The coronavirus has continued to impact telecommunications and technology industries in many ways. Recently, the tech industry has shown a 14 percent decrease in global device shipments. IT spending, purchasing and manufacturing is down, but cloud infrastructure is currently coping with increased traffic. These behaviors have led to a sustainable trend of resourceful IT asset management and reverse logistics.
Some legacy technologies have found use in the circular economy as opposed to making their way to e-waste streams sooner. Reuse of a company-owned asset in a less demanding environment helps enterprises support remote workers and extend the lives of replaced IT devices as a part of a larger IT asset disposition program. These efforts help reduce total cost of ownership, as well as greenhouse gases, contributing to corporate sustainability initiatives.
We expect to feel the impacts of this global pandemic through the end of the year and potentially beyond. As these behaviors continue to evolve, here is an outline of major challenges facing enterprises today as they manage their global IT asset disposition programs.
CHALLENGE: Limited IT budgets
39 percent of surveyed CIOs and IT executives worldwide expect a decline in their IT budget for 2020 because of the coronavirus. Gartner, a leading research firm, revised their predictions for worldwide IT spending in 2020 to be $3.4 trillion instead of $3.9 trillion. As more employees work remote, some budget may go toward accommodating and managing that, which could take away budget and resources from the reverse supply chain.
As an enterprise, reusing or reselling IT equipment can support areas with limited budgets by recovering value on assets typically written down to zero. Limited budgets, from a sustainability perspective, can prevent green procurement if products with lower footprints are perceived to be lower quality or higher cost.
Sims Lifecycle Services (SLS) works closely to determine the right asset recovery strategy that most closely aligns with your business objectives. Learn more about IT asset recovery options offered at SLS.
CHALLENGE: Complications with transboundary compliance
There are separate and evolving laws and regulations that must be managed by companies sending or receiving shipments across borders.
With rapidly changing COVID regulations, closed borders and operational shutdowns, it is best to work with an ITAD vendor who has expertise in global reverse logistics including transboundary movements of material and the Basel Convention, so they can provide you proper guidance.
CHALLENGE: Collection and handling limitations
Since the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, health and safety protocols have forced many changes when it comes to collecting and processing electronics for disposition. ITAD companies have had to move quickly adjusting their workspace internally to accommodate social distancing and enforce risk mitigation efforts. Examples of risks mitigation include additional cleaning and disinfecting of electronic equipment, quarantining items, and internal warehouse and transportation adjustments that reflect local applicable health and safety guidelines regarding the coronavirus.
Dramatic changes to infrastructure and process flows may cause delays and raise concerns for asset tracking and logistics. Make sure you have access to your ITAD vendor’s online portal system for asset tracking of devices to ensure visibility to any adjusted process flows.
Sims Lifecycle Services (SLS) provides easy online access to clients for requesting pickups, tracking equipment and generating inventory reports and certificates of destruction. Read more about The Sims Portal
CHALLENGE: Concerns for data security
The novel coronavirus has shown to live for hours and up to days on surfaces, depending on the material the surface is made from. This has caused some to implement a section of their receiving department for quarantining items for a certain amount of time after they arrive. You may have to weigh out the risk of leaving data vulnerable by letting packages sit for a couple days, particularly if it is in an unsecured area.
As businesses and services start to reopen, on-site data destruction services are a great option for clients to safely destroy data in line with social distancing and sanitation requirements. For those with employees around the world working from home, there are remote data wiping options available as well.
CHALLENGE: On-site audit restrictions
Under normal circumstances, it is recommended to visit a facility in person to audit the ITAD vendor’s process. While this is still ideal, safety precautions in a time like this must be prioritized. Ask your vendor if they have any virtual options to view their process with a representative available to answer questions.
Sims Lifecycle Services (SLS) has options available for virtual tours. Learn more.
These unprecedented times have strained resources, disrupted supply chains and affected every industry in one way or another. There has been a natural gravitation towards resource recovery and frugality, bringing light to waste that can be repurposed. Some will come to realize the more you can reuse something, the more it can be available.
As ITAD companies remain an essential service, the industry is doing what they can to innovate and accommodate clients with minimal disruption in service. It is a challenging time in the world, however it is also a time for the innovators to thrive and create new ways to accomplish these tasks.