IT manufacturers normally sell hardware these days with a one, three or even five year warranty. This is true for a wide range of hardware used in the Retail, Hospitality, Manufacturing and other industries. However, once the warranty expires, what’s the best way to handle maintenance on out of warranty hardware?
For large end users, the useful life of expensive hardware normally extends beyond the initial warranty, and you should consider carefully how to handle its maintenance.
Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), of course, will continue to maintain and repair their hardware for years after the initial purchase, but this is often an expensive route. The service divisions of most manufacturers are typically profit centers and you can expect to pay a premium for it. Also they may hope to drive customers into buying new hardware rather than repairing the old, and they can do this by raising their repair prices for the older generations of hardware.
In addition there has been an increasing trend for industry consolidation and outsourcing of repairs abroad to lower costs. Both of these trends have had a negative impact on the service quality and turn-around-times of manufacturers’ repairs.
Of course sometimes the manufacturer is the only repair option. This may be true when the hardware contains proprietary hardware or software, but this is a rare occurrence.
A good alternative option to repair by the manufacturer is repair by an independent depot repair company. Depot repair companies can offer a host of advantages over the OEM.
- Depot companies are normally far cheaper than the OEMs; offering repairs at 20 to 50% of the OEM price
- Repair quality can often surpass that of the manufacturer. Typical manufacturer warranties on repairs are 30 to 90 days, but independent repair companies often provide warranties of six months.
- A US based depot repair company can offer you much faster turnaround times on your repairs. As manufacturers commonly outsource repairs abroad a turnaround time of 15 to 25 days is often the norm. Independent repair companies can tailor turnaround times to meet your needs, often repairing equipment within a few days.
- Independent repair companies can also offer a range of options that are not available from OEMs. Examples included tailored maintenance contracts and inventory management of hardware.
So, when your hardware warranties start expiring, do due diligence all the maintenance options available. The manufacturer is not the only game in town!