I have seen a strange trend developing. A lot of new copier models are replacing perfectly fine models every two to three years and the new models are not as reliable. I’m not going to mention brands so it doesn’t sound like I have an ‘axe to grind’. However, I find this perplexing. In the old days upgrades usually had some improvements which is why new models were always welcomed by the resellers.
I have two theories on this. The first one I hope isn’t true; and that would be that if a copier was ‘bullet proof’ customers wouldn’t want to upgrade. I noticed this trend the past few years. Customers would get to the end of their lease and realize the copier was perfectly fine and decide to keep it. Models before that were not so robust so most people were glad to be at the end the lease of their used copiers so they could trade it in.
To be blunt; the Japanese have to keep their factories in China humming. This means built in obsolescence and consistent upgrades. This is also good for the dealer since they count on a new sale when someone gets to the end of their lease and most people are leasing today.
Often times a customer can sense this when they go up to the control panel or add paper. They can sense that everything is very plastic. Another give away is that the new copier tends to jam more. People always assume these new copiers are well tested before hitting the market. Not always! Sometimes a vendor is competitive and wants to be the first one out with something new and then for the next several months the manufacturer works out the bugs. This is maddening to the reseller because it’s an extra service expense and a slippage in goodwill with the customers.
My second theory and the one I think is true is that they are making new copiers cheaper instead of raising prices. We see this trend everyday in stores. My favorite cereal shrinks in size instead of having a price increase. When I hear from a manufacturer that they redesigned a fuser section that worked perfectly well for years I now think, “they made it cheaper to save money.”
The bottom line is that resellers who specialize in late model used copiers like us have the advantage of sticking with models that had a good reputation when new. We don’t have a manufacturer’s quota to deal with. Believe me, I was a dealer for new copiers for fifteen years and I know what quota pressure feels like. This means the new machine dealers have to push whatever their manufacturers are pushing or else a new dealer gets set up.