Used IT products are usually too good to throw away. When put back on the market, they reduce the consumption of resources. They also offer customers inexpensive alternatives to new devices. Even software can be re-marketed if the legal framework conditions are observed. Customers who want to purchase used goods from the specialist dealer or system house of their choice, however, expect quality, service, legal security and guarantees that are equivalent to those of new products. The individual reseller can often not guarantee this. However, there are specialists who specialize in refurbishing & remarketing. "As a professional ITAD service provider, we take on the entire process, from logistics to data removal and resale to recycling of IT hardware at the end of the life cycle, so that resellers can fully concentrate on their core business," explains Eric Rositzki, Executive Director Life-cycle Services at Ingram Micro. ITAD stands for "IT Asset Disposition". This can also be worthwhile for private or commercial end customers: "Refurbished hardware is characterized by the low purchase costs of up to 70 percent discount compared to the new price," says Christian Asemissen, Member of the Management Board at Webinstore, a subsidiary of the Also Group. "Due to constant system requirements, reprocessed hardware has hardly any noticeable performance losses compared to new goods," adds Michael Bleicher, managing director of refurbishing specialist BB-Net. The company markets processed IT products under the brand name TecXL. "Extremely robust, certified according to military standards, docking solutions for notebooks and CPUs that are even more powerful than current entry-level processors even after four years - devices from the premium business series from the major manufacturers offer all of this," confirms Ralf Schweitzer, Managing Director of Remarketing Experts GSD. The environment benefits Customers who sell used goods can also benefit: "In the case of new acquisitions or modernization of equipment, the seller can invest the proceeds of the used equipment directly for it," explains IngramDirector Rositzki. When ordering new devices, retailers should actively ask customers whether they would like to sell their used hardware in return. But not only used IT is returned to the goods cycle. Remarketing also includes the sale of exhibition and demo equipment, B-goods or returns. "B-goods offer a number of advantages for companies: The economic damage caused by returned goods is reduced, and trade-in campaigns offer attractive offers for new goods in combination with the return of old devices," emphasizes Steffen Ebner, Chief Sales Officer at TK -Distributor Komsa. In addition, the environmental aspect plays an elementary role: "Extending the product life cycle is almost always more environmentally friendly than buying a new one," says BB-Net boss Bleicher. This not only saves valuable raw materials. "There is only minimal CO2 emissions during transport and processing," explains Webinstore board member Asemissen. “In the refurbished cycle, the IT sales partner enjoys a healthy profit margin, while the end consumer has considerable savings on the purchase price.
Remarketing & refurbishing of IT hardware not only avoids unnecessary electronic waste, but can also bring customers enormous cost advantages. Specialists ensure that the goods are prepared in a high quality and can be put back into circulation.
More than resellers leftover ramp
Manufacturers like to present themselves as green, environmentally friendly companies. That goes down well with customers. However, it is difficult for customers and resellers to check how environmentally friendly things really are. There are often deficits in hardware in particular: The production processes can be further optimized, as fewer raw materials and energy are used and fewer harmful substances are released into the environment. The design can be improved so that devices overall last longer, can be repaired in the event of damage and better recycled after the product's life. Current drivers can be provided so that a still functional device can also run with the latest version of an operating system. But manufacturers live from the sale of new products and have little interest in using old devices for as long as possible. So it is sometimes still quite dirty under the green cover. But not only the environmental aspect plays a role in the life cycle of the products. Specialist dealers and system houses are increasingly required to take back old devices and delete the data in a certified manner. Workplace-as-a-Service concepts reinforce this trend. In addition to opportunities for improvement on the manufacturer side, refurbishment and remarketing of used IT products can make a significant contribution to environmental protection. The products prepared by experts still meet the demands of many customers. In addition, the specialists offer valuable assistance with lifecycle management. So used IT has long been more than just a reseller's spare ramp, but a serious sales channel. Further information can be found from page 8.
Protect the environment and your wallet
Correct data erasure is essential
The reprocessing of hardware is sometimes very complex. The experts must be able to adapt to a wide range of products and models from different manufacturers. That requires a lot of know-how and sometimes also more expensive special equipment. "In addition, checking all installed components and replacing defective parts with high-quality, long-lasting spare parts as well as precise visual assessment are part of the compulsory program in order to be able to offer the customer a consistent and trustworthy standard", describes Christian Asemissen from Webinstore Conditions. Another important aspect is data that may still be on the used devices. "The handling of data is the Achilles heel of every company," says Michael Bleicher. According to him, a “sensible” data erasure includes a complete security and software concept. "So far, only a few refurbishers have been able to reliably cover this," he believes. "For example, we can delete the data directly on site in the company and carry out a safe transport to our workshops," Ingram manager Rositzki describes a scenario.
Software has to be legal
After the legally compliant and certified deletion of the data, it is often necessary to equip the products with the latest versions of operating systems, firmware or other software. "As a Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher, we deliver all devices with Windows 10 and thus technically offer the latest operating system, regardless of whether the device previously ran on earlier Windows versions," emphasizes GSD Managing Director Schweitzer. In order to be able to use Windows licenses as a refurbisher and to counteract software piracy, Microsoft developed the MAR partner program with various partner levels. This program makes it possible to install original and legally compliant licenses on the devices. "Purchasing a refurbished device from a Micro-soft Authorized Refurbisher guarantees the end user a device with an original and functional license," explains Michael Bleicher from BB-Net. The remarketing of software is a particular challenge. MRM Distribution from Unterschleißheim has specialized in this business field: "Even after the legal situation clarified by the ECJ since 2012, the challenge is still in the procurement, because the legislative requirements for the legal trade in used software are quite remarkable", describes Ernesto Schmutter, Managing Director at MRM Distribution, explains the starting point. Therefore, according to Schmutter, the company was founded for trading in used software and as a partner for the channel in order to offer IT resellers and thus also their end customers a maximum of security with regard to compliance with legal and manufacturer specifications. "Used software wholesaling in every region belongs in the hands of a reputable distributor," he affirmed. MRM now also offers hardware. However, this is not processed by the Unterschleissheimers themselves. Here the wholesaler works with BB-Net and GSD.
High quality products are in demand
Not all IT products are suitable for reprocessing. “At the moment, refurbished laptops and PCs, tablets and smartphones in particular promise a profitable business. But servers and workstations are also very popular in the used market, ”explains Eric Rositzki from Ingram Micro. You buy all IT hardware in order to fully exploit the possibilities of a second life cycle. "It is irrelevant whether the hardware comes from the office, the data center or the workplace," says Rositzki. For GSD managing director Schweitzer there is a secondary market for all products, even if this can be limited in terms of sales opportunities. "It is important that you have the right experts for your own product groups and that the preparation processes are constantly adapted to the innovations of the products in order to meet our customers' expectations in terms of quality and appearance," says Schweitzer. “Devices from the business lines of A-brand manufacturers such as HP, Lenovo, Fujitsu or Dell are best suited for the second life cycle. These combine high-quality materials and first-class workmanship and are also geared towards intensive, long-term use, ”says BB-Net expert Bleicher. Not all devices are equally intended for a second life. “Printers and telecommunications systems are less worthwhile because printers are very complex to prepare, including high shipping costs. In the case of telecommunications systems, the residual value tends to zero after three to five years, ”said Webinstore manager Asemissen. Refurbishers have therefore often specialized in specific product groups or even brands. TK distributor Komsa, for example, is one of the largest repair and reconditioning service providers for smartphones in Europe. "Devices with a high utility value and devices of very high value are particularly suitable for reconditioning," emphasizes Ebner. On the other hand, products with a low new price, high decline in value and a low demand effect on the market are unsuitable. According to Ebner, a single piece of smartphones can be worthwhile once the entire process has been established. Other product groups sometimes require higher quantities so that the effort pays off. "The return and reconditioning process must have an economic relationship to the residual value of the device (s)," explains GSD managing director Schweitzer. It could be that a notebook is picked up, but the purchase of 100 PCs is refused due to a very long use. "The rule of thumb is: It gets interesting from 50 devices", says Michael Bleicher from BB-Net. With higher-quality devices, however, a smaller number is also worthwhile. For Ingram lifecycle expert Eric Rositzki, the long-term partnership in ITAD projects is more in the foreground. "Therefore, sometimes it can only be a matter of a few devices, and at other times we process a large number," he reports.
The acceptance of used IT is increasing
Customers who are interested in reprocessed IT come from a wide variety of areas. Webinstore board member Asemissen has identified a paradigm shift: "While the topic of rebuilt goods received little attention in the past, Second Life IT - driven by the idea of sustainability and the goal of the circular economy - has now developed into a mass topic and an absolute trend." Interest pervades all B2B and B2C customer groups. At GSD, "large numbers" go through the partners mainly in the consumer and SMB market as well as in the education sector, as Ralf Schweitzer reports. "Especially in the current time, both the home office boom and the significantly increased demand in the school segment have further increased acceptance," confirms Michael Bleicher from BB-Net. According to Ingram Director Rositzki, everyone can actually benefit from the second life cycle of good hardware. “The spectrum ranges from companies and organizations to private individuals,” he says. In his experience, cost-conscious companies often fall back on used IT hardware without having to forego performance. When it comes to selling used IT, however, resellers should keep several things in mind: "There are a few important elements to consider when working with reputable refurbishers," says Flex IT Sales Director Kennedy. He sees certifications and documentation as “critical aspects”. The word “Refurbisher” is not protected, notes BB-Net boss Bleicher. “Professional refurbishers put the devices through their paces,” he notes. For him, quality features include participation in the Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher Program and extensive guarantee services. Above all, the retailer should make sure that the quality is right even with reprocessed goods. “A very inexpensive refurbished IT product may generate a higher margin in the short term. However, if the device has been processed inferiorly and is defective after a few weeks or months, the follow-up costs for complaints can clearly outweigh the higher margin on sales, ”warns web store specialist Ase-missen. Komsa sales manager Ebner emphasizes that warranty law also applies to the sale of used products to end consumers. "When selling, you have to clearly state that the products are used," he advises. Thanks to professional reprocessing, used IT has long since emerged from the dirty corner of flea market goods, hopelessly outdated electronic waste or dubious gray market products of dubious origin. Resellers not only have the opportunity to address price-conscious and environmentally conscious customers, but also the opportunity to expand the range of services for the data-compliant return of old devices.