Mobile News Spotlight feature – Interview with GSUK Business Development Director, Gurjit Dhillon
1. Will 5G affect the number of devices being recycled?
New smartphone sales have been in decline in recent months. So providing there is a demonstrable difference between 4G and 5G which consumers can buy in to, this should ignite a passion for buying a new device. We then believe that recycling will play a key part in transitioning users from 4G to 5G. Whether these recycling schemes will be led by the manufacturers, networks or independents remains to be seen. All will be motivated to kick-start the upgrade cycle. We can imagine it will be very competitive depending on where the price point of 5G devices will sit.
2. How do you differentiate your service from competitors?
Having been established for over 10 years, pioneering the reuse of accessories, our mantra has always been that the best form of recycling is reuse. We strive for 100 per cent reuse and therefore, our energy and focus go into reusing the products and parts that we recover from our clients. Through reuse, we are achieving several objectives some of which some are: protecting our client’s brand, developing processes that support the circular economy, protecting the environment through reuse, generating value for our clients and making genuine products and components available to a wider user base. Non-recoverable product is a small part of our total output.
3. What differentiates your organisation from its rivals?
We really care what happens to the waste generated by consumer technology products and very keen to see excess/ used devices lives being extended whether that’s through refurbishment or through harvesting genuine components to support the repair of other devices. We believe we owe it to future generations to ensure we create a legacy, a way of working that is sustainable that enables people to have access to preowned devices and accessories at affordable prices to deliver upon the circular economy principles and that it remains a viable option.
4. Which countries offer the most potential for sales of used devices?
We primarily focus on accessories and components but from what we have experienced, the Far East and Africa used to be the destinations of choice but since the ownership of devices has extended beyond a typical airtime contract, the growth of SIM Only, the maturity of the Insurance Market and declining trade in volumes, Europe has become really competitive and demand is high. In fact, so high, it appears that many companies seem to be sourcing outside of the EU to meet demand.
5. Has the GDPR impacted your business?
As an organisation, we are ISO27001 accredited and take data protection very seriously. We do not retain customer data and ensure it is wiped from each device using proprietary solutions.
6. How to prevent inadvertently handling stolen devices?
We do not directly deal with consumers or manage used product directly from consumers, so our risk is very low. We do, however, have access to the usual registered databases as provided by GSMA and other organisations to check IMEI’s.However, all of our product is sourced directly from networks / manufacturers where ownership is undisputed. We have a sophisticated QA function which allows us to confirm source and authenticity of product and one of our USP’s is that we will destroy any product if we are not certain of its authenticity.
7. How do you ensure your prices are competitive?
We do not operate traditional trade in schemes but instead focus on solutions that return value to our clients that may not necessarily be achievable or difficult to do. We believe we are competitive because of the long-standing relationships we retain and continue to build with many of our clients that have used our services since we were established.
8. What are the main pressures and challenges of the sector?
Recovery and reuse is a highly competitive sector to operate in. We try to operate above the green wash hype and provide innovative solutions for our customers. As a business operating in this sector, you need to be on top of your game to ensure you are compliant, efficient and innovative. It’s a fast-moving marketplace and can be quite volatile. As one of the original pioneers focusing on recovery solutions for accessories, we focus on building relationships and solving our client’s problems to close gaps in their inventory value whilst protecting their brand and being compliant.
9. Are changes in consumer attitudes aiding or abetting the recycling business?
We think they are definitely aiding the recycling business. We are witnessing a quiet revolution where reuse is fashionable and people are embracing buying second-hand products whether that’s devices, laptops or accessories. Because of the sheer volume and penetration of mobile, users have plenty of opportunities to upgrade to a later specification of their devices without having to commit to a long-term contract or pay for a new expensive device which may not be materially different from their existing device. With increased publicity on waste in general and tightening of the economy, consumer’s attitudes are more inclined to x rather than replace which is much more beneficial for the planet and its population.
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