Maryann Jones Thompson, the editor of The EcoInnovator and the Corporate Eco Forum recently did an article on Dan Gilbert, VP of Supply Chain Field Operations for Cisco Systems, called “Turning Scrap into Profit“. I give Dan and Cisco huge credit for radically changing their Go Green strategy; transforming their “returned equipment” process from a cost center to a revenue stream.
Dan Gilbert joined Cisco in 2005 and took over their Reverse Logistics program at a point when Cisco’s returned products generated about 6 million pounds of scrap and costing Cisco $8 million per year! That is equal to 12 football fields filled knee-deep with product that was returned and assumed not working or DOA.
He changed the corporations mindset from a “scrap it” mentality to a “recycle and re-use” mentality. In fact, he found that over 80% of the returned and traded-in equipment coming back was in fact in good working condition. He realized the equipment had a remaining life; a life with a second or even third career! Dan went on to matched up these products with internal Cisco functions that had a need for refurbished equipment, using 44% of his returned products internally for customer demos, engineering labs, spare parts and charity opportunities.
Dan goes as far as to put on his sales cap and convince his collegues within Cisco that refurbished product could meet their needs as reliably as new product. He demonstrated that in fact refurbished gear passed the same quality and compliance checks required of their new products.
So yes, Cisco themselves even use refurbished Cisco equipment as a way to save money and reduce their own corporate carbon footprint! This is a great endorsement for all corporations to consider buying refurbished equipment for their internal use! If the manufacturer themselves uses refurbished equipment internally, that speaks volumes to corporate IT staffs and for the validity of the $2 billion refurbished computer industry.