Preparing to Change ITAD Vendors

preparing to switch ITAD vendors

We always hope relationships will last forever in business, but that is not always the case.

Anyone involved with IT asset disposition (ITAD) knows how once-trusted vendors can become unresponsive, get acquired, get into trouble, or simply go out-of-business.

Or maybe they decide for one reason or another they can no longer work with you. Yes, it does go both ways.

The reality is that you need to be prepared at any time to switch ITAD vendors. Even if you are not forced to switch, there comes a time when change might be necessary.

Are you afraid of firing your ITAD vendor despite neglect or even incompetence? Don’t let fear guide your decisions. You may be suffering from vendor Stockholm Syndrome. Lee Pearson described it best in his 2008 article that appeared in CIO…

“So, you signed this great vendor: eager to please, experienced in all the right areas, and sporting a great client list. Things were going well for the first few quarters, but lately, your projects seem to be taking a backseat to the vendor’s other affairs. The people you started working with have been put on other accounts or left. You’ve caught yourself making excuses for your vendor’s lack of productivity and feel grateful when they manage to perform basic services. It’s time to admit you have a problem and recognize you are in a hostage situation.”

Let’s cut to the chase.

What is the easiest way to prepare to change ITAD vendors? How do you protect yourself from the hidden costs?

The costs of switching ITAD vendors can seem agonizing – the cost of training, lost productivity, and custom integrations. Then, of course, everything that arises as the change is happening that you forgot to weigh in on.

Switching means revising training manuals, re-training supervisors, and having them educate workers. Of course, it can take time for employees to get accustomed to the new system.

Most vendors know about these costs. They realize that it becomes difficult for a client to switch once a business implements its process and becomes accustomed to its systems. Switching costs permit vendors to provide poor service, raise prices, and neglect requests.

What’s the answer then?

The easiest way to avoid the cost of switching vendors is to develop a vendor-agnostic approach instead of relying on a proprietary process in the first place. Developing a vendor-agnostic approach will save you time, better ensure compliance, and future-proof your ITAD program.

Remember, your process should not change when you switch vendors, decide to work with multiple vendors, or when key employees quit, for that matter. The bus gets to keep driving even when people get on and off of it.

Even if you do not have immediate plans to switch vendors or decide to work with multiple vendors, preparing for the scenario will empower your ITAM program.

Preparing to change ITAD vendors involves a few steps…

1) Design a consistent management approach that applies to every project, regardless of location, quantity, or type of electronic equipment.

2) Clearly define roles and responsibilities in process documents.

3) Leverage vendor-agnostic software to help manage your process and produce powerful reports. Stop using spreadsheets. Let cloud-based software automate inventory reconciliation, instantly verify asset custody, and create audit-ready reports.

4) Utilize disposal tags on every project to deter employee theft and hold ITAD vendors accountable with an unbroken chain-of-custody.

Preparing to change ITAD vendors will pay dividends for your ITAM program. It will help identify gaps in current procedures and gain buy-in from senior management.

Whether you make a switch or not, at least you will feel confident you can. You will be empowered to hold vendors accountable instead of being held hostage.

That is the way business is meant to be done, and relationships should be formed. When it is a WIN-WIN. Not a WIN-LOSE or LOSE-WIN. After all, if everybody does not win, then nobody wins.

Need help ensuring your ITAD vendor change is smooth? Alternatively, implement a process that will make it seamless should it ever occur?

Retire-IT can be your partner on this. Call us at (888) 839-6555 or email us at, and we look forward to speaking with you about how we can support you.