Consumables purchasers most stressed in SMBs

September 18, 2014

A Staples survey found that small business owners spending more time managing printer consumables are “most stressed”.work-personalities

The survey, called Know Your Type, focused on “identifying workplace personalities” as well as discovering the purchasing habits of SMB owners when it comes to inkjet and toner cartridges, with management of this aspect of a business causing “high stress levels” for business owners. 300 SMB owners were surveyed from companies varying in size from one to 19 employees and 20 to 49 employees.

One third of SMB owners who classified printing as “very important to their business” were said to have either “high” or “very high” levels of stress, with those spending more time managing printer consumables “the most stressed”. More than 70 percent of the owners surveyed described their position in the workplace as a “hands-on doer”, in that they “prefer to dive in and tackle the work themselves, rather than spending time convincing others to take action”.

38 percent of owners identified as “helpers”, meaning that they “focus on the well-being of others and what they can do to help”, and these owners “have high stress” when purchasing printer consumables. 85 percent of “helpers” are “somewhat last minute in buying ink and toner”, and more than 75 percent “frequently run out of ink and toner during a job at least some of the time”, with 69 percent buying their consumables at a retail outlet.

“Creative” owners, who “prefer going with the flow and working with minimal structure or direction”, are said to be “more organised than they appear […] keeping ink and toner supplies organised”, with the survey finding that 57 percent of creative types “tend to stockpile or keep just enough ink and toner on hand”, though 60 percent of these had “forgotten” the model number of the cartridge they needed “when shopping”.

Finally, the “organiser”, who would “prefer to create structure and follow a routine”, is the one SMB owner that “recycles more”, with 68 percent of “organisers” saying that they “always recycle their ink and toner cartridges”; Staples added that recycling used cartridges “is particularly common” among these SMB owners.

Alison Corcoran, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Staples, stated: “Small business owners tend to operate as CEOs – chiefs of everything. Their focus needs to be on increasing productivity and running a company as efficiently as possible, not worrying about their ink and toner.”

Michael ‘Dr. Woody’ Woodward PhD, an organisational psychologist, added: “Doing it all can mean losing it all. Being hands-on isn’t necessarily a good thing, particularly when it comes to growing a business. Knowing your workplace personality type can help you manage others more efficiently, so you can spend more time on CEO duties.”

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Lenovo could launch printers worldwide

September 16, 2014

TechRadar believes the Chinese manufacturer might consider a global printer launch in 2016.lenovo-printers-900-80

The site has warned OEMs including HP to “watch out”, as printers “could be Lenovo’s next big thing”, having already launched printers in the Chinese market in August 2013, which TechRadar stated was a “low-key announcement” that “barely registered on western technology websites”.

Noting that this was “unlike other Lenovo announcements”, and that “you can’t even find a review of one of them online”, the site believes however that news of the launch “must have reached HP and other vendors months before” due to them being manufactured by the Kinpo Group, whose production lines “churn out half of the printers sold globally”, and believes there is a chance the Chinese company might expand to worldwide sales.

However, it reflected that the global printing market “is tricky”, using the example of Seine Technology’s Pantum printer, which had “big global ambitions in the printer market” after “having done particularly well in the highly-lucrative consumables arena”. Lenovo’s sister company Legend Capital acquired 15 percent of Seine in a “clear indication of the validity of its business model” before the launch of the Pantum brand in 2012 worldwide “having captured five percent of the Chinese market in 2011”.

The Pantum however saw “disappointing” sales, in Europe particularly, and TechRadar notes that the company earned the “unenviable British record of the cheapest brand new laser printer on the market as the channel got rid of remaining stocks”, with some machines “literally being given away when purchasing five reams of A4 paper”.

The site went on to state that the outcome “is likely to be different for Lenovo” if it is “willing to invest in the channel and take some calculated risks” in printer manufacturing, because “unlike Pantum, it is not an unknown brand”, which gives it a “lot of goodwill value and a lot of powerful relationships across the channel”, whilst adding another product line “will not require as much effort as Pantum’s failed endeavour”.

Pointing out the company “needs to find another long term engine of growth” after mobile phones and computers, TechRadar uses the example of how much money HP earned from printers in the last quarter - with $5.59 billion (€4.3 billion). With the world “printing more than ever before”, the site believes that 2016 “might be the year when […] Lenovo finally goes global with its printer range”.

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UK businesses unaware of new waste laws

September 12, 2014

Recycling-Bins-780x585Survey finds 90 percent of UK businesses are “completely unaware” of new changes to waste disposal law, putting them at risk of being fined.

The survey, conducted by BusinessWaste.co.uk, involved 1,700 small businesses in the UK, with just 10 percent of business owners found to have any knowledge of the imminent changes to waste laws in England and Wales, which will come into force from January 2015 and will require businesses to significantly alter their waste management processes.

The amendment to the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 will mean that businesses in England and Wales will be legally obliged to ensure the separate storage and collection of paper, glass, metal and plastic waste; with those who fail to comply faced with potentially unlimited fines.

Following a summary conviction in a magistrate’s court, businesses could face a fine of £5,000 ($8,100/€6,300); but for more serious offences that are heard in a crown court, businesses could face “totally unlimited” fines.

Alex Wignall, Customer Services Manager at BusinessWaste.co.uk, commented: “It is shocking that 90 percent of the businesses we spoke to had no idea that these changes are set to come into law very soon. The cost of not complying with these new regulations could be catastrophic for businesses – small businesses in particular.

“Businesses don’t have much time left to implement these changes, so if they aren’t separating their recyclables already then they really need to start right now. If they don’t, they could find themselves being slapped with unlimited fines by the courts, something which can obviously cause huge damage to any business involved.”

The new legislation originated from the EU Waste Framework Directive, and means that co-mingling recyclables with non-recyclable waste types will become a criminal offence. However, mixing recyclable waste types together will still be categorised as separation and will be permitted. The new waste regulations resemble those already in force across Scotland.

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Governments and businesses working towards circular economy

September 11, 2014

A number of manufacturers have begun to take a lead in working towards a circular economy.RecycleItStand

Marketing Week reported on the moves towards implementing a circular economy model through governments and businesses, with some brands “pushed towards” rethinking manufacturing, and governments promoting the idea that “recycling is about to get serious”.

The site notes that with the world’s population set to increase to nine billion by 2050, the “strain on natural resources is ever-tighter”, with the circular economy the “latest buzz phrase” to describe an “ideal economic system in which all products and industrial activities are recyclable”. It adds that the idea is “a direct challenge to marketers to devise alternative strategies” to products having a defined lifecycle, meaning they would need to consider eco-design from the outset.

One manufacturer seeking to “take a lead” is Philips, which has “set up a circular economy team to focus on innovation”, with ideas including “repurposing old components in its healthcare equipment business to build new products”, and a target of “using 3,500 tonnes of recycled plastics in its consumer electronics division in 2015”.

The idea of going beyond corporate social responsibility (CSR) was also addressed, with the site noting that “sustainability should permeate every aspect of a company’s activity, from the products it makes to the energy it uses […] undertaking these kinds of process improvements will create savings across [businesses] that will ultimately benefit the bottom line”, with management consultants McKinsey & Company claiming businesses “could derive” over $1 trillion (€773 billion) of value each year “from materials that are presently deemed to be waste”.

Marketing Week points out that many governments are implementing or investigating the circular economy, with the European Commission’s Towards a circular economy: a zero waste programme for Europe report published in July with the aim to develop “new business models, eco-design and industrial symbiosis [that] can move us towards zero-waste”, alongside pledges to increase packaging waste recycling to 80 percent and lower food waste by 30 percent by 2030.

One recent example is the French government’s move in August to “compel electronics retailers in the country to make space in their shops so that consumers can drop off old devices such as mobile phones, toasters and kettles for recycling”. UK MP Laura Sandys also proclaimed the circular economy model in July, as The Recycler previously reported.

Whilst Marketing Week’s article notes that “such reports are unlikely to herald a sudden regulatory overhaul […] they do, however, show that the circular economy has become part of the mainstream political discourse, and is likely to prompt a gradual creep of measure that brands must adapt to”.

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Cartridge World Slough offers postal service

September 10, 2014

Ian Chai, owner of Cartridge World Slough

Ian Chai, owner of Cartridge World Slough

Parcels2Post service said to offer potential savings of up to two thirds on cost of posting parcels up to 15 kilograms in weight.

Cartridge World Slough announced that its customers will have the benefit of using the new Parcels2Post service, enabling them to use a touch screen terminal, similar to a cashpoint machine or self-service till, to send parcels anywhere in the world via a global network of carriers. Payment can be made by credit or debit card prior to the item being dropped into a secure post box ready for collection and sending.

The service is part of B2C Europe, said to be “one of the fastest growing parcel distributors in the UK”, and uses the benefits of volume discounts and “intelligent parcel routing” to reduce postage costs, creating “a keenly competitive parcel post service”.

Ian Chai, Owner of Cartridge World Slough, commented: “At Cartridge World Slough, we’re always looking to save our customers’ money – both business and retail. Our range of great value inkjet and laser printer cartridges offer savings of up to 30 percent [compared to OEM cartridges]. Our new parcel service is another way of offering quality at a significantly lower cost.”

He added: “I see this service being of benefit to the growing numbers of internet shoppers and eBay users. It also offers additional savings for small businesses that are VAT registered. Our high street location and six days a week opening makes it a realistic and money saving alternative to the post office. And of course, traceability is built into the service, so customers have complete peace of mind.”

Meanwhile, Parcels2Post’s Chief Operating Office, Jon Bunston, said: “Our new service has been two years in development and extensively tested. We’ve used customer feedback to perfect it. The service has been so well received that we are now ready to expand it to other locations – of which Cartridge World Slough is the first. Their location and commitment to customer service, makes them an ideal retail partner to work with.”

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Printlife hires new Sales Director

September 10, 2014

The company has appointed Christian Flögel as Sales Director.

Christian Flögel

Christian Flögel

Flögel has joined Printlife after a 15-year career in the aftermarket, including three years as a Business Development Manager at Static Control and seven years as a General Manager at InkTec. The company noted that he has gained “extensive experience in different sales channels” before taking up his new role at Printlife, which states it is an “emerging company” in the industry.

The company, which has been in existence since 2006, became a GmbH this year for “a more stable base in Germany”, and has three production plants based in Drumersheim staffed by 25 employees, with an annual production capacity of 240,000 toner cartridges. Printllife also describes itself as a “pure outsourcing operation for other recyclers and trading companies with their own brands. We do not have any own brand[s] and we are not dealing in [the] B2C business”.

Flögel commented: “Printlife was my next logical step in the industry. It is a company in [my] home [town] Baden, and the convincing quality of our products [was] known to me for a long time.” He will work alongside Managing Director Pascal Kaindl and Business Development Manager Antonion Perales – who is based in Barcelona – to support customers from southern Europe.

Kaindl also stated: “Our strength is the speed in our R&D, therefore we need to have qualified sales people to communicate this with our customer network.“ Printlife noted that it is also “working closely with a big manufacturer of components”, and “strongly” respects others’ intellectual property, with some of its cartridges certified under the Blue Angel, LGA and Nordic Swan accreditations, and new models including replacements for the CS and CX originals.

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Sexism prevalent in UK tech industry

September 9, 2014

INPE0988Survey finds 71 percent of women working in the tech industry label sexism as an industry problem.

A survey conducted by UK online accounting firm Crunch Accounting has found that 43 percent of female respondents who work in the tech or IT industries have witnessed or experienced sexism in the workplace, with 71 percent labelling it as an industry issue.

500 IT workers from across the UK were polled between 1 and 22 July 2014 about their experiences relating to sexism and gender discrimination, with views differing between male and female workers. Over half of female respondents described the workplace sexism problem as ‘moderate’ or ‘extreme’, compared to 32 percent of male respondents. Meanwhile, 28 percent of male respondents indicated their belief that sexism was not a problem in the tech sector, compared to 14 percent of female respondents.

The problem worsens as it was found that just 45 percent of respondents said they would report a sexist act to management, while 29 percent said they would leave the issue unreported and 26 percent said they were unsure if they would take the issue further.

Commenting on the findings, Laurence Barry, Development Manager at Crunch Accounting, said: “There is a serious shortage of skilled tech workers in this country and yet we may be discouraging half the potential candidates from a sustained career in this industry with outdated sexism. It is a problem that the entire industry needs to address. That needs to start with all tech workers, male and female, taking responsibility for reporting and responding to any sexism they experience in the workplace and with managers treating it as a serious problem.

“We also need more women in STEM education at all levels, so that the tech industries are recruiting higher numbers of female STEM graduates. This leads to a virtuous circle, because the more women we have in technology the more we see how false that gender gap is and we breakdown those barriers.”

He added: “We are seeing huge growth in female entrepreneurship amongst our clients and have a growing number of women in our Development department at Crunch, so I think we can see a very bright future where sexism in the tech industry is just a distant memory. But we still have work to do, as an industry, to achieve that.”

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The Recycler appoints Dhruv Mahajan as representative for India

September 9, 2014

The Recycler is pleased to announce that it has appointed Dhruv Mahajan representative for the GCC and SAARC countries.

Dhruv Mahajan

Dhruv Mahajan

The appointment for the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) regions is part of The Recycler’s objective to deliver a global news and information service to the worldwide remanufacturing community. Mahajan will lead The Recycler’s presence in the region, and take the overall responsibility to increase market awareness about The Recycler. He will report to The Recycler’s General Manager, Stefanie Unland.

Commenting on the appointment, Unland said: “The region represents a significant opportunity for The Recycler given the strong influence that remanufacturing has in the region’s office products market, and we are pleased to appoint Dhruv Mahajan as The Recycler’s representative for the region.”

Mahajan had previously represented Discover Imaging Products in the Indian market for two years, and before that represented Uninet in India. He has successfully promoted sales and business development of aftermarket products in India since 2007, and is a highly motivated and qualified professional with experience in all aspects of business strategies including sales, operational, and client relations.

Besides the above, he also has a strong understanding of the imaging and printing business in India, which will help The Recycler to increase its presence in the country. In 2013, the Indian office products market was worth $28 billion (€21 billion), with pure remanufacturing having an overall market share of 11 percent of the office printing segment, indicating a strong opportunity to grow the sector to around 23 percent in-line with other market-leading countries.

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CBR/CRTechnologies relocation benefits business

September 8, 2014

CBR/CRTechnologies' new location in Frenkendorf.

CBR/CRTechnologies’ new location in Frenkendorf.

Refill machine manufacturer moves to a more accessible location in Frenkendorf, 12 kilometres south of Basel.

Switzerland-based manufacturer of cartridge refill machines, CBR/CRTechnologies, moved premises at the start of July; with Fredy Gass explaining that the main reason for moving was due to the long commute employees faced every day at their previous location: “In the past, almost everyone wasted time – at least 30 minutes per day – in the daily traffic.”

The new location, Gass said, has “great accessibility by car” and so “all eight employees are happy”. He added that the new location is also “just beside several shopping centres and other shops, on the first floor of a busy business centre where several other companies have their offices. This has allowed us to activate a customer counter in our refill business, THINKshop.ch, and we have already had additional business from walk-in customers”.

The companies’ new address is: CBR Engineering AG / CRTechnologies AG, Parkstrasse 6, 4402 Frenkendorf, Switzerland.

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UK manufacturing at slowest rate for 14 months

September 2, 2014

manufacturingPMI falls to 52.5 in August – the lowest level since June 2013 – due to a fall in new orders.

The Guardian reported that the UK manufacturing sector hit a 14-moth low in August, with a PMI level of 52.5 – down from 54.8 in July and below previous forecasts in a Reuters poll.

Despite the PMI being above 50, indicating that the sector is still seeing growth, it was reported that “the onus will fall on consumers to keep driving the UK’s economic upturn” in the final half of the year; with the slower rate attributed to the new orders component dropping to its lowest level since April last year at 52.9 – down from 56.8 in July. This was reportedly the “biggest one-month drop for two years”, with factories hiring staff “at the slowest pace” since June 2013.

The UK’s PMI level reflected that of Eurozone manufacturers, which also indicated that growth had “eased more than expected”; while the EEF – the UK’s main manufacturing trade body – cutting its growth forecast for 2014 following members reporting “a big drop in export orders”.

Rob Dobson, Senior Economist at Markit, commented: “It is becoming increasingly evident that UK industry is not immune to the impacts of rising geopolitical and global market uncertainty […] that’s especially true when they affect economic growth and business confidence in our largest trading partner, the Eurozone.”

However, Dobson noted that the pace of the UK manufacturing sector’s expansion “remained slightly above its long-term average” despite “consumer, intermediate and investment goods producers” seeing a “slowdown”.

Markit noted that employment within the UK manufacturing sector “increased overall, mainly due to hiring from small to medium-sized manufacturers”, but “staffing levels fell at big firms”; while “price pressures continued to look muted” as the MPI showed that “factory gate prices grew at the weakest pace since March”.

The Recycler reported that the UK manufacturing sector ended 2013 with strong growth, as output growth was set to reach over one percent for the final quarter of the year. It was also reported that November 2013 saw the highest PMI level recorded for three years, reaching 58.1.

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