Five Reasons Why Great ITAD is Like a Great Restaurant

By Thomas Petrozzo

From the outside looking in, most diners seem interchangeable. The provide affordable food, they often sport the same neon-clad decor and they will all have the same Certificate of Health and Safety framed behind the cash register. When you sit down, you’ll be handed laminated menus that will offer the same dishes as the diner the next town over. Of course though, not all diners will provide comparable service. Many merely skirt by using antiquated techniques and equipment or outdated recipes without regard to the best practices and ideas of the diner industry. So many food establishments that function this way get by just fine- but they could be doing better for their customers and there are ways to ascertain which diners are actually better. The same could be said about the ITAD industry. The vast majority of ITAD Vendors look similar at first glance and will have their certifications readily available, similar costs for services and revenue share rates all in line with industry standards, but that does not guarantee a truly amazing service with a net recovery guarantee.

In terms of food service, what attributes create an amazing service at an outstanding value for you? Why is your favorite restaurant so great in your eyes? Everybody has their preferences but there will undoubtedly be common themes throughout the answers for the aforementioned question; qualities like an amazing product, consistency, flexibility and being of good value. The best ITAD shares similar qualities and it can be helpful to consider this comparison when evaluating an ITAD vendor. There are proactive strategies to do this investigative work that should certainly go much further than food analogies. For instance, just as you can visually inspect the quality of the product at a restaurant, you can visually inspect the dock of your ITAD vendor to ensure assets are being sold at the highest recoveries. How exactly can you do that? Check to see if they are fully refurbished, cleaned, in like new condition with legal operating systems, individually packed and ready for the next user, to ensure highest value recovery. With that in mind, keep the similarities below and subsequent tips in mind to ensure you aren’t settling for a middle of the road ITAD Vendor.

Similarity 1: They Insist on Best Practices, Professionalism and Regular Checks

When inspecting your ITAD vendor, think about how you judge a restaurant- even in the most basic ways. At a restaurant, a spotless floor doesn’t guarantee a good meal; but a noticeably filthy one could mean understaffing, poor management or a lack of attention to detail. An internal review of that restaurant’s procedures would help such a mess fix those problems. Similarly, every ITAD vendor should have a series of audits performed to ensure all legal and industry compliances. (Standards include NIST/DOD Data Destruction, ISO, R2 and e-Seward) When you are in the market for a vendor, do not hesitate to ask for physical proof of these certifications: it’s up to them to have this evidence available. If the vendor is unable to produce proof, this could point to serious systemic disorganization. Also, physically inspect the dock- how are the assets packed for shipment? Are they packed in bulk without individual packaging; meaning they are being resold wholesale, robbing you of the value that could be recovered? Remember, your vendor should be reselling at least 90% of your product as intended use (as a PC, Tablet, or Phone). Don’t let them tell you that parts get more than the whole, that is simply not true when selling direct to the next user. Also, remember that they should be able to sell 70% of your 4 to 6 year old PCs, Tablets, and Phones directly to the next user! These sorts of observations should be major factors in your judgment of a vendor- just as your observations about the odor or cleanliness of a restaurant are worth noting.

Similarity 2: They are Both Focused on Value

The best restaurant doesn’t have to be the most expensive one either. What matters in terms of price is the ingredients. Are they fresh and of high quality? If so, you know you’re getting the right bang for your buck. We all could theoretically eat from the local burger joint every meal of every day- but would that be the best choice in terms of value? Sure, it’d be inexpensive, but there are other factors at play that affect value. Too much of an inexpensive ingredient or whole meal, even if fresh and high quality, could hurt your heart and your waistline.

On the other end, we all have our guilty splurges, like a Filet Mignon or Lobster Tail. Meals that inspire an unavoidable desire to satiate the voice inside your head saying that you need this. The sort of dinner that most of us can’t afford every night. The best ITAD vendor are a happy medium to these extremes, more like that homegrown diner down the road whose owner knows you by name and your order by heart. They both provide a satisfying, attractive and consistent service that is focused on value with the highest quality ingredients.

Great ITAD vendors understand how to assemble, refurbish and sell the most attractive products direct to consumers – just like a good dry-aged steak! In fact, great ITAD companies won’t break the bank because an excellent vendor knows how to recover the value on your assets. By selling directly to consumers instead of wholesale, purposefully strategizing refurbishment or owning beneficial titles like Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher.

It’s imperative to check to make sure your ITAD vendor serialized asset and asset category as well. Then check, does your ITAD vendor share with you their diverse and reliable sales channels to ensure the optimal ROI? Or do they leave you guessing? Far too many assets get recycled when they still have value. Far too many companies do not compare the net recovery amongst ITAD vendors, opting to only compare the cost of services and their share of the profits.

Similarity 3: They are Both Flexible to the Needs of the Customer

Let’s say you love Pasta Carbonara. Almost as much as you love buttery, warm, crunchy garlic bread. So when you visit an Italian Trattoria, you expect a creamy, delicate Carbonara to be served- with the garlic bread on the side, of course, just as you like it. Picture arriving to a new ristorante only to find that they don’t serve garlic bread and the closest that you will get to Carbonara is Fettucine Alfredo. They even refuse to whip it up for you- now, suddenly your opinion of this restaurant falls precipitously because the eatery failed to be flexible to your needs.

The best restaurants will be able to practice such flexibility- just as a top of the line ITAD vendor will also have the capabilities to work with you to fulfill your specific needs. It’s easy for a company to say that they are willing to do what you want. The problems arise when measuring how capable they are meeting your needs. If your IT department has industry specialized equipment or any specific needs, you have to know who can handle the equipment correctly in terms of data destruction, shipping needs and environmental regulations.

Similarity 4: They Establish and Record Appropriate Chain of Custody

You decide to get up and leave that last Italian restaurant because of their lack of Carbonara, opting for another unfamiliar Ristorante five minutes away. Great news! Your gamble seemingly paid off, Penne Carbonara is front and center on this online menu! Before settling on this second spot, you check out some quick reviews only to find a troubling sentence from a former employee, “….Food is all frozen, not fresh. Most is shipped in from a central distributor….” If the sauce was assembled and frozen at some distant location before being trucked across the country to be microwaved and served, you probably won’t be thrilled to eat it. Besides the fact that a fresh sauce would certainly be tastier, can you really hold the assemblers accountable when you don’t really know who handled it? It’s fair to be apprehensive in this situation, just as it would be fair to be worried if you learned that your ITAD vendor doesn’t establish a transparent chain of custody. Many chefs and servers could touch your food, while many technicians, packers and receivers will touch your assets. The best vendors have accountability ingrained into the systems to allow the client to track their assets. The best ITAD vendors will create a modern Client Portal allowing you to track all assets, schedule pickups and access reports at any time. Furthermore, just as you’d expect your waiter to accurately answer you if asked where the fresh catch of the night came from, your ITAD vendor should transparently report where each of your assets have been shipped.

Similarity 5: They Are Both Constantly Evolving 

Although you may not notice, great restaurants are constantly getting better. They are tweaking recipes, changing menu designs, experimenting with new dishes, reducing inefficiency, etc. The menus of the highest rated Michelin Star restaurants are constantly changing- even from day to day. A commitment to growth is critical and if you are thinking that your favorite lunch spot has never really changed- consider the growth necessary to achieve its current state, especially behind the scenes. Not many ITAD firms share this commitment to development, but the best ones do. Trailblazers exist in ITAD and partnering with one can be a tremendous opportunity. Those vendors will insist on exciting strategies to recover the value on assets by selling directly to consumers while also looking forward with Client Portal capabilities, asset tracking and strategic reselling methods. They could also be looking internally to increase productivity by embarking on a Lean journey that is focused on eliminating inefficient practices. Make sure to ask potential vendors how they are improving.

Of course, your proper vetting process will take time but not doing so is too risky. Admittedly, there are some major difference between vetting a restaurant and vetting your ITAD vendor. The consequences of failing to properly judge an ITAD firm can result in failure to comply with legal regulations, a costly data breach and the loss of an opportunity to recover value on your retired assets. Above all else, it is imperative to remember that not all ITAD vendors are created equally – so choosing the right one can make or break your disposition process.

About the Author

Thomas Petrozzo is the Client Services Project Coordinator at PlanITROI