Broken Hardware: When to Repair vs. Replace
Great. It’s the middle of busy season, and an integral piece of technology is on the fritz. Perhaps a rushed employee dropped their tablet. Or an emphatically gesturing manager knocked coffee onto the barcode scanner. Maybe the POS system is suddenly freezing with each transaction attempt. Should the company try to repair the broken equipment? Or scrap it altogether and replace it with something new?
That depends on a number of factors. Often, over the long term, it’s faster and more cost-effective to repair the device, but sometimes, it is better to consider a full device refresh.
Consider the following key factors to get started deciding whether to repair or replace:
- What’s not working, the hardware or software?
- What’s the average lifecycle of the device?
- What can you afford?
Is It the Hardware That’s Broken?
Repairs are usually the best option when there’s a minor hardware issue such as a snapped component, busted battery or cracked screen. If an organization has a large amount of the same device and the majority are working just fine, an upgrade is usually not worth the effort.
However, if the overall pool of equipment needs repairing often, it’s probably a quality issue and it would be more cost-effective to upgrade to a more rugged device. The general guideline in retail or enterprise is if there’s more than 20–30% device failure rate, the company should replace them with more reliable devices with longer lifespans. There’s one caveat to that: If a company is experiencing a dramatically high failure rate, but they also have a large pool of devices, they may continually choose to repair rather than replace. This is because the cost associated with replacing could prove to be too high.
Another consideration is if a company’s equipment is proprietary, custom or rare. Custom devices, parts or software are more difficult to replace because they aren’t readily available. In these circumstances, it’s best to repair and patch devices as long as possible until it becomes necessary to replace them at an enterprise level.
Likewise, if a device has a lot of customized information or applications, onboarding a new product with all of this data will be very time-consuming, if possible at all. Time is money, as they say, and that’s especially true for labor hours. Learning a new device is hard enough as it is, but having to reinstall or re-create information and personalizations can take up a large chunk of time.
What If It’s a Software Issue?
Operating systems and software issues, on the other hand, create an entirely different set of considerations. While most software issues are generally fixed with operating system reloading or reinstalling of the application, compatibility issues with a network or application may require other steps to remedy.
Compliance issues are the main reason to replace mobility equipment in regard to software. If it can’t be patched on existing hardware, it’s necessary to upgrade. Software for retail operations needs to support PCI compliance; not doing so is grounds for significant legal consequence.
How Old is the Equipment?
On average, companies should expect to update smaller devices such as tablets, smartphones, and computers every three to four years. Some mobility equipment will last longer, but most require major repair, if not an outright replacement, in less than five years. Businesses can get away with about 10 years with larger pieces of equipment like office printers.
Having an idea of device lifecycles will help organizations be proactive in scheduling replacements and updates. Waiting until the last minute causes inconvenient downtime while the team onboards new equipment. If an organization starts to notice that a few (or more) devices are not working as well as they should be and they’re nearing the average lifecycle, it’s best for them to plan for a full-scale update and allow for some overlap time using the last of the functioning current equipment while they purchase and set up the new devices.
Does the Budget Allow for Full Replacement?
If a company’s on the fence about repairing vs. replacing their broken AIDC equipment, POS devices, or other technology, it may come down to one simple factor: cost. Generally speaking, if it costs more than double to replace a broken device than it would to repair it, go with the repair option.
Once a decision has been made whether it’s appropriate to repair or replace broken equipment, the next step is to reach out to a reliable contractor who can advise on the best options. TRG’s expert staff is highly skilled in quality, fast-turnaround repairs and offers spare parts pooling for quick exchange. We also have a buyback program for obsolete equipment so that when the time does come to replace, we can remove old devices, clearing clutter and opening up warehouse space at your location.
Contact us today to learn more about our repair and replacement services and solutions.