The Right to Repair

We are at a complex time in technological history where on one hand we need the newest, up-to-date equipment to remain relevant within our industry, but at the same time we are aware of our environmental impact through continual upgrades of devices.

Businesses need to be cutting edge but at the same time they are often aiming towards sustainability. Although this may seem like a delicate balancing act the ‘Right to Repair’ movement brings these two approaches closer into alignment.

What is Right to Repair?

Essentially the Right to Repair movement is the advocation of legislation which enables both businesses and individuals the right to repair their electronic items. This is primarily led by concern over the amount of electronic waste each year which amounts to 23.9kg per capita per year in the UK alone. Norway is the only country which produces more.

In July 2021, the UK introduced the Right to Repair legislation which ensures that manufacturers no longer build obsolescence into their equipment but also produce parts which makes repairs possible.

For a long time, manufacturers have either created built-in obsolescence or ensured repairs can only be carried out by them, meaning they can set the prices. However, the Right to Repair legislation means the owner can themselves repair the device or engage a third party to do it for them.

Unfortunately, not all equipment is included in the UK legislation with smartphones and laptops slipping through the net, meaning mega-brands like Apple don’t have to comply for the majority of their devices.

Benefits of the Right to Repair

The main selling point of the throw away culture we have all become accustomed to is the convenience of upgrading every year, without the inconvenience of repairs and maintenance but as mind sets change, the benefits of the Right to Repair become clear. These can include:

  • Cost Savings – The Right to Repair enables businesses to reduce their IT Equipment spend, by simply repairing faulty devices therefore extending the lifespan of valuable and potentially expensive assets by as much as ten years.
  • Sustainability – Repairing and extending the lifespan of hardware within the business will reduce the amount of E-waste produced and is one step closer to sustainability.
  • Increased Efficiency – Repairing devices can be a much quicker option than waiting for replacements. This means there will be less downtime, and improved productivity

Embracing the Right to Repair

If, within your business you have never really considered the benefits of repairing rather than replacing you may wonder how you can get started. There may be challenges with legacy devices which aren’t set up for repairs but  going forward there are things to consider in order to prepare your business.

  • Choosing Repairable Devices – When replacing any aspect of your inventory choose those which can be repaired, those with accessible spare parts, repair documentation or even modular designs.
  • In-House Training – Identifying who will be responsible for the repairs is key and this could involve training your inhouse IT team to repair the equipment they use or sourcing an external company who can diagnose and fix common issues, allowing for faster turnaround times and reduced downtime.
  • Documentation and Knowledge Sharing – Introduce a process which encourages your team to record any repairs processes, troubleshooting steps, and maintenance procedures to speed up future maintenance, as well as enabling other members of the team to carry out some minor repairs.
  • Extended Warranties and Service Contracts – Always check the warranties and service contracts with any new equipment and prioritise those with extended options, as this can ensure the longevity of the equipment but at a reduced cost.

By embracing the Right to Repair, UK businesses have the opportunity to become more sustainable, save money, and improve operational efficiency when it comes to their IT equipment. However, there is still a long way to go before the legislation is fully integrated and effective, but small steps will still help the progression towards sustainability.

The movement empowers businesses to take control of repairs, minimize electronic waste, and foster a culture of sustainability. If you would like advice on extending the life-span of your IT equipment speak with the team at SupportWise today and start your journey to sustainability.

What’s Next?

If you would like an assessment of your IT systems to see how secure they actually are, or are long to upgrade your devices, why not contact Supportwise today?

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