New Insights to Mobile Disposition, Maximizing Value and Lowering Risk

The cost savings you captured last year have likely been forgotten due to the budgetary crunch inflicted from COVID-19. It doesn’t help that the additional burden of enabling remote work for hundreds, or thousands, of employees fell on your shoulders. As a service-provider in your industry, let me extend a ‘thank you’ for your resilience and professionalism.

You’re likely being asked to make further improvements the last half of 2020. You need something substantial. You need to make a dent. For those with corporate owned smartphones and tablets, there are opportunities uncovered by peers in other enterprises.

In short, there are three moves you can make today with your mobile device fleet to drive major financial benefit and reduce long term risk. The first eliminates the primary reason for price erosion enabling you to recover 30% more value. The second reduces the primary reason for device fall-out to make sure more units make it to market. And the third addresses the largest liability gap with a simple security requirement to elate your CISO and compliance teams.

Has the Wireless Market Changed?
Organizations deploying Corporate-Owned, Personally- Enabled (COPE) wireless devices are adopting new methods to manage disposition due to three broader market trends. Mobile Unbundling of wireless plans and device procurement has removed dependence on carrier trade-in programs, opening avenues for innovation in the reverse supply chain. Device Standardization, due to security and user preferences, has created a pool of equipment with substantial secondary market value at retirement. And Asset Collaboration, between PC and Mobility asset management functions, has cross-pollinated best practices for equipment retirement.

How is Mobile Device Disposition Improving?
These changes have driven the Data Destruction model to mature. Historically, enterprises had to trust that carrier trade-in programs erased devices without assurance from a contracted agreement. As best practices for IT asset disposition blend with mobile device management, expectations for legally binding contracts and auditable records of disposal will emerge. Not only will this apply pressure to carrier trade-in programs that hesitate to accept such liability, it introduces security criteria which can more readily met by independent vendors to compete.

Additionally, the Value Recovery model is maturing beyond the initial trade-in offer into analysis on what causes price erosion and device fall-out. With the commoditization of pre-owned smartphone sales online, the playing field has leveled to provide competitive trade-in prices. New factors, unique to enterprise disposition programs, have emerged. The deployment of devices to both office and field staff creates a disjointed return process without uniform packaging. Makeshift envelopes and boxes can lead to damage during transit, reducing value by as much as 30%. Additionally, the focus on consumers by carrier trade-in programs leaves them ill prepared to help capture and remove personal security features or deployment credentials, which can forfeit over 50% of units for resale.

What Moves Can I Make?
Translating new value drivers into the disposition process is relatively straight forward. Whether selected in a sole-source negotiation, or through an RFP process, enterprises are now requiring these elements from their disposition partners.
• Boxes designed to protect mobile devices for parcel shipping, in both single unit and bulk shipment sizes.
• The identification and quarantine of units that must undergo removal of a deployment or personal security lock prior to resale.
• Contract language that guarantees the erasure of data at disposition with line item asset reporting.

How Will Metrics Improve?
Measurements that relied solely on potential trade-in price are evolving to include both new value recovery and security criteria. The first metric is Average Sale Price (ASP), which focuses on what the items sold for versus the advertised purchase price that rarely comes to fruition. Measure the average unit price over time to determine if better packaging prevents damage, thereby improving resale values. The second improvement is Yield %. That’s the number of devices sold, divided by the number retired. By leveraging ‘unlocking’ processes, this metric should improve over time and make a big difference on the rebates you receive. Finally, Traceability, which measures the percentage of devices with line item records of data destruction.
The future likely holds more technologies that enable staff to work remotely. Whether they be smartphones, tablets, wearables, or edge computing, these insights are being driven by organizations such as yours seeking to maximize reward and minimize risk from disposition. If you have other ideas, we’d love to hear them.

By Ryan Laber

Ryan Laber is a 20 year veteran of the technology disposition market, including his current role as Vice President of Business Development for Cascade Asset Management and previously with Arrow Electronics and Asset Recovery Corporation.