These days, you should expect a lot more from your ITAD partner than a check-the-box strategy. Here’s what to look for.  

Repeated mishaps, lack of flexibility, disappointing returns. If your current ITAD partner is turning in a lackluster performance, it’s time to look elsewhere for a better fit. Whether you are decommissioning a data center, undertaking a refresh cycle, or disposing of excess manufacturing components, you will benefit from a partnership centered around your needs, not the other way around.  

But navigating the increasingly crowded business of IT asset disposition requires a keen eye for certain details. Not all ITAD companies are created equal, nor do they all specialize in the same market segments. As E-Scrap News notes, a number of hopefuls have also entered the competition without proven asset management protocols in place, underscoring the need for due diligence.  

These days, you should expect a lot more from your ITAD partner than a check-the-box strategy. ITAD leaders have moved well beyond just collecting materials for commodity value, at the same time as enterprises have come to understand the value of the materials they generate and the critical significance of proper handling.  

To find the best match, here are a few key features that ensure your partner meets – or, preferably, exceeds – your expectations for environmental compliance, value recovery, data security, brand protection, and ease of doing business.  

Look for customized solutions 

To borrow another point from E-Scrap News, ITAD is about partnering and problem solving. A partnership is hardly complete if the service remains the same regardless of your needs. It pays to ask about the process that drives each plan.  

Let’s say you have multiple sites that require unique tracking of items, purchase orders, and return merchandise authorizations (RMAs). The job is too complex for an out-of-the-box solution. A customized strategic plan may include a custom website pickup link with the information that needs to be collected and reported at the end of the month. An adept ITAD partner takes the logistics piece out of your hands and turns what could be a big headache (trucking, let’s say) into a seamless experience.   

To get the most out of your plan, check whether each step will be optimized and verified by respective experts in compliance, sustainability, logistics, and ITAD. Once master services agreements (MSA), standard operating procedures (SOPs), work orders, and legal requirements have been finalized in collaboration with your team, your ITAD partner should execute in accordance with the agreement.  From the initial design of your disposition strategy to execution, your goals and priorities should govern the process. 

Seek out certified expertise 

Certifications have emerged as a foundational feature of ITAD. Even as the definition of ITAD has expanded to mean different things to different stakeholders, the crucial importance of working with a certified partner cannot be overstated. As the regulatory environment becomes more complex, certified ITAD services provide a systematic approach to managing the disposition of retired or outdated IT assets. Certifications not only bring real ROI; the requirements also make for a more efficient operation that you reap the benefits of.  

The key certifications to look for include: 

NIST SP 800-88: The NIST guidelines are published by the U.S. National Institute for Standards and Technology and include rigorous and comprehensive instructions on best practices for data sanitation.  

R2: R2 is the recycling standard administered by Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI) Certified electronics recyclers have demonstrated they continually meet specific high environmental standards and safely manage used electronics. Once certified, the recyclers undergo regular third-party audits to ensure continued adherence.  

Understand the meaning of going beyond the certifications 

As essential as it is to cross certifications off your checklist, they are only a starting place. Maximizing returns on retired assets, and running a secure and compliant remarketing process are other areas that can set an ITAD vendor apart from the competition. Depending on what goals your organization is trying to achieve by partnering with an ITAD expert, questions can hone in on process, depth of knowledge, and accountability: 

  • How well versed is the company in corporate risk management initiatives? 
  • Does the vendor adhere to a zero-landfill policy and how is it achieved? 
  • How do past and current clients rate their experience with projects similar to yours? 
  • What does its chain of custody look like? 
  • Does the expertise of team members extend to regulations beyond those of the United States? 
  • How is success measured? 

Guaranteed satisfaction? 

Promises are easier made than kept. That’s why you should inquire what would happen if you discover errors were made along the way or if your project did not receive the attention that you had agreed upon. Does your prospective ITAD company offer any service guarantees? The answer will give you a good idea if you would be working with a partner who values customer relationships.  

Do you have questions about ITAD in general or do you have a specific project that needs attention? We can help you determine whether we are that match you’re looking for. 

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