In the fast-moving world of IT Asset Disposition (ITAD), global demand for high-value electronics fluctuates. Even if you are working with a trusted ITAD provider, it’s a good idea to periodically revisit your ITAD contract. Taking a closer look at both the assets your company holds and how your ITAD provider handles them could reveal room for improvement on both sides. The good news: with the right ITAD provider, a few simple organizational steps can set your company up for maximum value recovery.

Organize your assets upfront

The most crucial step in getting value out of your used IT assets is really simple: keep track of what you’ve got and when you acquired it.

Tracking IT procurement can be as simple as an Excel spreadsheet that notes the equipment name, amount, date of purchase, the date of duration (the estimated lifespan of the product), and the location. Known as a “hardware asset management plan,” this up-front documentation lets you keep tabs on what you have ­— and, more importantly, when to get rid of it.

All of your IT equipment has an expected lifespan, but the more you know about your assets, the more valuable they can be. Just knowing how much you purchased can get you in the ITAD resale game. Separating your assets by category aids resale, with servers, memory and hard drives offering the greatest return. Computing gear and networking gear (routers, switches) also offer good returns. And, again, bundling like with like — to create volume — will offer the greatest returns.

Timing is everything

After tracking your assets, you can move on to strategy. When you acquire new gear ­— or even before procurement — start talking to players in the ITAD marketplace to get ideas about current market value. Some items might be destined for scrap, but other brands will get you a great return — if you are ready to move them in a specific timeframe.

Realistically, newer materials are in higher demand. Resale within 3 years is ideal. Delaying out to 5 years may get you some return, but your assets have likely devalued. Wait 5-10 years, and probably half of your gear will be recycled. But don’t be deterred — the other half will still have some value in the right markets.

So, you could stick with a broad, multi-year ITAD contract. And every quarter, you can send a pallet of assorted IT equipment to your ITAD provider. The provider will probably remarket your items to some extent and, hopefully, responsibly recycle the rest. The result isn’t a bad outcome. But an ITAD partner that aggressively remarkets your IT assets in response to market demands can offer more for both the environment and your bottom line.

The international resale market for used IT gear is starving for technology. Meeting worldwide demands for servers and memory storage, drive processors, and networking gear takes a dynamic partnership between you and your ITAD provider.

What to look for in an ITAD partner

You should look for someone who can provide information on trends in the ITAD market and your specific assets. Obviously this is hugely supported by your organization's tracking the lifespan of the products you acquire. Avoid regular dumps of uncategorized material or getting locked into a 2-3 year consignment agreement and blindly shipping out your used IT assets.

While you may be working with a responsible ITAD provider in a long-term contract, you can do so much more. ITAD providers get 20% off the top of what you make, so most concentrate on moving volume versus sales and marketing.

Do the research; find out what your assets are; create a hardware asset management plan; and work with a trusted point of contact at your ITAD provider. These simple steps can shift your used IT assets from a cost center to a profit center.