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MKG: Big Dealer Support to Customers of All Size

1 Aug, 2004 By: Editorial Staff imageSource

MKG: Big Dealer Support to Customers of All Size

Every customer counts—small or large.

It’s that approach that has made Toronto-based MKG Cartridge Systems one of
the largest and most successful manufacturers and marketers of compatible laser,
copier and fax toner cartridges in North America.

“We have never forgotten that we started our business life as a small shop in
1988,” said Michael Grist, MKG president and co-founder. “We understand that
small customers need as much, or even more support as our large distribution
partners. We have designed our sales, marketing and customer service programs to
provide that support.”

Case in point, in 2003 MKG extended support for its dealer partners by
launching MKG Dealer Direct, a program that brings more resources and better
pricing to the dealer channel.

“We established MKG Dealer Direct to help dealers compete profitably with
large retailers and other national competitors,” said MKG’s Sales and Marketing
Manager Valerie Clark. “But making it easier and cheaper for them to deal with
us directly, we think we have met our objectives. Besides reducing cartridge
costs for dealers, MKG’s dealer program has also provided enhanced levels of
flexibility and support. We give dealers access to a wide range of advertising
materials, packaging options and empty cartridge collection programs, as well as
enhanced technical, marketing and customer support,” Clark said. “We’ll even
help out by accompanying them on sales calls to major customers.”

In April 2004, MKG announced the creation of the “Leadership Through
Partnership Award.” The award annually recognizes and rewards two dealers for
their efforts to grow cartridge sales in partnership with MKG. Selection
criteria for the program make it possible for both small and large dealers to
win a free trip to World EXPO in Las Vegas, where the award is presented.

In addition to the programs the company has already established, MKG is
redesigning its website to incorporate a wider range of marketing, technical and
business management resources for dealers.

“Our goal is to enable our dealer partners to get instant, online access to
nearly everything they need to support their sales and customer service
activities,” Clark said. “And if it’s not on our website, our sales and customer
service staff will be happy to help. Our goal is to make doing business with us
as easy as possible.”

But that’s how MKG has always done things. The business was built on a
“channel partnership” strategy. In the early 1990s the company decided that to
produce the highest quality laser toner products in the industry, it would focus
on manufacturing, and build partnerships with strong marketing-oriented dealers
and distributors.

“We have never undercut our customers by establishing a competing branded
product of our own,” Grist said. “We have found it makes better business sense
for us to bring our partners a high level of support and leave the sales
activities to them. We don’t want to compete with our customers; we want to work
with them. When they grow, our business grows with them.”

This strategy of cooperation has paid off. MKG has grown from a production
capacity of a few hundred cartridges per month in 1990, to as many as 100,000
today. Since 1990, the company has produced and sold in excess of six million

To accommodate continued sales growth and meet the company’s commitment to be
the highest quality, lowest cost producer in the industry, MKG is now completing
a total overhaul of its plant. The company is streamlining material flows,
installing more efficient storage for materials and products, and improving the
work environment for employees. The process also includes the redesign of
assembly cells, the refinement of individual processes, and the installation of
purpose-built workstations to incorporate what the company has learned over more
than a decade as a high-volume cartridge producer.

“By making more efficient use of our space,” said Mehdi Oskui, MKG’s director
of manufacturing, “we should be able to improve production efficiency without
expanding either space or production lines.”

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