26 March 1999

Spares prices are slashed

By Andy Collings

MANUFACTURERS of ploughs, power harrows and other equipment with wearing parts are not generally too enamoured by the actions of companies supplying alternative spare parts for their implements.

That is not surprising. Manufacturers invest many thousands of pounds developing their products only to have a company mimic fund-earning wearing parts and market them at a price usually below that of those offered by the original manufacturer.

Words such as spurious and non-genuine are liberally bandied about by the trade to describe such products. Depending on viewpoint, alternative spare part companies either offer an economic source of spare parts or, if implement manufacturers are to be believed, lower quality parts which do not perform as well as the original and result in a degree of false economy.

Whatever the case, alternative part suppliers are here to stay and manufacturers are going to have to live with them.

Meanwhile, Dowdeswell has decided not to take such competition lying down and has announced a severe cut in the recommended retail price of its soil-working spare parts some by as much as 45%.

The company quotes sample prices of £5.70 for UCN reversible points rather than £7.50, £3 for a skim point (was £5.50), and £45 rather than £58.94 for a UCN mouldboard.

"Spare parts generate 25% of our turnover," points out sales manager Mike Alsop. "It is an important part of our business which we intend to maintain. Those who opt for spares sourced from non-genuine suppliers take the risk of using poor quality, ill-fitting parts which may not be up to the job in the long term."

Dowdeswell says price reductions have been made possible by savings in production costs – the company has recently introduced improved manufacturing equipment – and use of more competitively-priced raw materials.

On the back of these price cuts, further encouragement to purchase Dowdeswell plough and disc harrow parts comes from use of the companys Ploughback finance scheme.

Operating throughout the spring and summer, the interest-free scheme requires no payment until September for such parts ordered from dealers, subject to a minimum purchase of £1000.