It is often difficult for consumers to derive the right purchase decision from the flood of information on the Internet, as they are often unable to judge which information is factually correct. Important orientation is provided by seals which, in addition to being useful to the customer, also offer a certain level of protection against counterfeiting for the products on offer.

What exactly does the end customer want in the store

The topic of anti-counterfeiting is not quite as topical for us as a cardboard box manufacturer, so this can usually be left out of the equation, because for the most part standardized products are requested by the industry. The question that seems much more exciting to us is: how can we set ourselves apart from our competitors on the market? On the one hand, there are the tried-and-tested formulas such as service quality, speedy processing of orders and rapid resolution of complaints. In principle, a very close collaboration with the customer to share anything regarding the product. But sometimes it can also be important for us as a B2B manufacturer to know what the customer wants locally in the store.

Importance of the Internet for the customer relationship

With the increasing wikiization and the consequences of the Internet, opinions about certain products can be obtained very quickly on the Internet. For us, the Internet is usually the platform for presenting new products directly to consumers and having them rate them, which is very easy to do today in social networks with the “I like” button. These impressions then have to be implemented in product development and the impressions gained have to be incorporated into the product in order to produce the most suitable product possible for the customer who sells it to the end consumer in the store.

Seals are points of orientation for the consumer

It should also be noted that we are currently in a jungle of certificates. The principle of a seal is that the consumer can use it as a guide. In the food industry in particular, there are now a large number of seals on which the consumer can no longer find precisely this orientation described, because there are simply too many to give them any real credibility. We as an industry should therefore make sure that we continue to work with seals, but if possible with uniform ones, in order to turn consumer uncertainty into security again, which would help us all. If we take other industries such as the electronics industry as an example at this point, there have been major battles there as well, such as the tussle of Blu-ray and HD-DVD formats. In the end, the format that won out was the one that had the biggest companies behind it.

TÜV Nord and Stiftung Warentest as trust-building institutions

If you look at the latest statistical surveys by the company Infratest, TÜV Nord and Stiftung Warentest score best in terms of customer confidence. Where does this come from? Both are tangible to the consumer. While everyone has had their car checked by a TÜV inspector at least once in their life, everyone also has the opportunity to become part of the test through the print edition of Stiftung Warentest and to follow it closely, which is why these organizations enjoy such trust among consumers. So the only question that remains is how to ensure counterfeit protection. Just recently, I was at a TÜV Nord seminar on behalf of our company and attended the event on the “Made in Germany” certificate. There, not only were presentations given on this topic, but the benefits of such a certificate were also discussed controversially in order to capture as many opinions as possible.

Certification as a prerequisite for the “Made in Germany” seal of quality

It is important to note that TÜV Nord conducts this audit according to similar criteria as other audits. However, even this certificate does not provide any company with 100% protection against counterfeiting, but it certainly assures the outside world that this certified company is authorized to manufacture with the “Made in Germany” label. The exact definition of what is required for this can be found in Article 24 of the Customs Code. Whether with or without a certificate, the important thing is that the “Made in Germany” label has transformed over the years from a seal of shame in the 19th century to an absolute seal of quality, which is why care must continue to be taken in the future to protect this seal and to keep the quality requirements for it just as high as in earlier times.

Attraction of junior staff through certificates

However, the synergies of a certificate can also mean that a company makes itself interesting to skilled personnel to whom the company has not previously caught their eye, because it represents that the company wants to continue manufacturing in Germany. This means that, in addition to counterfeit protection, a certain external effect has also been created for junior staff, who are known to be scarce in Germany.
For us as a cartonboard manufacturer, it is important to find a middle way between the above-mentioned points in order to be able to position ourselves reasonably on the market and continue to gain market share. In our industry, however, anti-counterfeiting does not play such a major role as it does in the textile industry, for example, because our customers receive their products manufactured to order and then call off these orders, sometimes in shifts, at short intervals, which would not be possible at all if the products were shipped from the Far East in at least 4 weeks. This flexibility can only be guaranteed with a location here on site, which is why we at Hubert von Carnap GmbH & Co. KG are also glad to be able to continue production in the tranquil Windecker Ländchen.

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