Here’s how an airline used asset recovery to bring about a major ROI:
SHI helped our customer get the most value from their aging devices.

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How do we get the best value reselling our old devices?

This was the question an airline posed as it prepared to replace more than 10,000 older Apple iPads during a refresh of each pilot’s device.

The airline knew that reselling the older models could help it pay down the cost of new devices, but the company’s most recent foray into the recycle market left much to be desired.

Last time around, the promised rates shifted. The devices’ condition was often rated worse than the initial estimate, with no explanation of the criteria. Shipping and handling was a hassle. Worst of all, the airline had no idea what kind of progress it was making in delivering the old iPads to the recycler.

There had to be a better way. Luckily, it found one.

Needs that had to be met

The airline was clear about its requirements prior to the start of this project. It needed a strong financial evaluation of the soon-to-be-retired iPad Air 2, guaranteed pricing, and shipping options that would protect each device and make packing easy for the employees.

Seeking out a partner that could fulfill these needs, the airline conducted a comprehensive industry evaluation and selected SHI’s asset recovery program.  SHI worked with Mobile reCell, a premier mobility buyback company, to ensure the buyback process was fair, efficient, and offered the airline complete visibility into the process. Mobile reCell’s strong knowledge of the iPad secondary market, its many logistic solutions, and customizable web portal would go a longer way toward finding solutions to any pressing concerns the airline had.

Guaranteed pricing and a fleshed out grading system for all devices

The airline was concerned that the device payout would be less than expected. It had happened before.

But the airline’s iPads had to be in top condition by law. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires electronic flight bags to be in working order or planes cannot take off. If a device is broken or malfunctioning, it’s quickly replaced with a new one.

Despite this being the case, in previous refresh cycles, vendors would quote lower grades for each device than had been promised without offering any sort of explanation or evidence. As a result, the airline would receive less compensation for its older devices. On top of that, vendors also only offered guaranteed pricing for 30 days, a standard timeline but one that could be extended in this particular case because the devices were kept in such pristine condition.

Recognizing that the iPads were going to be in solid condition, as required by the law, and that Apple products hold their value longer, SHI and Mobile reCell took a more reasonable approach. They offered locked-in prices for a longer-than-usual time period and guaranteed grades of A, B, C and D pricing based on detailed grading criteria, which was determined and analyzed by Mobile reCell (pictures were required for all C or D grade devices). Even better, unlike in previous dealings, the airline received full payment even if it failed to provide power adaptors for each device.

Custom containers, coordinated shipment efforts, and detailed process flow

Previous vendors required the airline to use its own shipping materials to mail back older devices. As you can imagine, locating original device packing proved to be a time-consuming and labor-intensive endeavor. And if the airline couldn’t find all of the original packaging materials, the chances of products getting damaged during the return process grew.

SHI made packaging and shipping the older devices easy for the airline. It created custom foam-slotted containers, which included 10 iPad slots per container, and along with Mobile reCell, coordinated all outbound shipments of these custom boxes to each airline hub. This included already-filled-out shipping labels that made mailing the devices back to Mobile reCell easy and pain-free.

Past vendors did not provide the airline with a detailed process flow. That wasn’t the case here. SHI provided the following: receipt reconciliation, MDM/DEP/iCloud check and removal, asset tag removal, data destruction, audit reporting (including IMEI, serial number, cosmetic grade, and other notes), and pictures of C and D grade units.

24/7 real-time reporting

The airline wanted a 24/7 accessible web-based portal to track the iPads and see the progress of the returned devices. Previous vendors did not offer this tool. SHI and Mobile reCell, on the other hand, delivered.

Together, they created a value recovery portal that was customized to support the airline’s “hub-based” needs. In the portal, the airline could view the project status per hub. This included the percentage of project completion, the number of older iPads expected to be shipped from each hub, the number of iPads that had already been shipped, the number of iPads that had been received from each hub, and the cosmetic breakdown of each device.

The portal featured a tracking solution to provide the airline with the status of each shipment. This solution included a map view, a status update per FedEx hub, and the name of signee at the Mobile reCell processing facility.

The portal also included the audit reports, cosmetic pictures, and a certificate of data destruction for each serial number that was recorded, as well as an automated report set up to provide weekly progress updates.

Don’t overlook the value of the resell market

At the end of a refresh cycle, companies sometimes only think about getting the best price for their new devices. Selling back older equipment tends to be an afterthought. And even if it isn’t, sometimes asset recovery can be an opaque process where organizations don’t know why devices received certain grades, not to mention a hassle as they try to find original packaging and missing chargers.

As long as you’re working with a reliable partner on a buyback deal, one that can handle the logistics of the return and customize a solution to fit your specific needs, the benefits are hard to ignore.

Each time you upgrade your equipment, you need to be asking what you should do with the items you’re replacing. It’s really that simple.

If you’re looking to resell your older equipment on the buyback market, contact your SHI account executive.

Nick Sevilis contributed to this post.