Domestic PC Brand: Where Quality Meets Price
The times are gone when buyers would base their choice on whether or not a PC was made in the West. This decade-old stereotype is no longer meaningful in a day when consumer needs are completely different. The most important criteria are product reliability, quality, the availability of a vendor’s service network, and promptness and quality in after-sales service. The dynamics of PC sales in the Kazakh market show that the majority of buyers tend to prefer domestically assembled computers. This is natural: with their long experience and finely-tuned marketing systems, the leading Kazakh manufacturers have succeeded in elevating their trademarks to the level of national brands.
So, what is the modern Kazakh PC brand, and what are its intrinsic characteristics? We tried to answer this question together with specialists from LogyCom, a major computer vendor in Central Asia.
Quality – the most important value
It is well known that the viability of a trademark relies on its popularity. This is especially relevant to local producers who are exposed to strong pressure from the transnational IT giants. In this difficult game LogyCom plays the “quality card” at all times.
Pavel Raspopin, head of production at LogyCom, says that the reliability of the finished product is ensured by meticulous selection of components. The company uses advanced checking equipment to detect defects in all stages of manufacture. At the outset, all components are tested for quality and compatibility. All processes are carried out in strict compliance with specifications, which ensures a high quality of assembly. In the final stage, computers are subjected to a thermal test in a special chamber. Presale testing of all hardware is performed using specialised software packages. Importantly, every production stage and test is logged, and the records of all computers and components are entered into a common database. This makes it much easier to upgrade or repair PCs subsequently.
In order to enhance product competitiveness, Kazakh companies are upgrading their quality assurance systems to international standards. For example, in May 2002 LogyCom became the first domestic manufacturer to receive an ISO-9001:2000 certificate for its QA system. This was accompanied by analysing, rearranging and structuring the production processes, which in turn brought benefits for product quality and to the production culture in general.
Consumer feedback is another important factor in quality assurance. LogyCom’s “hotline” serves to organize customers’ quality-related questions and provide speedy solutions.
Flexibility, functionality, service
As a rule, Western manufacturers are orientated towards the corporate sector and offer a limited choice of standard configurations. Kazakh IT companies, by contrast, tend not to focus on a single consumer group, but successfully combine mass production with an individual approach to each buyer.
This is clear from the LogyCom model range, which offers a variety of purchase options, from inexpensive “entry level” PCs to powerful professional workstations. The configuration for each series is designed to best serve the needs of the consumer group for which it is intended.
The company is gaining a strong advantage by the prompt introduction of the latest components, such as Intel Pentium IV processors based on the Hyper Threading technology. The open architecture of domestic computers makes them more functional and easier to modernise using the wide range of available accessories.
Kazakh companies also win out by offering a quicker and cheaper service than their Western competitors. Most internationally renowned IT brands usually have one or two service partners in Kazakhstan, and it takes them too long to order the necessary components from abroad for repairing foreign-made computers.
Bogdan Lashkevich, head of LogyCom’s service centre, believes that the popularity of the brand is largely due to the company’s extensive service network, which makes it possible to reduce servicing times to a minimum. Apart from the company’s own service centres in Almaty, Aktau and Astana, local support to customers is provided via 22 partner service centres scattered throughout the country. In order to maintain the high qualifications of its dealers and service partners, LogyCom regularly runs training courses, conferences and seminars at its training centre.
Another unquestionable advantage of domestic brands is their affordability. This benefit is ensured by the optimum balance between the price and quality of the product, also by the fact that manufacturers operate their own distribution networks.
In practice, the price/quality balance of Kazakh-made computers tends to enhance marketability, with their prices being very competitive compared with imports.
Igor Yeremin, director of retail sales, says: “Today LogyCom is truly becoming a people’s brand, as our specialised shop network is orientated towards household users and small offices. What is it that attracts our customers? Mainly our competitive prices, excellent service and the detailed advice obtainable from our technical staff. In a LogyCom shop, you can be sure that your consumer rights will be honoured in full compliance with Kazakh law. We are continually in search of new sales technology and apply an efficient system of bonuses. For example, our shops in Almaty are laid out as supermarkets where items are exhibited openly and the buyer can pick them up and try them right away. We are planning to launch a retail sales network in the regions – yet another step in making our brand even more widely available.”
LogyCom – the Logical Choice!
For eleven years the name of LogyCom has been closely associated with the Kazakh IT market. Founded in April 1992, the company rose to the position of one of the largest PC manufacturers in Kazakhstan and the whole of Central Asia. Today its production capacity is 250 computers a day. According to monitoring data provided by International Data Corporation (IDC), LogyCom was the fastest-growing IT company in the market in 1997, ranking third in Central Asia in terms of production. In 1998 LogyCom became the second largest company, and in 1999, despite crisis conditions, assumed the lead by winning 11% of the Central Asian PC market. Today LogyCom is successful in retaining its “#1” status: in 2002 its production amounted to 10,700 PCs. LogyCom computers are working reliably both in private companies and government agencies. The company has Kazakh Post, KazTransOil, KazTransGaz, Kazaeronavigatsiya, Kazatomprom, Intergaz Cetral Asia, the Almaty Education and Sports Department, Kazakhtelecom, Halyk Bank of Kazakhstan, Kazkommertsbank, Bank TuranAlem, Nurbank, Almaty International Bank, Deutsche Bank AG, Temirbank, Basis Corporation, Coca-Cola, the embassies of India and Cuba in Kazakhstan, Seimar, and many others as its corporate customers.
The achievements of LogyCom as a national brand have received excellent reviews from its partners, buyers and independent experts. In 2001 and 2002, the board of the nationwide Choice of the Year competition conferred “The #1 PC in Kazakhstan” title on LogyCom products. LogyCom has been awarded the special Diploma For Contribution to the Development of the Industrial Potential of Almaty, and in spring this year 3Com conferred Golden Partner status on its Kazakh partner.
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