Posted Friday, 13 May 2011 15:41
By Ronelle Ingram //
The increase in Managed Print Services continues to create a large market of new buyers entering into the regular purchase of compatible office supplies and parts. Many of these buyers have little or no first hand knowledge of those companies manufacturing and selling compatible products. MPS dealers who are responsible for the servicing and providing supplies for the equipment under their MPS agreements understand there’s more to choosing a seller of compatibles than just a low price.
Many North American buyers are still new to the regular use and purchasing of Non-OEM supplies and parts. Choosing a supplier of compatible products can be a confusing and overwhelming task. Who can they trust? Should they buy domestically? Are Chinese products dependable? How much of the price of an imported product goes toward the cost of international freight rather than quality item components? Will warranties be honored? Will their service technicians and sales reps disapprove of the change to use compatible product? What about the end user? Will they demand to pay a lower price on their CPC or MPS if non-OEM products are used?
Those manufacturing and distributing compatible products to resellers and end users throughout the world should understand there are still billions of prints and copies being made each day using OEM products. Familiarity of a known name brand, ease of purchase and fear of substandard products, all encourage the continuation of old buying habits. The use of higher priced OEM products in North America still out numbers the use of compatibles by a 2 to 1 ratio. The thought pattern of many buyers continues to be; the higher priced OEM products are of higher quality. These buyers are willing to pay more for peace of mind.
Buyers, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, MPS dealers and endusers all have a wide variety of compatible supplies and parts to review before making buying decisions. Readers of industry magazines view articles and see an expansive array of products from which to choose. The continuing expansion of Cost Per Copy and Managed Print Services requires an increasing amount of non-OEM products to be purchased by the office equipment dealers who are unfamiliar with the reputation of even the most prodigious of those manufacturing and distributing compatibles.
This newest generation of buyers has little name recognition knowledge when dealing with foreign and domestic makers of non OEM products. One of the ways these buyers can differentiate between products being offered is to rely on the certifications that have been earned by the compatible manufacturers. Two of the most common certifications logos seen by prospective buyers are ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.
The pages of industry publications and internet sites are laced with compatible (re)manufacturers and distributors who display ISO logos as part of their marketing campaign. Manufacturers are looking for every opportunity to beat out the competition. Some government and enterprise level buyer’s requests for quotes require the products bid must be manufactured by ISO 90001 and ISO 14001 certified companies.
ISO, The International Organization for Standardization, is the world’s largest developer and publisher of international standards. ISO is a for profit company. Their certification programs ultimately cost thousands of dollars to complete. www.iso.com lists hundreds of products that are for sale to help those working to earn ISO certification. Many who respect the value of the certifications and actually make buying decisions based on them; do so without fully understanding what they actually represent, how they are achieved, or what is the ultimate cost to the buyer.
The vast majority of ISO standards are highly specific to a particular product, industry, material, or process. The two ISO certifications most commonly earned by manufacturers of office equipment supplies are the ISO 9001 (quality) and ISO 14001 (environment). These are considered to be the generic management system standards. Generic in the sense that the same standard can be applied to any organization or business. ISO 9001 contains a generic set of requirements for implementing a quality management system. ISO 14001 is a generic environmental management system standard. Each is applicable to any size and type of organization, product or service, in any sector of activity; accommodating a diverse socio-cultural and geographic conditions.