E-Reuse Services is focused on creating efficient and effective ways to help both the ITAD and Electronics Reuse industries perform safe data destruction and reuse processes. To promote these efforts, ERS recently launched the E-Reuse Network, a collaborative forum to help multiple industries, such as device repair businesses and electronics recyclers, to connect with the vendors that supply them with the tools and services they need.
ERS also hosts the annual Electronics Reuse Conference (ERC) which brings the industry leaders together to facilitate the exchange of ideas and processes that will improve the businesses in the E-Reuse and repair spaces.
We interviewed Co-Founder of E-Reuse Services, Sarah Cade, to talk more about the ERC event, its mission, and efforts to bring different industries together to connect and grow. Sarah has been running the ERC for the past eight years, and she travels worldwide to speak at conferences and deliver training to promote the reuse and recycling of electronic equipment.
Sourcely: You’ve been working at ERC for the past 8 years now. What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the refurbishing/recycling industries so far, and what are some of the most common challenges for businesses involved?
Sarah: Over the years, devices are getting smaller and more difficult to repair, parts are getting more complex so being able to take things apart is becoming more challenging. It changed quite a bit and we’ve had to start talking about the complexity of different tools and parts, along with the same things that have been common problems and challenges like software and training, for example.
The goal for ERC is always to help businesses in the industry be more complete and well established. We do talk about somethings year after year, but obviously there have been some really big changes over the years due to new technology, and we try to stay ahead.
Sourcely: What is the importance of the Electronics Reuse Conference (ERC) for the E-Reuse space and how can it facilitate dialogue between multiple industries?
Sarah: It’s important to get together at least once a year to talk about these things that are new and developing, as well as additional opportunities that come along. What ERC does is it allows people to connect or reconnect and do business with one another, because it’s easier when they know each other personally. The E-Reuse Conference is a space that brings together companies that are anywhere from one small repair shop to a large refurbisher, all with the same goal: being able to re-use and repair as much as possible. It allows people to be in the same room and learn from one another, and ultimately be able to improve each other’s businesses.
Sourcely: How do you source vendors and partners for the Conference? What are the “must haves” to become an ERC partner?
Sarah: We’ve been really lucky. Our partners and vendors are really word-of-mouth, so it’s people who have been in the industry a long time, who have been loyal partners and vendors. As we add new ones it’s mostly people who have been to the show and realized the value they can get from it or they hear about it from one of their peers. While I know that marketing is important, I also really value that word-of-mouth relationship because it allows us to grow in a controlled way. I’d say some of the “must haves” are that they need to be good industry partners, they need to treat their customers with respect, and they’re always looking to improve and looking for ways to help others improve.
Sourcely: How do you think the future of electronic refurbishing can impact smaller businesses such as independent repair shops?
Sarah: The relationship between the larger refurbishers and small repair shops has always been very intriguing to me. As an example, last year one large refurbisher came to me and said he had a great conversation with one of the repair shop owners and they actually ended up doing a fairly large piece of business together. But because they have different experiences and views of the industry, they often don’t realize how much they compliment each other until they start talking to one another. So this is an example of what can come up when there’s a space where we can make these conversations happen. At the end of the day, this is what the event is about: meeting new people, putting yourself out there, and understanding what some of the opportunities are, thinking creatively to grow.
Sourcely: In what way can repair shops become more involved with e-reuse efforts and make more profit from them?
Sarah: My goal for anybody that comes to the show is to experience the great value it can add to their business. So whether they learned something and they implemented and they were able to save X amount of money, or they met someone and were able to make a deal that will make them X amount of dollars, the goal is to find solutions to their problems. I always advise everyone planning to come to think beforehand about what blockers they are trying to solve and what types of deals they want to make.
We also launched e-Reuse Network earlier this year, an online forum with an annual subscription that allows us to do a somewhat “extended trade show”. It’s a place where our vendors give special discounts in different fields to anybody who’s a member of the network, extending the exclusive deals and relationships outside of the event to all the ones who can’t participate or the ones who want to continue pursuing those opportunities. It’s just a great way to extend this community we created in the sense that we are all sharing each other’s information, knowledge, and opportunities.
The 2018 E-Reuse Conference happens in Nashville, TN during October 28th – October 31st at the Hilton Downtown. Connect with different business, learn from industry leaders, and expand business opportunities during an event there’s also a lot of fun! Sourcely is proudly one of the event’s partner and you can find us at Table 20 where we’ll be giving exclusive offers, business insights, and amazing giveaways!
Click Here to learn more.