Wednesday, February 11, 2015

REACTIVATING A USED PEOPLENET BLU2 OR USED OMNITRACS MCP200

A review on the ability to reactivate the two major EOBR solutions on the secondary market in the battle of used mobile communications supremacy in the trucking industry. 

AN UNBIASED OPINION - THE FACTS BETWEEN THE TWO

Over the past six years, Pivot Technology Resources has been responsible for moving thousands of quality used mobile communications and asset tracking systems from many of the industry's top manufacturers and service providers like QUALCOMM or OMNITRACS, PeopleNet, Rand McNally, CarrierWeb, GeoLogic, Xata, SkyBitz, and more. In order to add the most value to our customers, we try to be as up front with our customers as possible. We want to be transparent when informing our customers about a product, service, or ancillary fee that will affect the decision to move forward with a service provider or product. Why we are doing this? Companies need to know what to look for when investing money in a solution provider for eLogs, satellite or terrestrial communications, vehicle tracking, or even simple Navigation. There is an abundance of high quality, functional equipment available on the secondary market in the trucking industry. We do the work to sort through the good, the bad, and the ugly to bring the best to companies that have a use for them.

We have consolidated the information we have experienced in the industry and would like to inform anyone looking to reactivate a used MCP200 or a used BLU2. Let's look at the processes on how to activate a used unit purchased from a company owning used equipment:

OMNITRACS - Formerly QUALCOMM



OmniTRACS has a minimal transfer fee that most times gets waived for their customers. On a daily level, Pivot Technology Resources initiates transfers to and from current OmniTRACS customers and ensures the success in a transfer has been made. The current process that we experience is defined below:

The seller provides a Bill of Sale for a used MCP200 to Pivot Technology Resources. We pay the company for the unit and upon inspection and approval, initiates a transfer out of their account into Pivot Technology Resources. The equipment is now in a holding account for testing until the equipment is sold to a company in need. Once a new customer orders quality tested, cleaned, and packaged equipment, the Bill of Sale (including the necessary activation serial numbers and account information) is sent via email to the OmniTRACS transfer department with the new customer copied. Once accepted by the new customer, assignments of vehicle numbers and profile information can be set up on the customer's portal. Installations can now begin and the units are working in the new customer's account. The total time for a transfer can be in as little as an hour or as long as a week in some larger orders or busy times.

Working with OmniTRACS, we have a defined process with many successful transfers initiated daily. The support staff is very helpful on the technical as well as administrative side.

PEOPLENET

 
A used PeopleNet OBC not only has the highest "reactivation or transfer fee" costs in the market, they are virtually alone in what is essentially penalizing their own customers for not buying new equipment through them. They frustrate the consumer into staying away from used equipment by issuing high "reactivation or transfer" fees, a runaround of policies that change from week to week and from customer to customer. The cloudy policies keep customers from understanding the true and defined processes by which a successful transfer can be made.

Over the past year, we have had PeopleNet customer support reps quote three different transfer fees, multiple procedures, and never have a quick and easy solution. We have even had complete walk-throughs with very helpful PeopleNet customer support personnel on many levels with flying colors on our test bench with all aspects of an OBC checking out okay and is thoroughly approved through PeopleNet tech support. The units have now tested good and can be packaged to ship to a customer to fill an order. However, upon installation, the OBCs are not functional and the company is now instructed that the defective OBCs need to be sent back to PeopleNet for reactivation and a nonrefundable $100 fee. If they want a new warranty through PeopleNet, they can pay an extra $350 per unit. So what could happen during a transit time of a couple days that would allow the OBCs to drop their numbers and become worthless? That is a very good question that we are unable to get answered through multiple email and voicemails to multiple contacts from support to sales and operations.

This undefined process puts stress on everyone when a customer tries to install a known, good working used OBC in a truck, and it "needs to be sent in for further testing and reactivation processes" per PeopleNet. When a mutual PeopleNet customer can't order OBC's directly from PeopleNet for four weeks because of shortages, and a customer can't order known good working OBC's from Pivot to get the next day because of a runaround in policy, how are you as a service provider standing behind your customers when you refuse to support known functional equipment? Unfortunately, we are regressing in our ability to support our mutual customer base on the OBC side of things. So discounting the other equipment is our only option.

In my opinion, our success is summed up when we can allow carriers to save money on the high cost of mobile communications equipment, while continuing to be a resource for trucking companies that no longer have a use for a specific type of product or service. Research the facts, and make an educated decision on how you would like to spend the next three, five, and even 10 years with your investment dollars. Pivot Technology Resources has the customers' best interest in mind with the information we provide, the solutions we make available, and the ease and energy level at which they operate.

If you are still having problems deciding on which provider to invest on the used side of the EOBR or ELD market, here are some front end questions to ask the provider before signing on the dotted line for hardware and messaging fees:

Is there a price break for buying more units over a period of growth over the next few years?
If I order too many and end up downsizing, will you take the units back within a specified time?
Is there a fee for deactivating units if we end up downsizing?
Call I sell any units to which we no longer have any use? Is there a fee? What is the process?
If we deactivate a unit, will it still have any value on the open market to other fleets using the same product?
Does the equipment meet current and future FMCSA ELD mandates?
What is the current failure rate on products over the life cycle?
How many components make up a complete system?
How reliable are the main components?
How often is there a waiting period for equipment when ordered/needed?
What is the perception of the manufacturer and service provider in the trucking industry?
How important is ongoing customer support and the relationship with your service provider?

Additional Distinguishing Factors:
PERFORMANCE AND FLEXIBILITY
USER FRIENDLY HARDWARE
PRODUCT RELIABILITY AND LONGEVITY
POWER AND APPLICATIONS
CUSTOMER SUPPORT ON THE SECONDARY MARKET
WILLINGNESS TO WORK FOR CUSTOMER'S BEST INTEREST

Once again, I would like to state the sole purpose of Pivot Technology Resources: to take the risk out of investing in quality used mobile communications and asset tracking equipment.

Pivot Technology Resources is the premier source to find new and used mobile communications and asset tracking equipment. Call today to see how they can help your company with your equipment needs at 800 679 0177 or email at info@pivottr.com, look up the web site at www.pivotresources.com

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Used Qualcomm, Used PeopleNet - We Buy, We Selll, We Recycle!

      There has never been a better time to invest in quality used equipment on the secondary market! Over the past 12 months, Pivot Technology Resources has expanded its operations, tripled sales and support team, and added valuable new processes to make buying used mobile communications equipment easier and more worry-free than ever. In fact, we are consistently moving more product than we can find.

      WE BUY!

Gearing up for a new year, it is a great time in the trucking industry to sell an overstock of unwanted equipment, while there is still a need in the marketplace. Take a look at some of the higher-demand equipment that still holds some value:

 - Used PeopleNet BLU2 Equipment
 - Used PeopleNet PD4 Equipment
 - Used Qualcomm/OmniTRACS MCP50 Equipment
 - Used Qualcomm/OmniTRACS MCP100 Equipment
 - Used Qualcomm/OmniTRACS MCP110 Equipment
 - Used Qualcomm/OmniTRACS MCP200 Equipment
 - Used Qualcomm/OmniTRACS Trailer Tracking Equipment


      WE SELL!

On average, Pivot Technology Resources can save you around 50% or more on quality used equipment that comes tested, cleaned, packaged, and with a new, in-house warranty! Think of the savings on equipment of what new versus quality used would cost over a single year! Here, you can invest in the best equipment on the market for half the price or less:

 - Used PeopleNet BLU2 Equipment
 - Used PeopleNet PD4 Equipment
 - Used Qualcomm/OmniTRACS MCP50 Equipment
 - Used Qualcomm/OmniTRACS MCP100 Equipment
 - Used Qualcomm/OmniTRACS MCP110 Equipment
 - Used Qualcomm/OmniTRACS MCP200 Equipment

      WE RECYCLE!

The equipment below represent the majority of components being recycled over the past 12 months. By helping fleets dispose of unwanted equipment properly, the process has become a core business operation for Pivot. Here are some of the products that are being phased out that are worth minimal value:

 - Used PeopleNet Driver Terminal Equipment
 - Used Qualcomm OmniTRACS Equipment
 - Used Xata MobileMax Equipment
 - Used DriverTech Equipment
 - Used SkyBitz Equipment

No matter what needs a fleet may have in the marketplace, Pivot Technology Resources has it covered. Become a preferred resource or customer and see how the value of Pivot Technology Resources has increased in the marketplace over the past 12 months!

Pivot Technology Resources is the premier source to find new and used mobile communications and asset tracking equipment. Call today to see how they can help your company with your equipment needs at 800 679 0177 or email at info@pivottr.com and look up the web site at www.pivotresources.com

     

Monday, January 6, 2014

QUALCOMM MCP50, PEOPLENET BLU2, QUALCOMM MCP200, RAND MCNALLY TND760...WHICH TO CHOOSE?

WITH SO MANY PRODUCTS ON THE MARKET IN 2014, WHAT SYSTEM SHOULD A COMPANY CHOOSE?


When Pivot Technology Resources first started back in 2008, the main product options on the secondary market were basically the Qualcomm OmniTRACS, GeoLogic MobileMAX2, and the PeopleNet G3 systems. My, how things have changed over the last few years. Some quality products have actually come and gone within this minimal time span, with many early adopters paying the price. With our extensive database of contacts, we have seen hundreds, even thousands of trucks installed with products that ultimately didn't fit with the needs of the company. The decision to move to the newer equipment just to get out of the same old system was a bit hasty. The industry needed newer features and benefits that were never available and always seemed to be "on the roadmap". Finally, manufacturers came to the market with all of the requests that they gathered over the years and came up with a handful of "innovative" systems. A few of these systems include the Qualcomm MCP100 (Satellite and Terrestrial) and the PeopleNet BLU units. These systems, although a perfect fit for certain fleets, were under powered, full of bugs, and not what the masses could adopt for a long term mobile communications solution. Shrugging off older empty promises of amazing new benefits and a fruitful return, transportation companies scrambled for alternative solutions that actually performed well, added more value to the life of the driver, had rich features and many flexible options of which to take advantage. Companies spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on retrofitting their vehicles so that the correct systems were being utilized. So, the influx of the newer generation of equipment onto the secondary market begun...and the availability of the underpowered, greatest systems ever were prevalent.

Over the past two years, the secondary market was very integrated into these systems and continue to move them on a monthly level to fleets large and small. These systems are still a great fit for companies that may simply want electronic on-board logs (EOBR) and compliant with newer regulations. However, running multiple applications would tend to bog them down and cause some problems. So, limiting the activity of multiple applications and focusing only on the applications a company really uses can result in huge savings for a company investing in these products.

Just recently, the newest products have become available simply from the basic growing pains of the transportation industry. Fleets buying other fleets, fleets closing their doors, fleets unhappy with their service provider...regardless the reason, the equipment is available. The Qualcomm MCP110, Qualcomm MCP200, and even the Qualcomm MCP50 have been flying through the doors of Pivot Technology Resources over the past few months and customers are severely surprised! Some equipment even has the factory warranty and come new in the box! The PeopleNet BLU, PeopleNet BLU.2 (507 and 307 series), and even PeopleNet Rugged PC Tablets have been available as customers transition to the new PeopleNet BLU2 PD4. 

Any of these products, although not rigorously pitched by their manufacturers much any more, could be a great fit if you ask the correct questions and relate the answers to your specific operations. Do you want to scan, print, or add extra plug and play devices? Do you need navigation? What mapping is required? Is integration to your back office software important? Ask the questions that ultimately lead your operations to correct path. For answers to many of these questions, contact Pivot Technology Resources at www.pivotresources.com - 800 679 0177 or info@pivottr.com.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Trucking Technology - Newer Hours of Service EOBR Equipment Already on the Secondary Market

The FMCSA ruling on Hours of Service has many trucking companies ready to take the next step and upgrade their fleets to the newest EOBRs. The last twenty-five plus years have had innovative companies relying on their legacy products as a virtual handcuff to outdated equipment. In the past two years, Pivot Technology Resources has found that everything is changing. New, feature-rich mobile communications systems have hit the trucking industry with more choices in manufacturers and service providers, increased flexibility in the performance of the equipment, and lower operating costs than ever before. Some of this equipment has already found it's way onto the secondary market. In order to make the correct choices, Pivot Technology Resources has put together a few ways a company can save a lot of headaches when looking for the right equipment when taking next steps upgrading to EOBRs. Here are five essential tips that can make buying equipment on the secondary market a great investment:

TOP 5 TIPS FOR BUYING USED MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT

Here are five essential tips that can make buying equipment on the secondary market a great investment:
QUALCOMM OMNITRACS ACU 2008 CP
1. Make sure what you are looking for is actually what is available from the seller.

Do not proceed with any sale unless you see the equipment up close or in photos and can verify that the equipment is exactly what you are looking for. Check model numbers on every component and cable, firmware version, and even serial numbers. All of this information will save a huge headache later on when it comes time to hook up, install, and activate the unit with the service provider. There have been many times where a seller on eBay has listed a used Qualcomm OmniTRACS system and it was actually a used Qualcomm OmniExpress unit. There were many issues with this. These are two very different systems in the way they look, the way they gather and transmit information, and cost on a monthly basis. And if a buyer goes online and buys what they perceive is a required OmniTRACS unit and unknowingly gets the wrong equipment, there could be problems getting everything returned and money refunded. If a seller doesn’t know the difference in equipment, they probably shouldn’t be selling it. Which brings up the next point…

2. Research the seller to ensure you are dealing with a reputable source.

Sometimes it may seem that there is so much equipment available on the secondary market that a buyer could have many possibilities to get a great deal on quality used mobile communications equipment. Invest a little time in reading reviews and ensuring there are good references from the seller to whom you wish to purchase the equipment. Are they in the transportation industry and have extensive knowledge of mobile communications equipment? Do they know the process involved with the specific service providers getting the equipment transferred as well as all of the extra costs associated? Do not take for granted that the sellers are professionals in this industry. Many know just enough to get the equipment sold. So the next point is very important.

3. Understand the monetary value of the equipment, new and used.

To start, know what a new system costs from the manufacturer. New mobile communications systems can range anywhere from $500 to over $2500. In the last couple of years, a used PeopleNet OBC would cost $300-$450 just to transfer the DSN into a user’s account if purchased on the secondary market. Think about the investment needed just in transfer fees if a trucking company wanted to outfit a fleet of 50 trucks? The cost up front coupled with the cost on the back end may end up being more than the cost of new! If a buyer didn’t know about the fees, what a particular system costs new from the manufacturer, and service contract, they could be in for a lot of surprises. Note that recently the PeopleNet OTAP transfer fees and policies have changed, and the cost to get a unit and the critical information that goes with it transferred over into another account is a $100 bill. A rule of thumb to follow, if you can save around 50-70% on a system after all fees, it should be a great value. Unless the next point gets in the way…

4. Research the terminology and understand the capabilities of the equipment.

With this point, don’t be afraid to allow the professionals to help. The trucking industry is in a state of change. The FMCSA’s new Hours of Service guidelines and mandated Electronic on-Board Recorders (EOBR) have forced the integration of new features on mobile communications systems today. This is of great benefit for the way trucking companies do business. With features like eLogs, Navigation, Text-to-Speech functionality, internet surfing capabilities, and even video playback from large files sent over the air, the power and flexibility of today’s technologies have a drastic improvement from equipment of the past. Unfortunately, this can drop the value of even some newer systems because the functionality of these do not meet today’s newer requirements. For instance, the robust computing power and sleek slideout keyboard on a Qualcomm MCP110 unit is very attractive for a system just a couple of years old already popping up on the secondary market. But along comes new systems like the all-in-one Rand McNally TND760 that is so much less expensive with the same features that it may not make financial sense to invest in new Qualcomm MCP110′s…unless you can get them used MCP110 with a warranty from a very reputable, very knowledgeable place like Pivot Technology Resources. So, knowing what specific system fits the particular needs of a fleet is the single most important factor when making the decision to invest in mobile communications, new or used. And yet again, leading to the next point…

5. Have a stable return policy that is agreed upon in writing before the sale is executed.

Before agreeing to exchange any money, make sure you have answers to a lot of the questions you will have after the sale. What if the equipment isn’t what was promised, doesn’t work, or have problems with getting it activated? Check with the manufacturer and ensure that the serial number is a valid working number, without restrictions and can be activated. Many different types of components may look great in a photo or an advertisement with a guarantee that the products are in working condition. “Working condition” may simply mean that when everything is hooked up, everything seems to turn on. The trouble starts when the unit cannot be activated because of quite a few different reasons.

The unit could still be active in another company’s account. Sometimes when a company sells a truck they forget to remove the mobile communications system. They may not even know the equipment is gone. But just because they don’t have possession, doesn’t mean it still isn’t their property. Even though you paid someone else for it, the company that owns this may still want this equipment back when they find out it is trying to be activated…and you have it! Or, maybe the unit has been BLACKLISTED, or unable to be activated because at some point in time it was lost during shipping, has been stolen, or the company even defaulted on paying the service provider for months! When a company can’t pay the monthly account balance and the fees pile up, the service provider can shut the units down until they receive payment. Then they place the unit numbers in an account that suspends the activation process until the balance is paid. So some equipment out there may have some hefty fees still associated with them.

Sometimes the equipment was delivered to the wrong address or lost in shipping transit – There are many companies online that actually sell things that have been lost or misplaced by FedEx, UPS, DHL, or any other shipping service. When a box does not arrive at a facility and they can’t locate it, it becomes an insurance claim and the unit is now not able to be activated because the company has already been paid for the value of the insurance claim to buy a replacement. For instance, when looking at used Qualcomm MCP200 system on eBay, it may seem like a great deal when you can save a thousand dollars on brand new $2400 set of equipment that has never been installed. But the seller may not even know the equipment is considered “lost” and on the Blacklist, rendering it not worth the money invested. That can be an expensive lesson learned. Pivot Technology Resources has actually purchased equipment that was “lost in transit” from one of these wholesalers. We purchased this equipment a full year after that exact shipment was originally lost in transit on the way to our own facility! Everything was legal, but we ended up paying even more for the equipment just to have it turn out to be useless because it was claimed on a shipping insurance claim. That was a lesson learned the hard way!

We hope the information is helpful for anyone looking for insight to anything regarding investing in used mobile communications on the secondary market. For more information on products or services offered by Pivot Technology Resources please call a representative at 800 679 0177. Don't hesitate to go to the web site and check out the updated equipment at www.pivotresources.com and visit us on Facebook to see specials on equipment and new information at  ...Like us and find more information than ever before.

   

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fleets still see savings investing in used Qualcomm, used PeopleNet, used Xata systems.


It has been a very busy year in the trucking industry with many decisions finally being made about hours of service, EOBRs, and the value they bring to the industry and individual trucking companies. The added applications and functionality of the latest technology can not only greatly affect a trucking company’s bottom line but completely change the way it operates as well. With features like text-to-speech, navigation and route optimization, video playback functionality, access to Wi-Fi and internet, and automated logs, a trucking company can see drastic changes in not only the back office operational side but a direct impact of these features with a monetary value added to them. 

Take a look at what an average company may uncover as benefits by upgrading to a newer mobile communications technology:

·         Fewer out –of–route miles.
o   Text-to-speech functionality can actually save the driver time from pulling over to read an urgent message. By simply pressing a remote device on the dashboard of the truck, a driver can listen to the message without taking the focus off of the road. It is then possible to act upon that message with any urgency needed.
o   Navigation and route optimization can drastically reduce the miles being lost by taking a wrong exit, or even misjudging the correct road to take to a destination. Although this information is standard in most of the technology coming out right now at no extra charge, some companies see this as a value-added application and may charge a monthly fee for use.
·         Better quality of life for drivers
o   Less paperwork and data entry ensures that drivers can concentrate on managing minimal responsibilities easier and automating much of the information needed by dispatch. This greatly reduces errors, phone time, and even turnover.
o   Internet and email availability enables drivers to have information when they need it and not rely on ancillary devices and added costs.
o   Safety videos and executive level information can now be streamed or uploaded to the masses over newer on board communication devices. This can save time organizing group meetings with drivers and administrative personnel.
·         Reliability of newer technology
o   When an older system breaks down, it can be very frustrating. When a driver is relying on information and processes that are taken away, it can be blinding. Trying to fix older equipment that is teetering on the end of shelf life can be counterproductive and time costly. Newer equipment will have a higher success rate of operational ability as well as efficiencies in cosmetics and overall product design.

With constant changing FMCSA rulings, the inevitable mandates on Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBR) seem to be likely enforced in the next two years.  With the addition of this added functionality and value of innovative mobile communications equipment in the market, there is an influx of used mobile communications equipment with a diminishing shelf life coming out of trucks.  The window for this equipment becoming obsolete is growing shorter proving legacy models to be defunct. This is good news for manufacturers and service providers of these new systems, as upgrading is definitely in the near future. For instance, the happy customers that have used Qualcomm OmniTRACS for the past ten plus years now will be forced to grasp on to the new technology and outlay capital for another system, as compatibility of the preceding wiring harnesses, separate  components, and even some mounts will not match up. PeopleNet customers however, actually have a backwards compatible OBC that can function with newer add-on components such as the BLU2 or Tablet displays. These may require different wiring harnesses and cable assemblies, but the added cost of the main component is not required unless investing in PeopleNet as a new customer.

The upgrading of fleets to newer technologies has flooded the secondary market with used equipment. For example, the supply of used OmniTRACS alone added from just a few of the top trucking companies in North America has created a saturation of tens of thousands of used Qualcomm systems into the market. This absolutely does not mean every system is operational and worthy of use by another company, however, this does diminish the value of used equipment greatly on the open market with so much equipment available. In fact, after quality control testing procedures have been performed involving large batches of used equipment, results have seen over a 65% failure rate (in some cases, even 100%). Unless a policy is in place to ensure success in purchasing used equipment, there is risk involved on the open market.

Fleets are still using equipment that was considered innovative ten to fifteen years ago. The three-piece OmniTRACS MCT equipment is so outdated with such a minimal amount of users, it holds no value in resale on the secondary market with virtually no demand. With so many units out there (most of which are non-functional), a recycling effort has begun to relieve a company of this equipment to ensure proper disposal. For more information on Pivot Technology Resources Equipment Recycling Program, please go to  http://www.pivotresources.com/services-recycling/ .
   
A fleet can still find much value in the secondary market before deciding to upgrade. Over the next two to five years, companies that are looking to get into used mobile communications systems have much to consider. Some questions when investing in any used Qualcomm OmniTRACS, Xata MobileMAX equipment, or even any used PeopleNet equipment, are listed below:

1.       Can the equipment fill a need at a cost equal to the specific reasons necessary?  
a.       Why pay full manufacturer’s pricing for new equipment to use for six months until an upgrade is decided upon? (a band-aid fix)
b.      Is there recourse if the used equipment is not functioning properly?
2.       Is there a warranty on the equipment to ensure satisfaction of performance and cosmetics?
a.       Is there a return process defined and accepted if the equipment does not perform or meet expectations?
3.       Does the equipment belong to any fleet that has not authorized the transfer?
a.       In many cases, eBay, Craigslist, and other advertisements will (unknowingly and knowingly) list equipment that has been blacklisted from the service provider as the equipment may have been lost in transit and claimed on insurance, stolen, or even shut off because of unpaid monthly services. Purchasing this type of equipment is leaving a company with junk.

As a breakdown, finding success investing in used equipment is simply reducing the risk involved. By defining warranty terms, the expectations of the equipment, and support policies and procedures, the secondary market can be a very substantial resource for saving money on quality used equipment.


Pivot Technology Resources was founded four years ago with the sole purpose of eliminating the risk of investing in used mobile communications and asset tracking equipment in the trucking industry. For more information on Pivot Technology Resources, please visit www.pivotresources.com or call 800 679 0177 and speak with a representative.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The truth about used Qualcomm and PeopleNet equipment.

In an article published in the May 23, 2011 issue of Transport Topics, the staff reporter (Dan Leone) was given a task of informing the general trucking community about the secondary market of mobile communications and asset tracking equipment. The headline, "Fleets Upgrading Communications Systems Create Secondary Market for Bargain Hunters", creates a positive scenario for a fleet saving money by investing in used equipment. However, upon reading further, the article is actually contradictory to what is expected (especially from the information gathered in the interview). 


Weeks prior to the article being published, Dan presented me with the idea that I may give insight to information about used Qualcomm, PeopleNet, GeoLogic, SkyBitz, and any other system that may have a demand out on the used market. In his research, Pivot Technology Resources seemed to know a lot about this market. As the owner of a very small company competing with very influential and powerful corporations like Qualcomm and PeopleNet, I was very excited and cautious of my verbiage, phrases, information, and any biased feelings I had for any of the service providers and manufacturers. I felt that there would be a political aspect involved, being that Qualcomm and PeopleNet invest large amounts of money in both advertising and sponsorship of events for Transport Topics, but didn't think that a company that has so much value to a trucking company like Pivot Technology Resources (especially in today's economy) could be discounted as a resource on the front page of Transport Topics.


The point of this blog is to provide information that was left out, or skewed in the publication and to inform potential investors to the risks and benefits of investing in equipment on the secondary market. Let's dispel these myths and bring truth to the forefront so that companies can make better decisions about whether investing in used equipment is a good move for their fleets.


MYTH -
After transfer fees, programming fees, activation fees, and variable costs associated with acquiring a used piece of equipment, the cost is too close to new. There is not much of a cost-savings buying used.


TRUTH -
Every manufacturer of mobile communications and asset tracking equipment is different in their transfer processes and procedures. For instance, PeopleNet has imposed a $350 transfer fee imposed on the buyer of any used OBC. The only explanation I could get from Garland Jackson, Vice President of PeopleNet, was "this is the price that we have come up with to account for the costs associated with the transfer of a used PeopleNet OBC." This fee doesn't give you any kind of warranty either. If you would like a new warranty for a used OBC, they will gladly have you send in the unit to their support team to test and reconfigure, and offer you a new one year warranty. This will only cost you $470 per unit. This is by far the most extreme cost for any transfer fee in the history of used equipment by any mobile communications service provider in the market. In my professional opinion, this is surely to persuade a company to buy new equipment, thus adding new units to their sales numbers. 


As a past Qualcomm salesperson myself, I had used this method many times to win sales against the competition of private fleets trying to sell their used Qualcomm equipment. This was back in the days when Qualcomm had a $250 transfer fee on any used OmniTRACS system. Now, from my experience on the used equipment market, they simply impose a $25 fee to the seller and a $25 fee to the buyer. This angle makes much more sense to me as they still see a great percentage of these used systems pop back into another current customer's account with very little trouble and a very high success rate. They also see the benefits in the recurring monthly revenue associated with these systems.  


This brings us back to the question of cost-savings: Is it really beneficial to a company to invest in a used PeopleNet system? Quite frankly, if seeing an average of 50% savings on used components and wiring, and an average of 40% savings on a complete used system (after accounting for all imposed fees) is beneficial, the myth will be dispelled. Note that the equipment coming from Pivot Technology Resources would be considered of high quality, tested and cleaned, and supported with a new warranty...which brings me to our next myth...


MYTH
All used equipment in the market is junk. There are too many problems associated with buying used. Buying new is the only option.


TRUTH
There are many horror stories of companies buying equipment from eBay or at auctions. They get the equipment and find out that it was once stolen, currently dead, broken, non-transferable, dirty, of low quality, or not even the type of component that was promised. Even buying from a private fleet may get you a good deal, but when you have a failure rate as high as 80 percent, how good is the deal then? You may have actually ended up severely overpaying and then adding labor costs to test, repair, and clean to a usable status on the back end. So the deal you though may have given you an 80 percent savings, has now swayed to just 10 percent. This scenario would deem going directly to the manufacturer and getting a refurbished unit with a warranty a good idea.


In the past, there has not been any centralized consolidated pool of equipment that has been conditioned to meet the expectations of a company that is looking to have the risk taken out of investing in the equipment from the secondary market. There has always been a factor being sacrificed in the equation. Here are the main factors involved:

  1. Availability - Can the equipment needed be found quickly with minimal time and energy searching?
  2. Activation - Can the equipment be transferred and re-activated with knowledge of the processes?
  3. Condition - Can the equipment be in a clean, working state, free of cosmetic defects? 
  4. Reliability - Can the equipment be held accountable for performance and longevity?
  5. Support - Is there someone to answer for any issues or problems regarding the equipment after the initial sale?
The elimination of risk is essential when investing in equipment represented on the secondary market. Some used equipment is junk. I have personally obtained shipments with 100 percent failure rate just based on cosmetics alone. With that said, I have seen equipment that was "still new in the box" that is considered junk because the cost to upgrade was now more than the cost to sell. But without the correct knowledge of the software, firmware, revisions in model types, compatibility of components, and other factors, a potential buyer can be misled into believing everything is perfect simply because it looks new in the original box. 

MYTH -
There is really not much of a secondary market, as the service providers only reactivate a small number of secondhand units each year.

TRUTH - 
In the May 23, 2011 article of Transport Topics the COO, Brian McLaughlin, stated in terms of reactivations for 2010; "we had less than 100 across the entire [PeopleNet] network. There just isn’t a large aftermarket pool of PeopleNet units out there.Spread out over the year 2010, Pivot Technology Resources actually reactivated 128 PeopleNet units alone, and this number doubled in 2011 to 255. These went out to accounts ranging from a single OBC to fifty complete sets. Take into consideration that this is not accounting for any other transfers from private sales between fleets either. Of course, "a small amount" is subjective to interpretation to what "small" really represents. Also factor in the estimated hundreds of units that were purchased back by PeopleNet during the shortages of OBCs. On separate occasions in 2010 and 2011, customers would have to wait up to five weeks before delivery of new OBCs on account of lacking inventory. 

PeopleNet is doing a great job controlling their units in the secondary market with extreme transfer fees, instilling fear in customers' eyes by owning used PeopleNet equipment without having the assurance of a factory warranty, and the overall lack of support when dealing with a customer supporting and investing in equipment from the secondary market. In fact, this victimizes everyone involved but PeopleNet. Take a look at a scenario: 
  1. In January of 2009, a company invests in new PeopleNet equipment to outfit their fleet.
  2. In October of 2011, the company cannot make it, closes their doors, and must sell the assets. The seller has newer, quality equipment that is less than three years old, has all components, and everything was functional and in good shape when de-installed. 
  3. In December of 2011, the company finds a buyer for the equipment after much time spent placing ads and trying to act like a PeopleNet salesperson.
  4. The buyers contact PeopleNet and find out that there is a $350 transfer fee associated with buying a system from a private seller and decide to back out because the seller would still like to get some of the original investment back for this quality equipment. Immediately, the equipment no longer holds as much value to anyone in need or the seller. 
  5. The seller ends up dropping his price to the ground. The buyers end up paying for the equipment and the transfer fee to save money by going with the used equipment.
Who is the big winner in this scenario? If you guessed PeopleNet you would be right! They essentially get another $350 in revenue for a unit that was sold two years prior without any added sales expenses, and still adds to the monthly revenue stream. Upon mere delivery of the equipment, the value drops to almost the sum of its parts on the secondary market. There are so many situations like above where a company needs to be able to sell their equipment:

  1. What happens when too much equipment is ordered? Do they buy the equipment back?
  2. When a company downsizes their fleet, what happens to the equipment taken out?
No manufacturer will buy their equipment back at full price and the company that purchased the equipment will pay the monthly fees for equipment on the shelf just as they would if the equipment is in use. If these are still under contract, why not provide relief in the form of an option to sell to another user without fees?

From my experiences with other manufacturers such as Qualcomm, GeoLogic, and even SkyBitz, there has been very little push back in regards to moving units around on the secondary market. The transfer process, ease of communications, willingness to provide support, and the minimal fees associated are virtually a non-issue to most customers. I feel there is a responsibility that these companies adhere to for their customers whether it effects new sales or not. They are not only providers of equipment, they are service and support providers as well.

In closing, many of my questions a potential consumer in the mobile communications and asset tracking market should be brought up on the front end as well as the back end in potential re-seller aspects, much like the initial decision on who they should go with as a provider of services: 
  1. How reliable is the equipment? What is your current failure rate?
  2. What is the average working shelf life of your equipment new? In other words, how long should the equipment last from date of purchase?
  3. How does your customer support handle issues with failures? 
Pivot Technology Resources represents the exact equipment the front end of the sale from any manufacturer or service provider will lead you to believe; the investment in our products is a good one. To learn more about Pivot Technology Resources, visit www.pivotresources.com or call 800 679 0177.