In the years prior to about 1993, there was much commonality with major parts between brands and models. Picture tubes, high-voltage transformers, IC’s, etc. An IC for one brand frequently could be sourced from another brand or distributor.
It was cost effective for service companies to stock parts to offer a quick turn-around. Service companies make money by repairing things. The faster we could repair a product, the faster we could start on another “job” and so it went.
While some commonality persisted until about 2002, after HDTV and the new multiple processor controlled appliances hit the market – that ended. Permanantly.
Virtually no major part or assembly is interchangeable with any product, brand or even between models in many cases – even in the same year of manufacture.
With the drive to lower prices, many manufacturers do not want to “waste” money on service support. For many, especially the low end brands, diverting parts to service from manufacturing is a cost that they do not want. So they limit what’s available for service, if they provide parts at all. What does that mean?
Today, under normal circumstances, there seem to be always backorders or out-of-stock conditions. Many parts distributors have gone to just-in-time (JIT) inventory control and when they run out – they are out until they get the next shipment from a manufacturer or factory.
There is about to be an epidemic of backorders and it will happen because of the troubles in Japan. Not just for your product but all products. The only two factories that make the resin for IC chip fabrication are in the disaster area. Your reply may be, “are you kidding me?”, but the answer to that is, “no I am not kidding”. The U.S. factories that made that critical resin, to save costs – shut down.
So, you are notified by a servicer that your part is on backorder – what’s next?
If we wait – you wait. Period. No matter how angry you get at your service company, there is absolutely nothing they can do. You can scream and threaten the service company with the BBB (there’s a waste of time) or your lawyer all you want but if your service company cannot get the part your product requires, they cannot repair it. About the only thing you will accomplish is to ruin the relationship or get your repair assigned to another service company. Then you have to start all over again.
Besides, why would you blame the only company that makes it’s living by repairing products for the parts delay? Service companies MAKE NO MONEY IF THE PRODUCT ISN’T REPAIRED. Why would we delay it? Who made the decisions that prevented the part from being available? Not us!
For the most part, stocking parts is ancient history. Service providers see some common failure parts within a brand year, but they generally have no idea what to stock. JIT stocking has become the norm for the service industry as well, and not just because we don’t know what to stock, but we have an added burden that prevents stocking many parts.
Сore (Dud) Charges
Some parts, a service company does see on a regular or semi-regular basis for various manufacturers. Those parts, we would like to stock but are unable to because of the distributor and manufacturers policy regarding core returns.
A core charge is what they will charge the service provider if the part is not returned within a certain period of time, which ranges from 15 days to 2 months. Many also have a time limit when they can be returned at all. A core charge IS IN ADDITION TO THE COST OF THE PART.
Core charges are to compel service companies to return the “dud” part so that it can be remanufactured. After about a year or so, that particluar part or assembly is no longer being manufactured and all that they can do is rebuild them for service.
Because of the time limitations, and the high core charges, stocking parts is economically impossible. A popular Sony optical block for their LCD TV’s have a core charge of $2500.00.
One major manufacturer has a core charge for all boards of $250.00. Obviously, those parts are not stocked and ordered on an as needed basis.
Lastly, very few manufacturers or distributors give us an ETA for a backordered part, or if they do, it is obviously bogus. They guess or estimate. When you call your service company and ask when it is going to arrive, they are going to say they don’t know, or perhaps they will give that “estimate” they received. When that estimated date passes, who do you get angry with?
Many have asked why we don’t just tell the manufacturers or extended service plans to just replace your product. Your service provider has about as much authority to do that as we have to order the U.S. Justice Department to arrest every Wall Street banker.
Your service company is on your side and is your advocate. We are the only ones with an investment in your repair.
Why beat up on us?