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Balancing Compatibles -vs- OEMs

6 Mar, 2008 By: Neal Becker imageSource

Balancing Compatibles -vs- OEMs

Many copier and printer dealers have learned over the years that a low-priced
product isn’t always a low-cost product. Products that don’t work properly,
regardless of their price, can quickly increase an organizations’ service costs
and hurt the bottom line.

While some manufacturers have found creative ways to take costs out of their
products, their solutions are not always in the best interests of their
customers, or the industry as a whole. Lately there have been numerous reports
about product problems that have caused serious damage and expensive product
recalls for customers, distributors and manufacturers alike. Left unchecked, the
desire to produce a cheaper product, along with the need to sell a cheaper
product, can create a situation that can end up being costly to your bottom line
and, perhaps more importantly, damaging to your reputation.

So what should you be doing in today’s environment where so many products are
so readily available from so many different suppliers? Should you limit your
spares purchases to higher cost products from your original equipment
manufacturer (OEM), or should you source product from multiple vendors to
“protect yourself” in case you have a product issue? Certainly the original
equipment manufacturer is a proven resource, but they’ve been known to have
product issues too, so an OEM-only approach for parts and supplies may not be
your best option, regardless of the rebate and discount incentives they offer.
Also, in today’s market a big OEM can also be your big competitor, so once again
an OEM-only approach may not be in your best interest. Often, the best approach
for purchasing spare parts and supplies is a balanced approach that allows you
to optimize your profitability and lower your risk by working with your OEM and
a trusted compatibles supplier. Listed below are some recommendations for
establishing and maintaining a balanced approach to purchasing spare parts and

A Balanced Approach Check List

1. Determine up front what percent of your purchases you would
consider buying from a trusted independent, compatibles supplier.

2. Take the time to learn more about your options - the people and the
companies offering compatible products. What’s their experience and reputation?
Can you check references or get recommendations? Remember the old saying, “an
ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. This is important, so do your

3. Know the philosophy and the focus of your alternative supplier. Are they
looking out for your interests, or do they have other priorities?

4. Do they have experienced sales people who understand your business and
your needs?  Talk to them. Find out what they think about the company they’re
working for.

5. Are they efficient, flexible and easy to do business with?

6. Do you feel comfortable they will support you if there is a problem? Are
they dependable, and will they do what they say they will do?

7. Finally, if you haven’t done so already, you may want to consider
subscribing to an independent benchmarking services company to help you better
understand your costs and the opportunities you have to improve your

If you are satisfied with the results of your findings after going through
this checklist, you will probably be satisfied buying compatible products from a
trusted, independent supplier of your choice. Remember, there are many different
sources for compatible products. Do your homework. Make sure you’ve selected
someone who is willing to work on your behalf to see you grow and succeed.

Q2, LLC specializes in the development, marketing, sales & distribution of
quality compatible replacement parts for use in copier, printer and
multifunction machines.  The management team includes Neal Becker, Jane O’Brien
and Joe Steinberg, bringing 70+ years of industry experience. At 888-826-2576
and www.q2products.com.

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