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Absolutely, Positively Obsolete. Maybe Not!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Okay, so there is that one part that you have got to have to fix your sweeper/scrubber. You’re thinking, “it has been a good machine over the years. It is running good, drives and handles well and still sweeps and scrubs quite well. The operator has come to learn how to make it clear, perfectly every time. It is starting to get a little age on it but you think it still has a lot of life yet. The good is that it is completely paid for. Yes, it is a good machine.

Yes, all thoughts were racing through your mind while you are on the telephone with the parts company. The parts technician gets back on the phone to answer your price and availability question. “Sorry, that part is obsolete.” “Obsolete!” you say, “it can’t be.” Your machine just blew up in front of you in your thoughts. Now, what a major downer! You are stunned and repeat yourself without realizing that you have already said it. “It can’t be obsolete!” The tech answers, “Is there anything else I can help you with?” Without hesitation you answer, “Yes, I need this part.” “Sorry, sir” is the reply. The phone call is now concluded.

You sit there a minute trying to understand just what just took place. You think, I have to find this part. This story occurs everyday and many good machines are put down (scrapped) because of this one phone call. It doesn’t have to be this way all of the time.

Obsoleted parts are done for many reasons. The main reason people think is that machine manufacturer discontinued the parts because your machine is old. That may be true in some instances, in fact, that is not always the case. I have seen parts discontinued on brand new machines through design changes. Tennant discontinued a part number for an actuator on a new T15 machine recently, only to find out there is a new number. The model and serial number has to be given to Tennant, because there is a newly different designed actuator. So, in this case a part number was available, however a little different in design.

So, that is one example. Another example of an obsolete part is that the machine is getting a little older and the manufacturer does not sell the part as much. The sweeper/scrubber manufacturer may have to buy a minimum of these parts (say 1,000) at a time. While they may be selling approximately 200 pieces a year. They may be thinking of this and ask, “Why would anyone buy 1,000 pieces while selling only 200 a year? That is five years worth of parts.” On top of that the machine is getting older, so down the road they will sell less and less. The answer is to discontinue the part!

You can not put blame on the sweeper/scrubber manufacturer; it is just good business sense to do this. There is no business that would make these types of investments. They would be out of business really quick.

Another reason a part is obsolete is that the manufacturer of the part just stopped producing it. In this instance the sweeper/scrubber manufacturer has two choices: #1 it can try to source or find a new part or #2 obsolete the part. Again, in the majority of instances the part is made obsolete or NLA (No longer available).

So the next time someone tells you: “The part is obsolete.” You have to ask yourself is this part number absolutely, positively obsolete? The answer
is maybe not!

I would like to here your story. My e-mail is creamerscorner@hi-gear.com. Tell me your horror story or maybe I can help! I can be a good source for obsolete parts.

Thanks for reading.

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