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The state and future of the consumables industry

The state and future of the consumables industry

“Some of us are busy and some of us are busy complaining” to quote Debasish Mridha, which aptly sums up the state of the consumables industry at this point in time.

Valid complaints are all well and good, a distraction from the main business of the day perhaps, but when valid, complaining in the correct way can achieve results that produce a benefit. If an OEM genuinely believes that its Intellectual Property Rights are being infringed then making formal complaints, suing the suspected offender, does often lead to a settlement that rights the wrongs.

But, all too often, threats and law suits are driven by an emotional red mist in front of the offended party’s eyes, that blind with a rage and calls for action, no matter what the facts or indeed how little evidence is accumulated.

Strike first and ask questions later. It is a common tactic seen as delivering only an upside. The damage is already done against the accused as soon as the first publication sniffs out the juicy morsel and plasters it across their “breaking online news” column. Customers become fearful and wonder off to find other, lower profile suppliers. Of course that is why the tactic works and is favored by OEM’s particularly with Chip complaints. Eventually, technical expert opinions take precedence, the red mist evaporates , logic and common sense prevail, and in many case the OEM looks for a deal to walk backwards without getting a public red face, it’s called a “voluntary dismissal”.

Now, we have all sorts of groups using similar tactics, that red mist is everywhere. It is caused by fear, fear of changes that are happening in our industry and its knock-on effect to the traditional way of business. Run away and hope “China” does not affect your business or run towards “China” and see what it can do for you, I recommend the latter. But a third option taken by many, would be to bury your head in the sand and become an ostrich. The ostrich approach is simple enough. Find other Ostriches, group together and complain as loudly as possible, without full facts or worse, knowingly create fake news.

“Remanufacturing is the only option for the future. Everything from China is bad quality, cheap and infringing. Chinese manufacturers use toxic materials, Chinese manufacturers all fail DecaBDE safe EU levels. These chants are on the basis that if one is doing then they are all doing the same”. What nonsense!

The Ostriches flock together, red mist in front of the entire herd and because it suits their argument, they band ALL Chinese firms together and label them ALL as bad, toxic producing, low quality, IP infringers who do not comply to EU rules or USA rules. Think about it, if they say, a few Chinese manufacturers are world class, high quality producers who have their own Intellectual Property portfolios and have invested mega millions for many years into IP and are good companies, BUT, all the rest are scumbags, there complaining wouldn’t do them much good. One rag in the USA knows no bounds and is completely anti-China, no matter what the real story or the facts, but it seems never to care, since the propaganda supports the Ostrich herd. Actually, it weakens their arguments even more.

I understand the red mist, losing sales and cartridge volumes to online stores fed by Chinese NBC manufacturers who disregard IP and sell only on a lowest price strategy, it’s bad for everyone. The OEM’s need to make the formal complaints and sue them if they have cause to do so. But the ostrich herd publish nonsensical white papers, articles and give speeches trying to tar and feather all Chinese manufacturers the same. It’s just transparent propaganda, an invalid complaint that tries to render all new built cartridges illegitimate. It is a false argument, a weak argument, which will never stop the few who manufacture in China perfectly legitimately.

As Shakespeare put it, “the lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Ostriches, lift up your heads and see what is really going on, Patent Safe Compatibles (PSC’s) are the way to go for increased market share, better quality and greater profits! Remanufacturing is good when viable but companies survive when legitimate profits.

Written by Steve Weedon, Corporate Strategist of Print-Rite

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