What to do when your boss gives you the impossible task – “Sell our equipment” so we can get them off our books!
Picture yourself sitting at your desk on Monday morning scanning emails. The one from your boss is sandwiched between a get-rich-scheme from a Saudi Prince and someone claiming to offer cheap web-hosting services. The title reads, “Sell Our Equipment.”
Once you dig into the message you realize your dream has come true. The boss wants to junk the server room, but there’s a catch, don’t spend any money. “PLAN OUR ATTACK,” the message closes.
Your dreams evaporate as you open the software containing the list of all the equipment. Thousands of drives and pages of server racks fill the document. This is going to be a daunting task. Every item must be re-inventoried along with the asset’s condition.
What to do with the data poses the biggest problem. No mention was made of the storage or transfer of digital files contained in the private data center.
Let’s discuss three steps to get the process started and how to make you look like a Rockstar.
- Photograph everything—even the junk in the corner
Begin with imaging the entire data center. There is a chance someone may be interested in purchasing a fully functional system. Open the cabinet’s front and backs if necessary and shoot images of every subsystem. Use each cabinet number as the controlling location for its servers and second level parts. Also take images of all the individual servers and subsystem parts, as this helps whoever you’re selling servers to determine value. As you do this, log in the equipment’s physical condition. If the original manual and boxes still exist, gather those and do photo and ledger inventory of them as well.
The reason to start with such a high level of documentation is it lets you build an image of the server room. Using the master inventory list and the new images, a quasi-complete inventory of the data center is completed. This documentation lets you start the negation process for competitive bids from re-sellers and recyclers.
Every piece of equipment needs to contain the following:
- Contact info
- Packaging (if you have original packaging)
- Size (when applicable)
- Model or Serial
- Type (when applicable)
Rockstar addon: Take pictures of the HVAC system and tonnage used to keep the server room cool and log the square footage for the space. Also shoot images of the electrical panels for the room and find out the phase power and voltage.
Images of the loading dock or how equipment would have to exit the building: elevators, stairs, driveways, parking lot, door sizes, hallways…
- Capital equipment and depreciation value for the inventory
Accounting can provide the deprecated ledger value for the equipment. This gives you negotiating power when it’s time to talk numbers with an outside contractor. Don’t share this document with any the vendors and better yet, get the accounting department involved in the liquidation process. They may be able to do an accelerated depreciation or help lend guidance to when is the best time to sell dependent upon quarterly and annual tax filings.
Rockstar addon: Have accounting check all the asset tags against the images and log you confirmed when you did your inventory. There will be differences. Accounting makes the decision for how to handle unlocatable hardware. Keep a copy of all the missing equipment and post it on the company’s bulletin board with “Lost Hardware—Reward Offered.” You never know what may show up from the bowels of the building or what some employee ‘borrowed.’
If you find loose asset tags, give them to accounting.
- Locate vendors
Harness the power of the vendors. They are the specialist in handling used equipment and be willing to pay them for their expertise. If you choose the right vendor, they will probably liquidate the equipment and pay you for the pleasure.
Your old equipment has value and we at Exit Technologies do our best to share the proceeds from the recycled equipment with the owner. We are so focused on the bottom line, we pay up to 80% of the wholesale value back to you.
Ask potential vendors these questions:
- Will the vendor do an onsite evaluation?
- Who breaks down the racks dismantles the data center?
- How do they remove data from the hard drives and can they clean hidden directories and the bus?
- Do they shred hard drives?
- Can they produce full-channel documentation from your facility to the end user or recycler?
- Are they able to repair or recondition the used equipment before resale?
- Who pays whom and when?
Rockstar addon: You’re looking for a full-service vendor. One who shows up, breaks down the data center, ships it out, and sells the equipment for top dollar. Focus on a turnkey approach with pays money back to the company. You and your staff are going to be busy handling the data transfer and other issues that arise from the data center liquidation. Let the experts at Exit Technologies do the work.
- Close the deal
Prepare your findings along with a recommendation for which vendor to use. Make it easy for the boss to understand the bid packages. If you must create summaries for each package and do a presentation, do it. Remember that you are going to be the point person in dealing with the vendors and the rest of the company, you need to know what each vendor can provided and how they affect the company’s daily operation.
Rockstar addon: Arrange for each vendor to be available for an onsite presentation and interview. This can be dependent to the value of your data center but keep in mind, if the vendor is looking to make money on the deal, they need to step-up and show committed interest in the bidding process. The ones who do a boilerplate bid without personal attention to the details aren’t going to support the process to completion.
This is where the facility images you took come into play. The tear-down crew is going to be onsite to move the equipment out of the building. Make it easy for the vendors to know what equipment, including freight truck selection, they need to exit the building.
Be the Rockstar:
Ask the vendors you interview where their other customers are moving their data. They should know who is doing what in the data center industry. Reach out to your professional contacts as well. Come up with an action plan that involves the transfer of the data to an off-site location as well as how would you recreate a more advanced onsite, private data center once the old one is decommissioned.
If you foresee the need to rebuild the onsite data center. See if one of the vendors can provide the equipment and do the install. This could be bundled into the original bid and help reduce the new install cost.
Go one step further and ask accounting to prepare a preliminary statement as to how the removal of capital equipment will affect the bottom line for the next quarter and fiscal year and how these changes will influence departmental budgeting.
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