Alexander & Poole, a 40-year old South African company, has been appointed as the sole distributor for Anderson Power Products’ electrical connectors. These products are renowned to offer the highest levels of durability, reliability and performance.
But, while Anderson Power Products (APP) has a sound reputation for the manufacture and distribution of highest quality electrical products, locally, there has also been an alarming influx of counterfeit and inferior products which appear to be APP connectors.
Juanita Fisher-Hill, the company’s national sales manager, is responsible for the sale and distribution of APP products in South Africa. She is adamant that end-users and consumers need to know what to look for and thus avoid unwittingly purchasing counterfeit and inferior parts.
“The greatest offenders are companies from the Far East, which export counterfeit and inferior products – literally by the container load! Unless one knows what to look for, it would be easy to believe these products to be original. They are manufactured to appear indistinguishable from the genuine OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) products,” she says.
The company intends to play a pivotal role in counteracting this disturbing practice and trend, by educating the end-user. “We are currently focused on a concerted sales and marketing drive, to re-ignite and drive awareness around the need for genuine OEM parts, and our Anderson Power Products (APP) range in particular,” Fisher-Hill states.
To this end, she cautions prospective buyers to inspect products closely, to make sure that they know exactly what they are buying.
“This will have the added benefit of ensuring that the local manufacturing, 4 x 4 vehicle, greater automotive – and other vertical industry sectors using electrical connectors and allied products – use genuine OEM parts again. This will boost the entire sector from a quality, safety and productivity perspective, as these products are the mainstay of many mission-critical and essential operational systems,” Fisher-Hill maintains.
“Unfortunately, the attraction of counterfeit parts is their lower price than original OEM parts and, until a malfunction occurs, the end-user is none the wiser,” she explains.
She points out that there is however an important “authenticity checklist” of specific tell-tale signs which can alert buyers as to the authenticity of a part. “The APP range is produced with the strictest adherence to international industry quality and safety compliance standards. Therefore, inferior materials are the first cause for concern. For example, typically used within the 4 x 4 vehicle manufacturing industry and a key product in the APP range, the SB series of connectors clearly demonstrate the difference between the OEM parts and the vastly inferior, counterfeit version.”
Further to this point, Fisher-Hill draws attention to the (apparently) silver lugs. “With an APP connector, these components would be made from silver-coated copper. The counterfeit parts, however, use inferior tin which, when subjected to heat, will simply melt,” she informs.
“Also, the connector plastic is made from recycled, thinner material and – needless to say – has no warranty or guarantee of any kind. Other inherent safety features are missing in counterfeit parts too,” she adds.
The problem is exacerbated by the fact that these sub-standard products are easily available online – so until they are physically in the end user’s hands, the customer has no opportunity to inspect them at close quarters,” she observes.
“The impact on the end-user is serious when using an inferior versus a genuine OEM part. In the electrical sector, for example, when charging a battery, there must be a constant flow of current or else the voltage drops. When that happens, that battery is damaged beyond repair. The potential for disaster is immense when this type of malfunction occurs – whereas an APP product comes with all the correct quality and safety compliance of an industry leader – and with a lifetime guarantee,” Fisher-Hill says.
So, while the end-user may be purchasing counterfeit products at a reduced price, they are constantly replacing them, not to mention running safety and other related risks. This ultimately ends up costing more than if they had purchased the genuine part in the first place, she points out.
“What is of particular concern to us is that these counterfeit parts have no certification whatsoever, having never been subjected to standards compliance testing or quality assessment. Anderson Power Products parts, on the other hand, undergo advanced quality and safety testing and have been appropriately certified.”
Fisher-Hill cites the Anderson DIN product line (heavy duty power connectors) as a good example, which meets and exceeds the 5000-mating cycle required by the DIN 43589-1 standard. It is an expensive exercise to have parts certified and counterfeiters simply do not go to that expense.
“The counterfeiters’ motive is simply to overtake and flood the market with their inferior products. So, be alert and be aware: when it comes to electrical connectors and related products. If it is too good to be true price-wise, it is because the product is not good at all! Instead, it is counterfeit, inferior, and will ultimately cost you and your business in downtime and lost productivity – not to mention potentially compromising your safety and the safety of those who work for you.
Contact Juanita Fisher-Hill, Alexander & Poole, Tel 011 902 0188, firstname.lastname@example.org