there to “taste test” is ultimately going to make you as successful as possible throughout this process.

When preparing for this article, I asked a technical team questions about the “what,” “why” and “how” of remanufacturing parts for aftermarket sales. I was given a healthy amount of technical advice that all led back to one central theme—finding a partner who has these five qualities.