Urban Cottage Industries runs exclusively on Apple hardware – there’s not a single Windows laptop, desktop, tablet or server in sight. Every employee gets their own MacBook or iPad, or both – whatever they prefer, irrespective of their role. It’s a big investment in one way and an absolute no brainer in another. I’ll look at the financials in detail (acquisition costs, depreciation, VAT etc) in a later post, but here’s a quick overview of how our IT procurement/management works.
The lifecycle for everything containing a hard drive is two years max and three years for everything else. We want the latest, fastest machines, a valid warranty from Apple and – most of all – we want to waste the smallest amount of my time possible dealing with failing machines and fixing compatibility problems.
In with the (as good as) new
We buy official Apple refurbished hardware from Apple. ‘Refurbished’ might be a toxic word to most business buyers, but we’ve been buying them for years and with a little planning it makes perfect sense.
- Stock is unpredictable – granted – which can be frustrating. We avoid problems by buying regularly – there’s always a spare MacBook or iPad on our shelf, even if not at the Apple refurbished store
- The latest models are generally available with a reduction of 15% or more. It’s a better deal than using the Apple Business team – who in our experience do little or nothing for SMEs
- We’re purchasing equipment that is effectively tested more rigorously than off-the-shelf counterparts – the process is explained here
Out with the (not very) old
We sell the hardware on eBay when it’s two to three years old. Apple refurbished hardware holds its value just as well as other Apple hardware and depreciates nowhere near as much as equivalent Windows products.
- A two-year-old Mac is still an attractive machine and has a decent resale price to match
- The used Mac market is not as saturated as the Windows counterpart
- Our eBay outlet is an established account for Factorylux and Prelogram seconds and returns with a bunch of keen followers – check our feedback
- I’m an Apple certified tech – which means our Macs are thoroughly cleaned, tested and reset to ‘factory’ state to maximise the price and to ensure we have no dissatisfied eBay buyers
Why it (totally) works
Cutting the cost of acquiring new equipment and increasing the revenue from old equipment means providing employees with the latest iPads and notebooks people love. Faster, shinier, happier and more efficient IT, means faster, shinier, happier and more efficient employees – know anyone who’d say no to a new iPad or MacBook Air? Some of our employees clock up in the region of 2,000 hours of business use on their MacBook. If we can make them just 2% more efficient through better hardware and deeper level of engagement with it, we gain an extra working week per employee, per year. I spend less time fixing problems. We have no backward compatibility issues – all the machines are running to the same setup which means if something does go wrong, I can have a replacement machine set up in next to no time.