Print in the Channel - issue #8


Choosing the best option Consumables are a staple sale for resellers, but there are OEM and generic consumables – how do resellers convince customers that the cheap option might not be the best and to opt for OEM products?

For many businesses, as costs have risen in recent months, their focus has been on saving money where possible. For some, changing from OEM consumables to generic versions can seem like an easy way to do this. Genuine consumables from OEMs are generally costlier than the generic alternative, but it can be a false economy. There are numerous benefits of using genuine consumables over generic ones too, as Mark Newman, general manager – velocity and annuity channels at Xerox, explains. “Consistent print quality and maximum reliability are core attributed of genuine vs. generic consumables,” he says. “The formulas for genuine toner are painstakingly controlled to eliminate variation and this ensures consistent print quality over the life of the printer. “Moreover, consumables are specifically tailored by the OEM for the specific printer model. Take, for example, the original manufacturer who uses a highly uniform toner particle size, shape and engineers other components in the printer based on this specification. This will enable maximum reliability and longevity, yet generic toner is almost always the opposite. This is due to highly irregular particle size and shape which causes it to act as an abrasive. As a result, over the course of several hundred prints it often causes damage to the receptor(s), transfer belt, and fuser. In turn, this results in rapid print degradation and failure of otherwise long-life components.”

False economy This means that buying generic consumables could be a false economy. “The initial acquisition cost of generic supplies is certainly lower than genuine, but the total cost is often higher,” Mark says. “This is due to the damage that results to critical components within the printer. Aside from costs of component replacement and labour, there’s also the intangible cost of sub-standard print output whilst the printer was still operational. In addition to this, there is the cost of downtime from not being able to use the printer. Not uncommon, the cost of repairing the printer may exceed the replacement cost, thus there’s the financial cost and the time spent to replace the printer.” Steve Pearce, group head of marketing at Kyocera Group UK, agrees. “It’s easy to be beguiled by the price of compatibles or counterfeit toner at the expense of the environment, health and safety and the device itself,” he says. “These alternatives can damage fusing units and cut short the life of a printer or MFP. Customers spend more in the long-run as compatibles typically contain less toner. And we just don’t know what cheaper toner is made from: Is the toner toxic? Are straight to landfill materials used? “Then there are hidden costs: OEM cartridges are typically patented to perfectly fit the product they are made for. Compatibles must modify that design leading to increased wear, more failures and poor imaging.” Information Despite this, customers are not generally well informed about the benefits of genuine consumables. “I genuinely don’t think customers think about toner – most see it as commodity – much like choosing a bottle of supermarket water over Evian or Perrier!” Steve says. “As such they forgo research – even though the benefits of genuine toner are present on Kyocera’s and many of our channel partners’ websites.

Mark Newman general manager – velocity and annuity channels

Genuine supplies are rigorously reviewed by “

OEMs to ensure they fully comply to all regulatory requirements – usually at a minimum – and will be harmful to people or the environment.


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