A Step towards the Customer
By Jindrich Mach - President of the Czech Republic Recyclers' Association
The formulations of any association's objectives often tend to be
stuck with slogans and complicated statements, meant to describe
the aspects of the relevant business field. It seems that there is no
easier or different way for a professional organization to get
started. On the other hand, let us not forget that somewhere in
the unstable market space, our customers are to be found. They
are often equipped with fragmentary information or even have
no information at all about the procedure in the manufacturing of
the product they are about to buy. And it is not only the
procedure of the manufacturing that is important (effective
production, profitable sales, strengthening market positions, etc.),
but also the procedure of their competitors, who take part in the
establishment of market price levels, discover more effective
trading methods, provide a wider range and higher-quality
services so that the product can win the end user's trust. To make
things even more complicated, let us also mention another market
player - the professional organizations or associations, whose
goal is to differentiate the product quality from the marketing
quality, and the false advertisements from the real information.
The main objective of the Czech Republic Recyclers' Association
is to plot, or rather measure, the recycled cartridges market in
the Czech Republic. This idea was provoked by the lack of solid
and objective sources regarding the problematic issues of this
young market. We do not know the answers to a lot of questions;
for example: What is the number of employees engaged in the
initial manufacturing processes?; How many people work in the
distribution sector?; How many recycling companies are there in
the Czech Republic?; What is the range of products they are
able to service (recycle)?; How many cartridges are recycled
monthly?; How many cartridges are imported and exported?;
and What is the quality of those cartridges?
That's why, our vital priority is to find the answers of these
questions in the coming months or years. During the INVEX 2005
Expo, held in Brno, we've tried to point out the basic tendencies
in the cartridge recycling industry, as well as to gather
providing a general notion of the quality of recycled cartridges
on the Czech Republic market. We decided to select a common
cartridge model, which then was submitted to various
manufacturers to recycle and benchmark. After that we
compared the results. In order to put the whole project in motion,
we had to have equipment that would be good enough to
support all tests from the technical point of view. The
responsibility for this equipment and the testing processes was
carried out by the Chemical-technological Faculty of the
University in Pardubice.
To make sure that the comparative tests
are fully objective, our Association provided the researchers with
a brand new printer and did its best to make an anonymous
purchase of as many recycled cartridges of the same model as
possible. The selected printer model was HP LaserJet 1010 which
was supplied with the Q2612A cartridge.
The Association also determined the rules, according to which
the test results would be evaluated, in order to establish the base
of a specific quality evaluation standard called "Price per Quality
The criteria is above Table 1. The Technical characteristics displayed in Table 2 were measured at the University of Pardubice.
Besides the technical characteristics, we also observed all marketing, trading and ecological characteristics,
which play a significant role in the recycling techniques information flow presented to the customer.
The latter were evaluated by the staff of the Association. The evaluation results are specified in Table 3a and Table 3b.
Below, the evaluation results by manufacturers is posted.
Those participants, who were kept informed about the results of
the tests, did not often hide their surprise - how is it possible that
we've been ranked at position x?, How is it that the company
ABC has scored better? There is no doubt that one starts
contemplating - and how precisely have you tested all this, why
have you selected this particular criteria; why have you chosen
this particular cartridge; why haven't you included this or that
manufacturer in the test?
This only comes to prove how subjective the impressions of
today's customer can be, and how easy it is for the larger
manufacturers to disorientate them.
The technical quality gives details about the level of proficiency
with which the manufacturer has done its job. Our market has
never undergone such a comparative test before.
Although the possibilities of our association are limited, we are
determined to continue with the tests in order to create an
extensive database of tested products and manufacturers.
This result comes closest to the customer's point of view. How
much do I pay for the price/quality ratio of the product I have
chosen with each manufacturer?
We have found out that quite a large amount of manufacturers
are interested in letting their products be tested; they need to
have their competitive marketing visible and successful. As we
are trying to create the clearest possible picture of the current
market in the Czech Republic, we need to continue carrying out
quality tests with constant regularity. Only this way will our
association be helpful to the customers. At the same time,
manufacturers will be able to follow the market itinerary; their
products will show benefits in terms of time saved and profit
results. The test results show them whether the production
procedure they use are efficient and successful. That is how the
Czech Republic Recyclers' Association has made another step
towards getting closer to the customers.
From RechargEast Magazine, December 2005
facts & opinions (page 44)