If you’ve spent some time on our site, especially our blog, you know we are fans of asset remarketing. While our primary focus tends to be on IT assets, we support remarketing for laboratory equipment, vehicles, golf cars, restaurant appliances, and much more. This support of remarketing stems from a belief that just because you are done with an item doesn’t mean someone else cannot benefit from it. While we encourage remarketing, it isn’t always the best solution.
Why We Remarket Assets
Think about the many reasons you may decide to get rid of an aging asset. It may have reached the end of its natural life. It may work, but no longer meets the needs of your organization. It may be that new updates have been made available, making your asset obsolete. It is this final point I’d like to focus on in this post. We all know that technology changes faster now than ever before. A cutting edge product today is a clunker tomorrow. If your business requires cutting edge tech to be successful, you may have no other options that to constantly upgrade.
What happens when a new product is released? Everyone rushes to make a purchase. The old equipment is flooded onto the secondary market, many times passing through the operations of a remarketing firm. This is where trouble can begin. If too many “old” products flood the market, re-sellers won’t be able to command a very high price. Depending on the effort that goes in to remarketing an item, it may not even be a good business decision to accept the item. If a remarketing firm does find themselves inundated with unwanted assets that are slow to move, that could spell trouble for your company.
Hidden Remarketing Risks
You couldn’t use an asset so you sent it to a remarketing firm. What does the remarketing firm do if they can’t resell the item? That’s an important question to ask whenever you are sourcing a new remarketing partner.
As the original owner of the asset, your firm may still be subject to liability if a remarketing firm incorrectly disposes of an asset. The cost of environmental non-compliance is huge. Not only can this result in fines, but also damage to your Brand and corporate image. When working with a new remarketing vendor it is critical that you understand their process from asset acquisition through to final disposal.
An irresponsible remarketing firm can cause many problems. Some less than ethical firms will sell computers, hard drives, and other electronics to overseas companies. Once the assets arrive in the new country, they are left to rot in piles that result in toxic chemicals leaking into the environment. I don’t need to mention the horrible working conditions for the people working these tech landfills.
Fortunately, government and environmental agencies are cracking down on this type of behavior. Firms unwilling to abide by the laws are being slapped with hefty fines. Unfortunately, trouble can still find its way back to your company. Let’s say that you engage with a remarketing partner and they sell your assets to another remarketing firm. You get paid and it seems to be a good day. However, you don’t know where those items will eventually end up two or three companies downstream.
How can you reduce the risk of having a nasty letter arrive from an environmental agency? Work with certified remarketing firms.
Look for the Certification
Remarketing firms can obtain two industry leading certifications for responsible and compliant e-waste recycling. These certifications are the e-Stewards and R2/RIOS. Firms that have these certifications agree to adhere to strict requirements that ensure no electronic waste ends up in landfills. It also ensures they comply with state and federal laws.
One major benefit of working with a certified firm is that they are required to audit all of their downstream partners. This ensures that a company two or three times removed is still in compliance with federal regulations. The certified firm must provide documented proof that all materials being processed is done so in compliance with laws and standards. Ensuring that other remarketing firms and recycling companies who partner with your remarketing vendor follow the rules helps to reduce the risk of your company getting in trouble.
The next time you are shopping around for a remarketing vendor, be sure to ask about their e-Stewards and R2/RIOS certifications. If the vendor can produce these certificates, it is much better than taking their word that they will be environmentally responsible.
Asset remarketing is a great thing. However, be sure you are working with reputable vendors and that you are part of an environmentally friendly chain.