Mobile devices have evolved from novelties to necessities in only a few years, and in doing that they have permanently altered the enterprise and personal technology landscapes—initiating a trend that has driven down the sales and use of personal computers.
Based on the most recent predictions from International Data Corp., it’s clear that mobile devices will continue to erode PC sales and use. The technology research firm expects the sales of smart mobile devices — smartphones, tablets, and e-readers — to reach $431 billion in 2013, a 20 percent increase. By 2015, IDC predicts there will be more U.S. consumers accessing the Internet through mobile devices than through PCs.
This technology shift has also spurred changes in corporate asset management practices and recently prompted Sims Recycling Solutions to invest in the resources necessary to help its customers successfully manage the unique challenges associated with mobile devices. Although Sims has always collected mobile devices for end-of-life recycling, the company recently expanded its asset management services to include refurbishing and remarketing them by hiring additional technicians and quality assurance inspectors dedicated to grading, testing, and repairing mobile devices at its West Chicago, Ill., location.
“Increases in global shipments of smartphones this year have shown that for the first time, smartphones will dominate the market over conventional cellphones,” said Gilliam Els, mobile device manager, Sims Recycling Solutions, U.S. “We are always monitoring trends in the market and it was a natural shift for Sims to expand our service offerings to include the secure and environmentally responsible repair and resale of mobile devices, to accommodate the needs of our customers.”
While this service will be offered nationwide, all refurbishing and remarketing will be coordinated from the company’s West Chicago facility. Technicians will erase data and make repairs, including fixing or replacing glass screens and reapplying oil-resistant coatings to touch screens.
In addition to cosmetic repairs, technicians will test for and resolve hardware and software problems. Sims will also offer optional kitting services to equip refurbished mobile devices with original packaging and accessories. Devices that can’t be repaired will be dismantled, and the reusable components recovered and all remaining materials recycled.
Earlier this year Sims signed an agreement with CheckMEND, the world’s largest source of information about used electronics with access to over 150 billion records from more than 30,000 agencies.
“One in every three robberies nationwide involves a stolen cellphone,” said Els. “Incidents of smartphone theft are only increasing, which is why Sims has partnered with CheckMEND to allow us access to the best background reporting service available so we can avoid being a motive for theft and instead offer the most secure option for disposal and/or repair and resale.”
Sims has integrated the CheckMEND application into its inventory management system so it automatically checks devices when they arrive at a Sims facility. By using a device’s unique identifier, technicians can determine whether a device has ever been reported as lost or stolen, is a possible counterfeit, has been subject to any insurance or warranty claims, or is being blocked by a wireless network. Items with negative report results will be flagged and dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
“By using our established infrastructure, software systems, technical expertise, and strategic partnerships, our customers can be confident that the same secure, certified, and environmentally sound procedures we use to process all other electronics will be used to refurbish, remarket, and recycle their mobile devices,” said Steve Skurnac, president of Sims Recycling Solutions.