Rather than sell things based on value, the marketing and finance types that have hijacked many of America’s manufacturers love to find a way to sell you something cheap, then hook you into paying outrageous prices for the supplies needed to keep the product going. The auto companies have tried to play this game forever – trying to convince people that your car just won’t be the same if it has anything other than ‘genuine’ or ‘certified’ Ford or GM windshield wiper blade.
Among the worst these days are the printer companies – including the vaunted Dell, who does their level best to make it impossible to buy anything other than a Dell printer cartridge every time you run out of ink. HP reaps three times as much profit from peddling cartridges as it does from selling printers. HP wants $29.99 for a replacement cartridge for my printer, which includes a ridiculous markup. Value to me is not part of the equation. The strategy is to try to convince me that my printer just won’t print without genuine, authentic HP plastic and ink; and once they have instilled the proper fear level in me, they can charge me thirty bucks for a product worth a fraction of that.
The opportunity to blatantly use the Superfactory blog page to advertise for an outfit that puts tremendous heat on HP, Dell and Lexmark – pushing them to start being honest in their business strategy gives me great pleasure. The fact that I am plugging a Catholic outfit during Lent might even win me a few points when the time comes to account for myself.
HP wants $30 for a cartridge. I can go up to Walmart and get a generic replacement for $18. Better yet, I can go the the Laser Monks web site and order one for $14. That’s less than half of HP and almost 25% below the generic. The numbers hold true no matter what brand you are buying.
Laser Monks has redefined the notion of teamwork. These guys are a bunch of Catholic monks squirreled away in Wisconsin who got tired of paying ridiculous prices for computer supplies. Laser Monks is a for profit operation, and they are supporting the entire monastery – not just the labor and overhead for the manufacturing operation – and a whole bunch of charities with the profits they make.
I don’t know how lean they are. I imagine the teamwork and employee respect levels are about the highest benchmark there is. Regardless, you and your company ought to get in on the deal, save a bunch of money, and thumb your nose at the marketing MBA types at Dell and HP all at the same time.