Used computers, servers and smartphones worth millions of Danish kroner are gathering dust in storage rooms at Danish companies. Many companies overlook the value of used IT equipment.

When a new employee starts their first working day at a Danish company, it is very common that their first task will be to unpack a brand new work phone and laptop.

If the employee has been brought in as a replacement for a former employee, then it is also not uncommon that the former employee’s IT equipment is taken down to the cellar to gather dust before it is forgotten about.

Therefore, companies miss out on the opportunity to attempt value creation, says Niels Peter Holm, Director of Npvision Group, one of Denmark’s leading companies in the purchase and sale of used IT equipment.

“Most large companies have gradually developed processes for recycling used IT equipment. However, there are also many who have not, particularly among the medium-sized companies, who put very little focus on the fact that used IT equipment actually has a value,” he says.

According to Niels Peter Holm, a company will usually be able to reduce investments in purchasing IT equipment by about 10% by selling phased-out IT equipment before it has been allowed to gather dust for too long.

“Computers, servers and smartphones typically have a service life of about three to four years before they are replaced, and depending on the condition and the brand, it’s quite feasible that a company can get DKK 1,000–2,000 for a used device, but it obviously means that the equipment must be continuously collected and sold on,” says Niels Peter Holm.

New life as school computers

Npvision Group is the go-to partner for a number of large and medium-sized Danish companies, as well as several of the country’s municipalities. The collaboration usually works by Npvision Group being notified when the customer has collected a sufficient amount of used IT equipment.

The equipment is then picked up in security-approved vehicles and brought to the company’s head office in Risskov, north of Aarhus, where technicians delete the data and examine all the devices, then each device is graded according to its cosmetic and functional condition. This allows Npvision Group to give an exact price that the company can achieve for its used equipment.

“Danish companies are technologically advanced in terms of employees’ IT equipment, and as such there are excellent international sales opportunities. Some of the computers used in large Danish companies may get a new lease life in, among other places, less well-off companies or as school computers in countries that do not have the same budgets to buy IT equipment as in Denmark,” says Niels Peter Holm, who does not, however, believe that this is what it should take for more Danish companies to see the opportunity in selling their used IT equipment.

“For the companies, it’s primarily about stretching the IT budgets a little further and ensuring that the used IT equipment is disposed of in such a manner that data security is not compromised. However, it can also be mentioned in the company’s CSR report, which certainly does not make the business case worse,” says Niels Peter Holm.

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