The success story of CET Group has been a 22-year journey. What started as a small copier lamp shop in 1996 now includes automated manufacturing facilities, wholly owned operating subsidiaries, and sales and marketing organizations in over 100 countries.
Now, the company hopes to strengthen its North American presence through its recent acquisition of Q2, LLC, a Minnesota-based office imaging parts and supplies distributor—a move spearheaded by Steven Ma, CET Group’s founder, chairman of the board and CEO.
Growth and Globalization
Under Ma’s direction, CET opened CET USA in 2006. Today, located just south of Boston in Raynham, MA, the company includes a newly expanded distribution center that doubled in size and sales offices for the Americas, including South America.
“CET prides itself on developing marketing strategies and programs to meet the specific needs of our customers around the world. Entering into these regions is vital to servicing our global customer base,” said Ma. “We are committed to expanding into areas where we can provide strong local representation and support, which is why we are excited to have Q2 join our team. The people at Q2 are highly experienced and knowledgeable about the U.S. market, and their customer service and support are superior.”
The result of CET’s efforts to expand? In addition to its Massachusetts offices, the company now has five international branches, all of which have opened since 2015: Singapore, Russia, Spain, Brazil and Dubai. The Russian branch, which officially opened in March 2017, manages not only the Russian market, but also Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
In June of 2017, CET merged with Spanish company Reprovigo Export, S.L., to better serve customers in the Western European market. Just one month later, CET combined with Brazil’s Paulimac to form Paulimac/Benfica & CET Group Brasil. CET then capped off the year with the addition of CET AME DMCC in Dubai, established to support their growing business in the Middle East and Africa. All in all, Ma logged 300,000 flight miles in an effort to give his company a larger global reach.
Ma explained, “We have two principles. First, we set out to learn our customer’s point of view about the market or markets they serve. This allows us to understand important requirements so we can respond to customer expectations. Second, we focus on what our customers actually need to be successful in the future, not just what we can provide them today.”
Today, CET offers more than 6,700 products for printers, copiers, and multifunction machines for every major brand including HP, Canon, Ricoh, Xerox, Konica Minolta, Lexmark and others. While the company does offer a small selection of OEM items, the majority of products in their catalog are produced inside their own manufacturing facilities. In addition, CET also operates its own chip design and production company, Ming Qi Electronic, which it acquired in 2016.
The company’s largest investment, and biggest commitment to the office-imaging industry, will come this fall with the grand opening of its new factory campus in Hebei Province, China. The 980,000-plus square foot facility will house every part of the production cycle—research, design, development, training, manufacturing, quality control and warehousing—in an effort to streamline their production system.
The factory will use new, state-of-the-art toner-filling equipment, which will immediately increase capacity by 30 percent, and new robotics to improve production throughout and consistency shift to shift. It also includes a smart warehouse automated handling system that can increase accuracy of storing and picking raw materials and finished goods.
In addition, to its manufacturing, CET has another area of focus that has helped it gain additional notoriety: testing. The company stablished the “CET Imaging Technology Testing Center,” which earned accreditation from the National CNAS and the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision CMA. They have also been authorized by the National Accreditation Committee and the Beijing Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision as a third-party inspection and testing agency for industry products including toner, developer, drums, fuser rollers and more.
Investing in the Future of Its Customers
According to Ma, CET’s focus on delivering cost-effective, quality products has helped the company establish a comprehensive and loyal worldwide customer base. “There is no shortcut to maintaining long-term and stable business relationships,” he maintains. “As a supplier, it is our duty to understand and create common interests that help grow our business and that of our customers. If you can identify and nurture those interests you find satisfaction in mutual growth. We want to maintain a win-win philosophy with our customers—one that creates a relationship built on mutual respect while seeking reciprocal ideas and agreements with the aim of creating more abundant opportunities, wealth, resource recognition and reward. This principal is at the heart of our continuous development and growth.”