5 Things to Look for in a Bearing Distributor


Bearing distributors can be a manufacturer’s best friend. They provide a range of bearings along with well-stocked inventories. Here are a few things to keep in mind when searching for a new bearing provider:

  1. Location – A bearing distributor located close to your factory can be an asset when parts are needed within tight timelines.
  2. JIT Delivery – Inventory is a cost. If a distributor can hold stock and deliver only when the parts are required, internal inventory is reduced while maintaining warehouse space for finished products.
  3. Stock – A well rounded distributor keeps a range of bearings and bushings on-hand that can accommodate your plant’s typical order. When shopping for a new distributor, make sure that they carry a majority of your bearing models on a consistent basis and in suitable quantities.
  4. Minimum Order Quantities (MOQ) – JIT and price breaks are granted based on quantity. Check to see if your order size provides additional cost-saving benefits – or if they are too low for the distributor to service.
  5. Expert Advice – Can the distributor answer questions regarding bearing axial and radial load capabilities? On staff experts or retail personnel that undergo proper training are a true asset. A quality bearing distributor should understand your needs and provide the proper recommendation to resolve your inquiries.

When it’s Time to Purchase from a Bearing Manufacture

Large OEMs should purchase directly from a manufacturer when they are looking for cost savings, expert engineering, heightened quality levels and bearing assemblies.

Cost Savings

Buying direct from a bearing manufacturer allows for greater savings due to larger-sized orders. However, most bearing manufacturers have a minimum requirement that ranges from a specific dollar amount to a per piece count. Most bearing manufacturers will take direct orders in smaller amounts for common parts, such as spherical plain bearings. However, if tooling costs are required, the cost will be transferred to the customer by way of an added fee or rolled into the per piece amount, which may still be less than purchasing from a distributor.

Unlike bearing distributors, parts are not immediately available for pick up or delivery. After the initial order is placed, manufacturers typically maintain one month of supplies at a local warehouse, one month in transit and one month in production.

Expert Engineering

If you are designing a new product or have specific load requirements, expert engineering advice from the manufacturer will improve your final product and may provide opportunities to streamline production. Plus, the manufacturer can produce custom bearings when needed.

A team of engineers who know how to read prints, fully understand an application and pull from a history of working with similar usage requirements goes a long way in finding the right fit for the end product. Oftentimes the bearing manufacturer will have already solved the problem you are struggling with so don’t hesitate to ask a bearing expert for advice.

Bearing Assemblies

Bearing assemblies allows for even greater savings. When the bearing application is shared, a manufacturer may be able to produce more than just the bearing. For example, tie rod assemblies that include rod ends for steering applications reduce costs and line assembly time.

However, bearings are purchased, it is important to partner with a specialist that can meet your quality and delivery requirements. Distributors offer a number of supply chain benefits while manufacturers offer cost and time saving opportunities.