The Hidden Costs of Using Like Parts

Written at Jul 11, 2023 11:19:09 AM by BlueCrest Staff

When “too-good-to-be-true” upfront costs lead to long-term sticker shock.

The appeal of “like parts” is easy to see. Let’s be honest: they’re affordable. Taken purely at face value, the average-like part may be cheaper than an equivalent BlueCrest part.

Businesses running print and mail operations will look to buy like parts and buy them in bulk, to use for their machines. If you’ve constantly got your eye on the bottom line and are wary of how runtimes, equipment upgrades, or downtime will affect both productivity and profitability, then finding cost-cutting like parts to stock machines sounds like a no-brainer.

However, using like parts really isn’t that cost-efficient. In fact, it’s just the opposite. They are loaded with hidden costs, most of which are not evident until well after you’ve placed the order, or even several orders. Whatever you saved on that upfront cost will be outpaced by what you’ll end up paying in the long run.

In comparison, BlueCrest parts are built to last. They are durable, which eliminates costly and unexpected surprises in your downtime scheduling, SLA requirements, and cost projections. Additionally, BlueCrest parts are uniquely engineered to meet the specifications of high-speed production mail equipment — a better fit means better efficiency and improved costs overall.

Here’s why you shouldn’t take the risk of buying like parts over genuine BlueCrest parts.

Like Parts Often Can’t Go the Distance

We frequently see a recurring issue with like parts, such as rubber and brass bearings: they’re not built to last. All parts are designed to wear out over time but they’re also expected to reliably hit pre-determined runtime intervals so that machines don’t require maintenance sooner than expected and hit you with unplanned downtime. With these cheaper parts, you may have a part that only lasts for 60-70% of its expected lifecycle.

That presents two problems: one, your machine must be taken offline for maintenance earlier than planned, which jams up the pipeline for jobs and overall productivity; and two, you’re suddenly forced to buy a replacement part. When you’re buying replacements two-thirds of the way into that part’s expected lifecycle, you’re effectively spending 130% to get 100% of the output you thought you were getting in the first place. That loss is exacerbated when you consider how often aftermarket parts must be bought in bulk. That might seem like a good deal in the beginning, but if these parts are failing early in their lifecycles, then those repeat bulk orders become increasingly excessive — and expensive.

The Ripple Effects Go Further

There are even more hidden costs to consider. What about the cost of labor required to replace those parts? What about the costs of downtime because a worn-down part shut down a machine earlier than planned? What about the costs of monitoring all these spare parts in storage and keeping that inventory up to date? Sometimes aftermarket parts don’t adequately fit a machine or aren’t up to equipment specifications, in which case taking apart the machine to make it fit becomes an entirely new process unto itself — not to mention the added costs of doing this work off-hours, such as overtime for the workers or utility costs for keeping the lights on during maintenance.

While like parts may boast more affordable price tags upfront, those cheaper price points can quickly cascade into a series of new costs that add up to something way more expensive than planned. When you add in the negative effects that like parts can have on productivity, downtime, labor, and efficiency, what might have seemed like a cost-saving maneuver at the start can end up posing major SLA and profitability risks down the line.

You don’t have to worry about this with BlueCrest. Our parts are guaranteed to hit their cycle counts; are up to machine specifications; can be ordered individually rather than in bulk orders; and are ISO 9000 certified. We also handle inventory and storage needs so you don’t have to worry about any added effort or cost.

The durability of BlueCrest parts ensures that, whether it’s related to cost projections, downtime scheduling or SLA requirements, there are no surprises coming your way.

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BlueCrest Staff


BlueCrest employees are experts in the postal and parcel automation industries.


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