*NEWS*HP TAKES A SWIPE @ "REMAN" MARKET !

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*NEWS*HP TAKES A SWIPE @ "REMAN" MARKET !

 user 2006-11-07 at 11:35:00 am Views: 77
  • #16838

    HP takes a swipe at the “remans” market, claiming that remanufactured cartridges won’t be worth your ink.
    Execs and an analyst attempt to balance the cost issues     
    Hewlett-Packard
    Canada wants users to know that if they cheap out by buying toner and
    ink cartridges, they’re getting what they paid for.At a factory tour
    here this week, company representatives went to great lengths to
    distance original company consumables from remanufactured laserjet
    toner cartridges (or “remans”) and “drill-and-fill” recycled inkjet
    cartridges, and the notion that they’re commodity products.The print
    cartridge is 70 per cent of the imaging system, said HP Canada category
    business manager Mike Oreskovic. And while a simple cost-per-page price
    analysis shows remans to be cheaper by anywhere from 10 to 40 per cent,
    hidden costs – in reliability, quality, performance and productivity –
    tilt the balance in favour of original product, he said. He quoted
    third-party research by QualityLogic suggesting that four out of five
    remanufactured toner cartridges don’t consistently meet print quality
    specifications, give out before their time or are just DOA.On the
    inkjet side, HP ink chemist Fiona Coyle said while the company’s
    printers and cartridges are developed together, the ink comes first.
    “It’s taken very seriously,” Coyle said. “It is the thing that
    differentiates our product.” Coyle and Oreskovic pointed to
    characteristics of each that define the difference between HP product
    and third-party refills. In the case of toner, the chemically grown
    particles are spherical, leading to consistency in distribution, while
    reman toner is crushed and irregular. On the ink side, HP’s are
    chemically designed to keep colour from bleeding into blacks for
    crisper edges.And HP Canada category manager Anthony Faga ran through
    what he called a list of myths about remanufactured supplies – that
    remans save money, that their page yields are equal, that they meet
    HP’s specs (which are proprietary and unreleased) among them.Though the
    inferiority of remans was a theme returned to time and again during the
    session, Faga said HP wasn’t teeing up a campaign to go after the
    remanufactured product. “There are choices out there,” he said, if
    muss, fuss and hassle aren’t critical to users. But Oreskovic noted
    that with drill-and-fill franchises growing and aggressively marketing
    their services – “We know it’s growing, but we don’t know to what
    extent,” he said – there’s market share to be gained for HP, in the
    position of competing for share in the supply of its own
    consumables.The cartridge market for 2006 is almost $1.5 billion in
    Canada, according to analyst firm Partner Research Corp., with about 28
    million ink cartridges and almost a million toner cartridges projected
    to ship. HP dominates the market, said PRC’s Michelle Warren.A couple
    other remanufactured thorns in the side of HP as a printer company.
    Claims of the environmental benefits of buying recycled toner
    cartridges are overstated, according to Faga. Many toner cartridges
    they acquire can’t be reused because complex parts are worn out and
    they end up in landfills anyway, and a toner cartridge recycled under
    HP’s Planet Partners program has no more environmental impact.As well,
    customers often attribute toner problems to the printer –- and HP
    itself – instead of the cartridge, Faga says.Warren agreed that the TCO
    might play in HP’s favour, but tempered her comments with an “it
    depends.” For example, is it a laser or an inkjet cartridge?
    (QualityLogic suggests that original inkjets are 35 times more reliable
    than refills, while toner cartridges are nine times more reliable.) But
    there’s also the issue of printer damage from rebuilt cartridges, which
    tend to negate the printer’s warranty. “Welcome, increased costs,”
    Warren said.Often, Faga said, to match page yields of original
    equipment, rebuilt toner cartridges are overfilled, with the
    accompanying risk of damage to the printer.“Rebuilt cartridges are like
    a trick play in football,” said Greg Michetti, president of Michetti
    Information Services in Edmonton. “There are too many things that can
    go wrong.”