'Refurbished' is the new buzzword in an age of dwindling budgets


The UK reseller market for refurbished and used computer systems is abundant, with demand for refurbished hardware high from organisations, both large and small, across a range of sectors such as healthcare, education and finance.

The popularity of refurbished computer systems has soared in recent years mainly because of a desire for affordable computers and associated paraphernalia, as budgets have become increasingly squeezed, especially Information and Communications Technology (ICT) funds.

IT managers, Head of Technology staff, and those responsible for IT procurement are stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to trying to ensure they consistently provide the highest quality and most secure technology resources, while remaining cost-effective and sticking to budgets.

Add to this, a focus on being as environmentally friendly as possible, with businesses wanting to improve their green credentials given that people are now choosing ethical and responsible values when opting for a service or product, investment in refurbished computer systems has become highly attractive to many organisations, whatever their size or type.

Not only do they look and perform just as well as if bought direct from a vendor, they're more eco-friendly than brand new equipment. Choosing refurbished IT is a great form of recycling and reduces business waste.

Indeed, there's a big initiative behind reducing e-waste and the advantage with choosing to invest in refurbished systems means that when your computers or laptops need to be replaced, perhaps in a couple of years, it can also be refurbished or recycled for parts and the positive cycle continues.

Better value; less waste

We work with a range of sectors, supplying a pipeline of affordable, refurbished computer systems that meet the specific and evolving needs of each business or organisation.

For example, we have long-term partnerships with many schools and colleges across the UK, where we've worked closely with the ICT department and procurement manager to provide the school or college with the systems they need in terms of speed, quality and security, that doesn't break the bank, or importantly, their budgets.

Refurbished computer systems are a great choice for schools, who are working to extremely tight budgets while trying to provide first-rate technology to enable young people to reach their academic potential.

We also have an asset management service where organisations can hand over redundant IT equipment and get money back in return. The equipment, once thoroughly checked and tested, creates cash back that can be used to invest in community initiatives or nominated charities.

In one recent asset management project, of the 127 machines received, ranging from Dell laptops to Apple Mac Pro systems, the team were able to carry out a data destruction process, successfully wiping and recycling 118, and destroying and recycling the remaining machines that failed the process. By managing to derive some value out of the old kit, the business we worked with received £5,000 in cash that they were able to directly donate to their nominated charity.

Dispelling the myths

The main challenge for the refurbished channel market is awareness about refurbished computer systems and laptops, and the role they play in helping thousands of organisations meet their technology needs, without compromising on quality, design and security, at a much lower cost than if bought brand new and direct from the big-name vendors such as Apple, Dell and HP.

There are so many myths around refurbished computers, and often this misconception that they're not as good, or don't carry the same spec or security as the ones bought directly from the vendor, but this isn't the case. As an authorised reseller, all of our machines come with a year-long warranty, and post-purchase customer service, just like you'd get if you buy brand new.

Buying from a recognised supplier will provide reassurance in choosing refurbished equipment and also peace of mind in case something does go wrong, or you need further help or assistance. Critically, your IT partner should be able to advise on how to keep costs down and suggest appropriate improvements to aide efficiency so that hardware is continually improved and updated.

With refurbished computer systems, you really can get exactly the same design, spec and service as you would if you bought brand new, but without the hefty invoice, providing the perfect investment for organisations and businesses UK wide.

Bill Champness is managing director at Hardware Associates