Covid-19 pandemic has changed mindsets towards Circular IT
CEO of specialist refurbishing distributor Flex IT, says lockdown measures have woken many firms up to the value of repurposed hardware as demand soars across Europe
Many weeks of non-production in China due to strict Coronavirus lockdown measures, has caused a surge in companies across Europe demanding refurbished hardware to ensure their teams can continue working from home.
Circular and eco-sustainable hardware distributor Flex IT, has experienced significantly increased demand for its products over the past eight weeks, as the supply of new products cannot keep up with demand.
The firm, headquartered in the Netherlands, but which has offices in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Poland, Finland, Sweden, Bulgaria and the UK, works closely with vendors such as HP, Dell, Apple and Lenovo to buy excess stock and refurbish slightly older laptops, servers and mobile devices to the highest possible standard.
“Everybody is suddenly realising that the quality and function of a product is more important than being the latest, shiniest version. A laptop might be five years old, but you can still use it to do whatever you need to do. Demand has accelerated like crazy over the last eight weeks as firms recognise the quality of products available in the circular market,” he explained.
“Large resellers across our key geographies are now coming to us, rather than us going to them, asking if we can supply 1,000 laptops here, or 1,000 there, because vendors were at the point of zero production in China and many companies had employees that worked off desktops in the office and no way of working remotely,” Timmermans added.
He explained that Flex IT’s strategy means it is not overproducing products or using valuable resources, instead it is doing its bit for the planet, while focusing on quality. Products come with a warranty which can range from one year to up to three years for the Approved Selection Line. Products are awarded different classifications to make it easier for the partners to make a product selection. These classifications range from ‘minus 10’ and ‘minus 1’ generations, the latter being just one iteration below the most recent models launched to market and the minus 10 being older models..
The firm prides itself on being a ‘reseller first’ company, meaning it will not engage with end users, but will instead refer them to a reseller partner.
“We are very loyal to our resellers,” said Timmermans. “We don’t work with end user businesses – we will always refer them to one of our partners.”
Flex IT is keen to hear from resellers that are interested in joining its specialist Circular Partner Programme, which is divided into three levels – Bronze, Silver and Gold (which is by invitation only).
“But resellers must want to invest in the circular programme,” said Timmermans. “It is a new concept for many, so they will need to train their sales people and convince their vendor partners that it is not a trap and it will not eat into sales of new products, but instead will work alongside the traditional sales model. There seems to be an upswing in new sales from our partners as soon as they introduce the circular product line. This is because our partners are able to offer solutions on every price level without neglecting the quality.”
The Marketing Communications Company