The most common questions about packing and shipping IT assets
Posted in Blog
Guardian’s data destruction services were the evolution of a transportation and logistics company specialized in the transport of new and used IT assets. Today, Guardian Data Destruction is the US leader in secure, onsite data destruction (primarily hard drive shredding and hard drive erasure). And, we still provide safe and secure packing and logistics services for all types of IT equipment, IT hardware and devices for ITADs, VARs, commercial, institutional, medical and industrial companies.
As a result of our years of experience, we’ve gathered some of the most common questions our customers ask when we’re quoting or smack dab in the middle of an IT asset packing and shipping project.
“I want to know where my shipment is or when it is arriving. Portals are usually slow or don’t have the information I need.“
No one likes surprises and there are always hiccups in logistics. Look for a logistics partner that understands the value of communication and takes on the responsibility of reaching out to you at each step of the logistics pick-up and delivery process.
You should know when the truck has arrived to be loaded, the status of the loading process, the time the truck leaves and the expected delivery date and time. If there’s a change, your IT packing and logistics partner should proactively inform you about delays, schedule changes, quantity discrepancies, etc. before you have to chase it down or wonder what is going on.
And, of course, ensure that your partner has after-hours support that is available 24x7x7.
“How do I know if my IT assets were damaged due to poor transport or poor packing?“
We recommend taking photos of IT assets before they are packed, during the packing process and shipments before they leave the docks. Photographic comparison of before and after is a visual verification to determine if there is damage during shipment and your logistics company should fulfill any requests for packing processes, photo documentation and transparency.
Guardian inspects assets for physical damage as we load them. If damages or discrepancies are discovered we make note on the ATF (Asset Transfer Form) and notify the onsite POC (point of contact).
“My company is concerned about the chain of custody for all IT assets and devices that leave our facilities. What should I be looking for to ensure that every device is traceable once it leaves our custody?”
While office supplies don’t need precise inventorying and tracking for shipping, the IT equipment logistics process depends upon it. At the very minimum, every shipment has a dual-signature ATF (Asset Transfer Form) as part of our full chain of custody documentation. Drivers should also count boxes, pallets and crates.
For added security, ask for onsite scanning and secure, tagged bins or crates.
Download a sample set of Chain of Custody documentation:
What if something goes wrong with my shipment?
Logistics is more than trucking. It’s a constantly shifting puzzle that is affected by federal and state regulations, weather, unpreparedness, miscommunication human error, traffic and, as the airlines like to say as they cancel your flight, “acts of God.” With so many variables, expect that something will change at some point.
So, what can you do to minimize risk and stress?
We suggest partnering with an IT equipment logistics provider that focuses on staying on top of every shipment and is proactively reaching out to you with both updated information and suggested solutions. Instead of you wondering and searching for information, you want to be updated automatically at every milestone.
At Guardian, we believe that live updates from live people reassure our point of contact (POC) best and is the most responsive method for relaying information and developing alternative strategies if needed.
We need custom packing and/or logistics services. Is that something you can do? What are my options?
There’s no limit to packing and moving whether it’s physical size, quantity, packing level, security level, project management and any other factor. The most common “custom” service requests Guardian gets are:
- Custom crating (with or without shock pallets)
- Custom packing requirements and materials (for security, fragility and/or ESG initiatives)
- Site-specific safety and security measures like uniforms, background checks, safety vests, eye protection and visitor access control limitations.
- Secure point-to-point delivery (dual-driver, non-stop)
- GPS trackers – on the device, on the package, on the truck
- Unusual and difficult to stack out-of-box assets including printers, LCD monitors, all-in-ones, copiers, medical devices, oversized televisions/AV equipment, kiosks, etc.
- A single, small device with live data (like a server) that needs the maximum in secure packing and dedicated transport
- Coordination, dispatch and pickup of equipment from multi-location, national retail chains including store closures, airports, medical facilities, laboratories to pick up outdated IT assets (monitors, computers, data centers, peripherals, tablets), kiosks, POS (point of sale), telecom systems, payment machines, medical equipment (x-ray machines, sonogram equipment, blood pressure machines, etc.) and other electronic devices.
- Continuous or national self-pack and ship box programs for remote offices or workers
- Drop off, set up and pickup of event IT equipment (laptops, tablets,etc.)
What other services can be combined with IT equipment shipping, packing and logistics?
As a single-source provider, Guardian offers many services that fit neatly with packing and logistics. You’ll have one vendor to coordinate and manage with full responsibility and accountability:
- Overflow Warehouse for long-term or short-term storage
- Hard Drive Data Destruction – onsite and offsite
- Self-pack and Ship Box Programs
- Cable Mining
- eWaste Recycling – R2 and e-Stewards certified facilities
My pickup load has expanded but the truck is already on its way. What do I do about extra packing and shipping needs on arrival?
This is probably our number one asked question. We have a specialized truck that is set to pick up a specific load and we get the call:
- “I have an extra printer. Can you add it to the pickup?”
- “I found another room with…”
- “I’ve just been given 5 more server racks and 100 iMAcs. Can you take those too?”
- “We miscounted. Instead of 12 pallets, we have 24.”
The answer to all of these requests is Yes. And No. Keep in mind that the driver is responsible for what’s been agreed to. Adding one or more pieces of IT equipment without clear instructions and permissions will inevitably cause more problems than a new job setup.
Step 1: Evaluate the change in scope:
- Is there room on the truck? For all or partial?
- Are the additional devices properly packed/securely skidded/ready to go?
- If the extras are loose, do we have the proper packing materials with us?
- If the extras are loose, can the client properly pack them without changing our schedule?
- Do the devices have the same dropoff location as the scheduled load?
- Do we have the manpower to pack and load the added scope?
Step 2: If the answer to any of the above questions is no, we’ll work with the VAR to schedule an additional pickup (and include packing materials, etc as needed). If the VAR/ITAD cannot be reached, the liability of taking on IT assets that are not scoped and approved by all parties will prevent us from expanding the pickup at that time.
Step 3: If the answers are yes, our drivers must communicate the change in scope to the client’s VAR or ITAD and get permission to pick up extras – whether it’s one device or many.
Step 4: If there’s any of the added left, we schedule a new pickup with the VAR and client.
My shipment has live data/valuable IT assets. What type of secure logistics options do you offer?
- Dedicated secure truck.
- Tagged, locked bins (multiple sizes)
- GPS tracking (item/pallet/load)
- Black shrinkwrap
I have IT equipment overseas. Can you pack and manage all the logistics for international shipping?
International shipping from Europe, Asia, Canada and South America is common. Your IT logistics provider should have relationships with trusted professionals to ensure safe and secure delivery of your IT hardware whether it’s laptops, servers,or even specialized equipment and medical devices. See the Guardian online location map for more information.
Guardian’s roots are in logistics
Our expertise and longevity place us in an excellent position to help you find the IT equipment packing and logistics provider that meets your needs. In addition to the solutions above, look for:
Flexibility – Interest in packing, logistics and security solutions whether it’s an onsite surprise or a custom job.
Excellent communication: Reaches out to you instead of waiting for you to track them down. Responds empathetically and acknowledges your concerns and internal processes. Works hand-in-glove with your VAR or ITAD to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Excellent inter-team communications – No gaps in information, no unresponded texts, messages and emails because a team, working out of a shared dispatch center, is responsible.
Experience in packing and transporting used, high-value IT equipment – White glove packing and delivery of furniture is not the same as the best practices in shipping hundreds, thousands of laptops, monitors, servers, racks and more.
The role of a logistics supplier, no matter what’s in the truck, is to provide peace of mind. If you’re not getting that feeling of confidence, maybe it’s time to look for a new partner to ship your used IT equipment to another office, a new data center, to your leasing company, to your ITAD or VAR or remarketer, or inevitably, to a responsible eWaste recycler.
If we missed your pressing questions about IT asset packing and logistics, reach out to the Guardian Data Destruction IT Packing and Logistics Group here. Or give us a call at 888-556-9473.
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