Case Study: How Two School Districts Turned Retired IT Assets into Revenue with CDR Global
Technology, in the form of laptops, tablets and other peripheral devices, is a major component of school classrooms in the 21st century. Teaching tools and personal devices that use the Internet to enhance learning bring added value to students’ learning experiences in school districts of varying sizes across the United States.
iPads®. Chromebooks™. Laptop computers. Monitors. Projectors. School districts are investing millions of dollars to equip modern classrooms and offices, using grant programs and district funds to purchase devices that can serve the needs of students from kindergarten through high school, as well as teachers and administrators.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, as schools were forced to fully embrace remote learning, technology became a critical issue with school districts working to ensure that homebound students had the devices and internet connectivity necessary for learning in a new environment.
But these are not one-time purchases, as each of these devices has a distinct lifespan due to operating system upgrades and normal wear and tear. When devices become outdated or obsolete, school districts are faced with a myriad of problems, including:
- Replacing obsolete devices with new ones, and the associated costs of that replacement;
- Disposing of obsolete devices in a cost-effective manner and generating revenue from that disposal; and
- Safeguarding data residing on obsolete devices and ensuring that no data, personal and otherwise, falls into the wrong hands.
Two Large School Districts Struggled With Asset Management
For one school district in the western United States, the sheer size of the district was a significant obstacle for asset management and disposal of outdated technology. The district serves 68,000 students with 7,900 staff members across 71 schools and 14 administrative buildings spread across 850 square miles.
Until four years ago, this district was faced with asset management headaches with old devices being stored in closets at schools across the district. Out of a total of 59,000 different devices, the district planned to replace several thousand each year, with priority given to the oldest devices. A nine-person IT department was responsible for disposition of all of the devices in the district.
“At the time, we were actually paying to have things hauled away,” said the district’s IT director. “We had several organizations that charged us a nominal fee to dismantle the computers and destroy the hard drives.”
A large school district on the East Coast faced a similar dilemma. With more than 200 schools, the IT department’s end of year inventory process was extremely labor-intensive and time-consuming. For many years, the simplest solution was to pay a company to dispose of old devices.
“We did not have a universal process for equipment removal,” said this district’s IT director. “There were companies that did remove equipment, but the equipment had to be sent to the warehouse, no residual value was offered to the school district, and, in some cases, the equipment was completely shredded for materials. There were times when old technology piled up in closets or was inappropriately discarded by schools.”
CDR Global Provides Solutions
Four years ago, the western school district began working with CDR Global, a national IT asset disposition and reuse and recovery company with expertise in securely destroying data while refurbishing assets for resale.
CDR Global not only recommended a simplified collection and cataloging system for the district’s devices, but also the company paid the district to haul away and dispose of the obsolete tech. A process that had always cost the district suddenly generated new revenue that could be used to purchase new equipment.
“Our most recent success was to facilitate the recycling of 6,800 obsolete iPads® where we orchestrated the entire removal process with CDR Global,” the district IT director said.
CDR Global came up with a barcode system to label each device to correspond with a unique purchase order. This enabled each school within the district to see money coming back into their site-based budgets.
The bar codes were affixed to the outside of shipping containers on 23 pallets in the district’s central warehouse. CDR Global provided all the boxes and shipping containers and picked them up – at no extra cost to the district.
“Centralizing our operations maximized our return by nearly 30%,” the IT director said.
On the East Coast, the district found a new asset management partner in CDR Global.
“CDR provided us with the opportunity to upgrade our devices by offering the best prices for the old devices that includes laptops, desktops, printers, copy machines, servers and smart boards,” said this district’s IT director. “With these funds we were able to upgrade our network infrastructure and increase network bandwidth and purchase new devices.”
CDR Global made it easy for both districts to track and verify the disposition of their old devices.
The school in the west uses federal Title I funds for technology purchases; as such, they are required to destroy old devices. The school in the east requires an audit trail to verify final disposition of old devices. CDR Global made it possible for each district to verify online that their old tech had been disposed of properly.
“We received detailed reports on all devices, which included their serial numbers,” the western district IT director said. “They would go through and identify any devices that were still managed by either our MDM or Apple School Manager and help us to release them.”
The story was similar for the eastern district.
“CDR Global has a well-defined process to track and provide a status for every piece of equipment they collect,” the district IT director said. “When we were asked for more details from our internal audit department, CDR Global did not hesitate to modify their process to include the details requested by the auditors. This helped us dramatically, to the point that the district renewed CDR Global’s contract for five more years.”
Data security during the disposition process was a paramount concern for the eastern district.
“Data security is always on the mind of the school district. Keeping information about our students, parents and employees confidential and protected is a top priority,” the district IT director said. “With the partnership with CDR Global, we have peace of mind that all equipment is erased, and paperwork is shared with the school district verifying that it was completed.”
“CDR Global Made It Easy”
Both districts found that CDR Global was very responsive to their needs, and very easy to work with from beginning to end.
When the eastern district put out a Request for Proposals (RFP), CDR Global responded clearly and transparently.
“CDR presented a clear response to the RFP stating in detail how they intended to offer the prices on devices depending on the condition of the devices,” the district IT director said. “It was very clear and transparent on the strategy they wanted to follow. Their response presented the district with a clear picture of what CDR Global had to offer and how they planned to work closely with our staff.”
Over time, CDR Global developed a partnership with the western district, and that familiarity led to new ideas and collaboration. For the western district IT director, assistance is only a phone call away.
“Much of these strategies for recycling, shipping and logistics were generated by phone calls between me and Dalton Brown of CDR Global,” the district IT director said. The relationship continues to pay dividends. In the western district, their most recent iPad® retirement was particularly fruitful.
“Our quote on these iPads® began with a 23% higher yield than the other quote we received from an Apple-centric reseller,” the district IT director said. “In the end, we saved even more by being allowed to centrally collect and organize our shipment from a single warehouse.
“Thanks to CDR Global.”
The eastern district echoes the praise for CDR Global as a partner.
“The results were outstanding from working with the CDR Global team,” the district IT director said. “We were able to modernize and expand the data center and purchase new cooling devices for the data center and new servers. We improved network capacity and bandwidth and purchased more student devices to increase our one-to-one student devices ratio.
“It was the reason the board of education extended the current CDR Global contract for five more years. We hope to utilize their services in the future for licensing and buying new and refurbished computer devices.”
The CDR Global Process
CDR Global maintains high standards, and holds numerous certifications, including an R2 certificate. The R2 standard covers all aspects of used, obsolete IT asset disposition management, including health, safety and security. CDR Global strictly follows all R2 standards for e-waste disposal and practices, including data destruction, record keeping, transport, asset security, remarketing and reuse, financial responsibility and downstream auditing.
Adherence to those standards enables CDR Global to protect its clients from unintended consequences in the disposition of assets and environmental liability, while providing data security and brand and logo protection on recycled devices.
For more information on CDR Global’s many certifications, visit https://cdrglobal.com/sustainability.
Erasure of data can be done either on-site or in CDR Global’s secure facility. Data erasure ensures that all data on drives and devices is not recoverable. CDR Global creates audit reports composed of each drive’s serial number, make, model and capacity. When CDR Global technicians are unable to completely wipe the drives, those drives are removed and physically shredded.
Clients of CDR Global have access to a client portal which enables them to schedule pick up of equipment and track the disposition of that equipment throughout the recycling and/or destruction process.
CDR Global also offers on-site auditing solutions for devices that are currently in service, helping to make the recycling process easier when the time comes.
As previously mentioned, CDR Global will provide packing materials and transportation for obsolete devices at no out-of-pocket cost to the district. The company also provides experienced technicians to facilitate this process.
Take The First Step – See What CDR Global Can Do For You
Whatever the size of your school district, CDR Global can be the asset management partner that fits your specific situation and needs. CDR Global representatives are ready to discuss your needs with no obligation. Visit education.cdrglobal.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 405-749-7989 or 888-200-4731 to take the first step.
About CDR Global
CDR Global is a national IT asset disposition and reuse and recovery company, with expertise in securely destroying data while refurbishing assets for resale. Based in Oklahoma City, CDR Global works with businesses and schools to provide a broad range of asset management and disposition solutions.