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Is anyone Watching?

3 Aug, 2015 By: Steve Weedon, Discover Imaging Products, LTD

Quality is something you do when no one is watching.

Quality is a much exaggerated and overused word in the Imaging aftermarket. Every imaging product is sold as a quality product. After all who would market a product labeled as “rubbish” or “ inferior ” and for that matter who on earth would buy it?

Everything is labeled quality as a pre-requisite to engage the buyer. It’s a “tick the box” requirement. But what does quality really mean? And what are we trying to convey to the buyer in order to persuade them to part with their cash.

In a one off sale with no prospect of repeat business a salesman is more likely to over exaggerate his claims and close his sales with anything he believes his buyer wants to hear. We have all had that experience and more often than not we are disappointed with our purchase and vow never to return and furthermore tell everyone who will listen for the next week—a sort of therapy to make us feel better, and get even.

But we are not in the “one-off-sale” business: we need our customers to come back for more, time and time again. Producing and selling poor quality products, labeled as quality products, deliberately leads me to ask, who is kidding who? The seller may get his one off sale, never to see the customer again, but the bad experience spreads by word of mouth like a common cold, and does untold harm to the seller’s reputation and prospects.

It’s a tough market, no one can deny that, but those lowest priced cartridges you find that seem too good to be true, really are too good to be true. It is not possible to build quality at the lowest selling price. But we all know that, don’t we?

So what is the definition of quality as it relates to ink and toner cartridges?

The cartridge must provide at a minimum, a print-defect-free performance throughout its cycle according to the stated yield. That is what the customer wants. If he does not get that and sees print defects during the cartridge cycle he automatically believes the cartridge was of bad quality and will not return.

In order to produce a defect-free cycle, the cartridge needs to be produced to a quality standard where a minimum bill of materials are used to replace worn parts, inks and toners. Printed pages must have adequate density levels, no back-grounding, no repeat marks on the page, no spots, smudges, lines or such like. Full functionality from the chip and the cartridge must reach the minimum of stated yield.

Cutting corners to increase margins by using inferior toners, inks and parts or worn OEM components leads to inconsistency in performance that is impossible to control. The outcome is clear: customers are lost.

Quality is what gets your customers coming back for more. If they get a print-defect-free performance and save money, they will return. That has to be the minimum quality standard. Once past the hurdle of a print defect free experience the customer may complain about the magenta being pinkish or the colors are not quite the same on print as the photo on the computer screen, but dialogue can occur and resolutions found to keep the customer happy.

Quality does matter. It’s the only thing that matters. It needs to be consistent. It needs to become a religion. Giving it lip service doesn’t work. The most successful businesses have already worked this out long ago. However, it still surprises me the number of resellers—who buy on price believing they have found the magic supplier—who complain at the lack of sales and dwindling customers.

Something Henry Ford once said resonates with me. He said, “Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.”

For more information on Mr. Weedon or topic, contact Recycling Times Media (RT Media) at www.IrecyclingTimes.com   

About the Author: Steve Weedon

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