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Nationwide, ITAD provider EPC processes over 100,000 units per month, with the new facility adding 5-10% of that to start. | MMilda/Shutterstock

ITAD provider EPC is opening a facility near its corporate headquarters to help companies leverage refurbished electronics, an increasingly important trend as the pandemic roils supply chains.

The new 47,000-square-foot Technology and Redeployment Center is in St. Peters, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis, and just a few miles from EPC’s corporate headquarters. EPC is a wholly owned subsidiary of CSI Leasing.

Pat Laughlin, president and CEO of EPC, told E-Scrap News the main focus of the building will be “working with our customers on their needs when it comes to redeployment and reuse of their equipment.”

“We’ve seen over the pandemic, over the last year and a half, customers are having a difficult time acquiring new products, new equipment,” he said. “One of the things that came up over the last six months or so is the need for our corporate customers to reuse their existing equipment.”

Driven by customer needs and the potential for new customers, EPC decided to open the facility to “take in that equipment, clean it, sanitize it, store it on their behalf and then they can reuse it when needed.”

EPC isn’t the only ITAD company moving to provide IT sanitizing, storage and redeployment services as demand for those services grows. Sims Lifecycle Services recently opened redeployment centers focused on data center electronics in Atlanta; La Vergne, Tenn., and Chicago.

Laughlin said EPC’s new facility will handle between 5,000 and 10,000 items a month to start. Nationwide, EPC currently processes about 100,000 items a month.

The building’s opening will bring EPC’s total count of wholly owned facilities to 18, and Laughlin said they are looking to expand further.

The Missouri facility is on track to go live by the end of first quarter 2022, though Laughlin said contractor and material shortages have caused some delays. He said the cost of the new facility is a moving target and fluctuates all the time, so he did not give a figure.

Staffing challenges persist

EPC would like to add second shifts at all its facilities to increase processing volumes, but Laughlin said staffing shortages have been a challenge to that growth. Electronics processors from around North America have also reported experiencing challenging labor markets.

EPC plans to hire more than 60 staff, including up to 48 technicians, for the St. Peters facility. However, Laughlin said the labor shortages have “been a big challenge with us at all facilities.”

“We aren’t getting enough employees hired on to run fully,” he said.

EPC has looked into going to robotics to ease the workforce pinch, but Laughlin said “we can’t justify the cost yet.”

In addition, Laughlin said the company also likes being a big contributor to local work forces.

“Where we are in St. Charles County and St. Louis, here locally we have close to 200 employees in the area,” he said. “It’s nice being able to provide jobs to that many people.”

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