When a user invests in a new HP printer, they have every reason to expect the output will continue to be as crisp and clear from the day they purchased it, and for many years into the future.

Allan Thompson, chief executive of Kolok, a division of Bidvest PaperPlus (Pty) Ltd.

The best way to do that is to ensure that genuine supplies are used for the life of the printer, according to Allan Thompson, chief executive of Kolok, a division of Bidvest PaperPlus (Pty) Ltd.

Kolok distributes the full range of HP ink and toner supplies and HP large format inks and print media.

Thompson explains that genuine HP supplies are manufactured by HP or under license from HP, and are always the best option for an HP printer.

“The genuine consumables give the customer the best possible printing result. Using the original HP printing supplies also results in a longer life span for the printer.

“So ultimately, in using the HP genuine cartridges, the customer is guaranteed the best quality print and longer trouble‐free printing.”

Of course, consumables doesn’t mean just the ink or toner – the media used in the printer also makes a surprising difference, Thompson says. “With genuine paper coupled with the correct ink, users can achieve extremely high‐quality – even awesome – prints.”

Despite the many benefits of genuine supplies, users and resellers still buy non‐genuine consumables in the mistaken belief that it won’t affect the output.

Thompson acknowledges that there is demand for non‐genuine consumables, but more often than not the result is not comparable to what users can expect from the real thing.

Customers can expect to encounter a number of serious issues when using refilled, remanufactured, counterfeit or compatible toners.

“They might notice a lower print quality, fewer pages printed per cartridge under the same print conditions, spillage of ink or toner into the printer, and damage to the print head or the printer itself,” Thompson says.

Apart from potential damage, users are likely to end up with a less‐than‐perfect job. “This is in direct contrast to the perfect job, first time, that they can expect with genuine supplies,” he points out.

“And, even though some of the non‐genuine products available now are actually pretty good, nothing beats the original.”

When problems arise with the printer, the printer manufacturer often gets the blame. “But, in actual fact, many of the problems experienced are due to using the non‐original print cartridges,” says Thompson.

“These products can result in a shorter lifespan for the printer and result in costs to the warranty centre.”

Cost is the most‐often cited reason why users move to remanufactured or refilled products, but Thompson points out that the cost they pay for genuine consumables covers so much more than just the ink or toner.

“The printer vendors make substantial investments in research and development to create the products and consumables in the first place – so yes, you do pay more for the original.

“And, while remanufactured or refilled cartridges and toners look similar to the genuine product, you aren’t getting the same level of manufacturing excellence or scientifically‐developed ink and toner.”

Resellers could be forced to offer remanufactured or refilled supplies if they find that stock of the original product is not available – although Thompson hopes they would never stoop to giving their customers counterfeit products.

This is why stock levels are of the greatest importance – and it’s something that Kolok takes extremely seriously.

The company not only holds about R100‐million of HP genuine supplies, generally at a stock‐holding level of about 95%, it also has seven distribution centres in South Africa and a presence in both Namibia and Botswana as well.

With three deliveries a day in Johannesburg, and two a day in Cape Town, Durban, Polokwane, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth and Nelspruit, it can ensure delivery of the right product within 24 hours in the main centres and 48 hours in outlying areas.

“We offer our partners the highest possible ‘stock in’ position, thus allowing our resellers to have a lower investment in their businesses by not having to carry high stock levels,” Thompson says. “This means our partners can free up capital and basically use our warehousing as their own warehouse,” Thompson says.

Kolok will even deliver directly to the end customer on behalf of the reseller, regardless of the customer’s location. “Our stock‐holding, combined with our fast and flexible deliveries, are tremendous value‐adds for our customers,” Thompson says. “It means our resellers can run a stockless business and still offer their customers the best range of products, with a fast turnaround.

“This results in a win‐win‐win situation for HP, our customers and Kolok.”

Kolok, which started life in 1966 as an office and scholastic stationery distributor called Pelikan, took on the sub‐distribution of HP ink and toner cartridges in 1989. It became a direct distributor of HP printer supplies in 1999.

The company changed its name to Kolok in 1994, and was acquired by Bidvest in 1997.

“Our mission is to be top‐of‐mind and the supplier of choice to our customer base, for all office and home printing supplies, data storage consumables and office products,” Thompson says.

“What makes us so successful is the range of strong brands that we distribute, our committed and focused staff and a successful group of customers.”

Kolok chose to partner with HP because it was –and still is –the leader in the South African printer market. “There is no question about that,” Thompson affirms.