Mark Pinner Cartridge World China Quality rtmworld

The Search for Consistent Quality in China

Mark Pinner Cartridge World China Quality rtmworldI can confidentially say that historically, we have worked with pretty much every ink & toner vendor in the world. Our quest was always to find vendors that could provide our franchise network with high-quality, reliable, cost-effective, and IP-safe products—with most of our activity focused on China.

I don’t mind admitting that there were disastrous encounters, but in the end, it was an invaluable learning process that exposed us to the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Cartridge World has always searched for a fair price and consistent-quality with IP indemnification from the parts. Consistency was the continual hurdle in our adventures.

To illustrate our challenges, here is a typical scenario with a vendor. It started when requesting a TN450 sample for testing:

  • testing would identify that the product did not meet
  • The vendor would reply: “No problem, we will send another sample.”
  • The second sample would show improvement but not to specification.
  • The vendor would reply: “No problem we will send another sample.”
  • The third sample would show further improvement and meet the specification.

With this third sampling, we thought we had landed that Holy Grail vendor and product. It wasn’t a happy ending…

However, as each sample improved in print quality with different, higher-quality components it also eroded the supplier’s margin. Ten containers later we finally had a relationship we had hoped for with a supplier delivering the expected quality consistency.

Guess what happened next?

Someone changed the formulas. The quality suddenly took a nosedive, and the relationship with the vendor went sour because they chose to risk the relationship and business volume by changing our approved build model components with cheaper ones to increase their margin per cartridge.

In 2012, we thought we had the solution. After evaluating and approving a product-build, we would bring all containers into a facility in North America and test all cartridges before they were packed into Cartridge World branded packaging for our franchise owners.

The theory was great and the outcome for our franchise owners should have been perfect: high-quality, fair-priced, and IP-indemnified cartridges. Goodbye bad and ugly; hello good.

The plan was an unmitigated disaster. On average, we rejected 22 percent of product due to poor print (and sometimes as high as 80 percent). We had massive, debilitating stockouts and increased processing costs for the test center.

On yet another occasion, we became so confident with a couple of vendors that we had the cartridges molded in the corporate Cartridge World blue and yellow—only to have 100 percent of the first testing container fail.

Thankfully, everything changed in 2016 when Dr. Richard Yu of Suzhou Golden Green Technologies set up the Cartridge World Global Procurement Center (CW-GPC) in the epicenter of the aftermarket manufacturers in Zhuhai, China. Staffed with industry-leading technical, procurement, and quality management individuals, our GPC procurement team—armed with local knowledge—began sourcing products from local vendors using our own build-specific component specifications.

Today, our GPC quality team carries out what we call our “Triple” quality check where:

  • quality teams check products during production and after production;
  • further sampling is carried out once the order has been completed and is only released to our Zhuhai-based GPC warehouse once when the shipment passes testing;
  • A third sampling is carried out once the order arrives at the GPC and products that pass are Cartridge World branded and packaged for containers and shipped across the world to our distribution partners.

Since the China-based GPC started providing our network with ink and toner cartridges, our franchise owners have enjoyed a very low 1.72 percent average failure rate, and that is definitely good.

We are looking for Area Developers, Re-sellers, and Master franchisees across the world to sell Cartridge World products and services. If you are interested in joining our new franchise concept and global brand, as well as having access to our Premium Series triple checked cartridges, contact us today.

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