COVID-19: How is this Affecting Reverse Logistics?


COVID-19 How is this Affecting Reverse Logistics?


If somebody told me three months ago, the global economy would crash, millions would lose their jobs, and schools would be closed all in response to a global pandemic, just like the rest of us, I would not have believed them. Yet, here we are today.

At the moment in most parts of the globe, if an employee can work remotely, chances are they are doing so. With little to no advance notice for IT departments, this has caused many businesses to scramble in providing the hardware and software support their employees need to manage their workload remotely. As a result, this is causing a large increase in demand for IT and tech equipment.

39 percent of organizations will spend more than previously anticipated on IT and tech equipment.

– Spiceworks

Pressure on global eCommerce sales.

With the significant growth in eCommerce purchases of electronic hardware, there will be an inevitable increase in returned items. The average return rates of online orders are 30 percent, as compared to 8.89 percent in brick-and-mortar stores.  Therefore, reverse logistics companies are preparing for managing the influx of returned or replaced items during this time.

Increased demand on data centers.

More users than ever are online and accessing data. Websites like Facebook, Netflix, and Youtube have seen user activity increase from 15 to almost 30 percent, leaving data centers worried about bandwidth capacity. Netflix has actually reduced the quality of its streaming movies to reduce the load on European networks by around 25 percent. In developing countries specifically, their infrastructure cannot support strong internet speeds as demands increase.

The websites for The New York Times and The Washington Post have both grown traffic more than 50 percent over the last month, according to SimilarWeb.

Twitch, the leading site for streaming gameplay, has had traffic shoot up 20 percent.

According to the TechUK Data Centre Group, the data center industry is anticipating potential supply chain and utility issues. Italy for example, an area with a significant COVID-19 outbreak, is where many UPSs and related components are manufactured. These components would need to be sent to low-risk areas for assembly, and moving items to different areas are showing some instability. This may raise concerns with reverse logistics as well, and in anticipation, these companies should be doing their best to follow CDC guidelines and recommendations for cleaning and disinfecting.

IT asset disposition services are deemed essential.

Support is needed for the telecommunications and data centers' supply chain as more rely on the internet and technology for continuing their business operations. IT asset disposition (ITAD) companies are involved in keeping the reverse logistics supply chain open, and with more purchases of new electronics, the disruption to that supply chain has led to increased demand for secondhand products.

Redeployment services are being utilized more as IT Managers send equipment for resale. Instead of the working equipment being resold to external buyers, they might request to buy back their devices. Redeployment of used assets within your company can decrease the total cost of ownership by extending the overall asset lifecycle. Redeployment programs demonstrate fiscal and environmental responsibility.

Did you know? SLS redeploys equipment within the same company location or can facilitate delivery of equipment to different company locations or to remote employees.

Quarantining items vs. data security

A major concern at the moment is how to manage assets safely in regards to COVID-19. As for now, the virus is believed to live on surfaces for hours to days. If you touch that surface and then your mouth, nose, or eyes, you may risk exposure.

In order to mitigate this risk ITAD company can clean and disinfect assets prior to shipping as recommended by the CDC. Researchers have found the coronavirus can live on cardboard for 24 hours, and up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel. When receiving equipment, disinfecting surfaces, and letting new packages sit for 24 hours could prove effective. You may have to weigh out the risk of leaving data vulnerable by letting packages sit for a couple of days, particularly if it is in an unsecured area.

As far as available services, some on-site options have been halted. When replacing older equipment there are ways to remove data prior to shipping to your ITAD vendor.

First, wipe/erase the data. SLS has remote wiping services that can offer support in performing this professionally. Otherwise, you can search online for other options however do your research and make sure you are choosing a verified and reputable service.

We are all in this together and working through new ways to manage these essential services. SLS, among many others, is working hard to fulfill the needs of our clients in alignment with CDC recommendations. If you have any questions please contact us today and we would be happy to work through a solution with you.


Author: SRS Media