Home > Resource Center > Blog > The difference between IT Asset Logistics versus Shipping (and why it’s important when moving high value assets from A to B).
The difference between IT Asset Logistics versus Shipping (and why it’s important when moving high value assets from A to B).

The difference between IT Asset Logistics versus Shipping (and why it’s important when moving high value assets from A to B).

Posted in Blog

Glenn Laga

When you’re moving servers, laptops, racks, desktops, printers, kiosks, etc across the country, is that shipping? Or logistics?


It is definitely shipping.


But it’s also logistics. That’s because logistics is a broad term that includes the entire supply chain and these other services – shipping, packing, handling, moving to a loading dock, warehousing, inventory, consolidating and cross-docking – to meet customer requirements with a timely, cost-effective, efficient and quality-based solution.

Logistics is designed for quantity and special handling

If you have one laptop to transport, head to UPS, FedEx or USPS for shipping. (That said, moving high value, high risk, single items with care definitely is logistics. Read on to learn why.)

If you have 100, 1000 or 10,000 laptops to transport to one or more locations, you’re now talking about a significant scale in needs that might also include one or more of these services in addition to transporting (and that’s logistics):

  • White glove packing
  • Scanning
  • Photo documentation
  • Privacy wrap
  • Bill of Lading (BOL)
  • Asset Transfer Forms (ATF)
  • Data destruction (to ensure that no live data is at risk)
  • Consolidation and repacking of goods from multiple locations to a single address
  • Security (cages, tags and locks)
  • High security (dedicated trucks, GPS tracking by device/box)
  • Temporary or long-term storage in a warehouse
  • Cross docking
  • Optimized transport modes depending on urgency, loading and security

What is the objective of IT Asset logistics?

Visibility, control and savings: reduced time, reduced cost, reduced tracking, reduced documentation, reduced labor.

Imagine that you need to get 350 monitors, 500 desktop computers, 700 tablets and over 1000 Chromebooks back to your leasing company or to a centralized IT warehouse for refurbishing and redeployment.

Option 1) Individually pack and ship each asset (that’s 2550 boxes btw)

Option 2) Ask your IT asset logistics provider for a quote to pack your assets, pick them up and deliver them to your destination – tracked as a single shipment all the way. Their quote will be based on best practices for packing and shipping IT assets of value using a combination of these:

  • Gaylords (open-topped, pallet-dimensioned, high boxes to be filled and lidded)
  • Pallets in combination with boxes, bubble wrap, privacy shrink wrap, cardboard, foam and strapping
  • Custom crates (large, odd-sized and Ming-dynasty level fragile)
  • Custom pallets (sized for the load)
  • Shock pallets
  • Security options that match your value and risk assessment (black privacy wrap, security tape, security tags, locks, cages, bins, GPS trackers)
  • Truck options that match your budget, timing and risk criteria (ranging from local pickup and delivery, LTL, truckload, air freight network, dedicated truck, dedicated, secure truckload or straight truck)

This isn’t just a customized shipping and logistics solution, it’s a tailored response that hits every important point in IT asset logistics: care, security, speed, quantity and weight.In addition, specialized logistics services will have a point of contact so that when you have questions, you’ll have a responsible person, not a portal, not a general customer service line, who responds. When a logistics job is in process, count on regular updates as it proceeds. If there’s a problem (there inevitably will be one), you should be getting proactive updates with a solution in your ear… before you know the problem even exists.

Common questions about logistics our customers ask >

Does IT asset logistics affect the chain of custody (as opposed to individually shipped boxes)?

Yes. And No.

The primary difference is logistics refers to the entire supply chain. 

An IT asset logistics specialist understands the hierarchy of importance of the entire move from  maximizing retained value, packing, transpor, and redeployment,  resale, remarketing. 

IT asset specialists offer two advantages when moving IT assets from A to B:  

  1. They understand the IT asset processing cycle which affects every aspect of packing and shipping as efficiently pack eWaste and products bound for responsible recycling.
  2. That’s all they do so they know, from experience, how to best pack laptops to minimize damage as well as how to crate a lift server so that it arrives onsite ready to work.

What exactly is White Glove Packing for IT assets? >

IT asset logistics specialists meet each customer’s need

Logistics is an art form that combines the services that decrease risk and provide the best possible outcomes for the shipper. Granted, most IT assets are white glove packed with additional parameters that satisfy timeliness, legal or risk management in the most efficient, least cost manner.

But sometimes requests can seem extreme: round-the-clock video monitoring, GPS tracking by product –  all in conjunction with tagged, locked bins and dedicated, secure trucks. Here are some recent, atypical IT asset logistics jobs that Guardian has completed.

Ex 1: One single server with live data, white glove packed and secured in a tagged, locked bin is driven across several states in an air conditioned, secure, dedicated truck with two drivers for high security and quickest drive time. Because the need was urgent, the server had to be at the perfect temperature upon arrival so that it could be immediately plugged in and live.

Ex 2: A complete, live data center moves from San Francisco Bay Area to Texas. Each rack is white glove packed and secured in seven dedicated, locked, tagged, GPS-monitored team driver trucks that deliver them across the country in a virtually non-stop convoy.

Ex 3: An empty post-COVID office is decommissioned. Twenty floors of partially known, mostly guesstimated mystery IT assets (laptops, desktops, printers, servers, monitors, peripherals) were located, inventoried, sorted, data destruction for all hard drives and SSDs, packed and shipped in accordance to value to a centralized corporate location for grading and processing.

Ex 4:  Self-pack and ship “box” programs for remote and furloughed workers include program setup and coordination, empty box and packing materials deployment based on IT assets to be returned, monitoring of receipts, warehouse receiving, storage, grading, consolidation and eventually outbound shipping for resale, redeployment and recycling as determined by the client.

Ex 5: National kiosk retrieval programs from retail shops, airports and medical facilities including site pickup coordination and confirmations, packing, transport, consolidation, reporting and final transport to processing.

Ex 6: Scheduled packing and pickups for 80 US data center decommissioning locations within a single week. All pickups were scheduled and arrived within an hour after site decommissioning. The assets were regionally consolidated and then shipped to a central location for processing, packing, shipping, coordination with full project reporting and chain of custody documentation.

Ex 7: In a combined delivery, setup and pickup logistics project, 2,000 all-in-one computers were delivered to a single university location. The new PCs were assigned to different classrooms and libraries where they were unboxed and connected to power and ethernet. All packing debris was removed as obsolete computer hardware was packed, removed and shipped to a central location.

Guardian knows IT assets, data and logistics

Guardian began as a logistics company specializing in the transport of new and used IT assets. 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. 

Because of our industry experience, our IT asset logistics services are combined with our onsite data destruction services (hard drive shred and hard drive erasure) and our enterprise data center services to create a single source solution that assures absolute compliance and absolute satisfaction.No matter your need, Guardian’s goal is to provide solutions and confidence. For questions about our IT asset packing and logistics services or to ensure that your provider is doing you right, 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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