Edition 83
RLA Memberís Corner
by , Reverse Logistic Association

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Discussion with Paul Baum, CEO

PlanITROI has been in business since 2001. Our core purpose is to change lives with portable technology. We help our partners uncover and recover the highest possible value toward their technology assets. The premise for our business is to help organizations from their first return. Meaning in RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization) that they may get from a consumer or retailer, all the way through to processing that asset into a refurbished condition to be sold to the next user. So from end-to-end first user to the next user. And then we support that next user with customer service of a finely tuned refurbished product and then also help them with end of life of that product. So a full circle of recycling or refurbishing that product again.

How did PlanITROI find RLA?
Back in 2008, I was fortunate to meet Gailen. Our company was getting emails from RLA, and the association at that time didnít have a lot of ITAD members. I picked up the phone and called and got connected to Gailen right away. We had such a great conversation. He was extremely helpful. It was also around the time RLA was having their show, so I went to the show, and I believe that was the only show we didnít exhibit at. But Gailen took me under his wing when I met him and I really appreciate that. He was very, very helpful. He introduced me to a lot of folks. The first person that he actually introduced me to was Tony Sciarrotta. I learned a lot about the reverse logistics business by way of introductions to people like Tony. I would consider Tony and Gailen as mentors. They mentored me, they really answered most of the question that I had surrounding Reverse Logistics.

Why does PlanITROI continue their RLA Membership?
Weíve been a member since 2009. Iíve never wavered from my membership, even as it transferred hands from Gailen to Tony as Executive Director. I found a ton of benefit being involved in the association. Frankly, itís the best way to learn. Iím a lifelong learner, so for me itís extremely important.

What do you find is the most beneficial part of the RLA membership:
The most important part of the RLA membership, or most beneficial part for both PlanITROI and myself, is the education and also the networking. Itís great to network, but if youíre networking for the sake of networking without education, youíre really not making connections. So whatís great about the RLA is they give you several opportunities throughout the year to make those types of connections. Obviously, they have their annual conference, but if you join a committee like I joined the Consumer Products Committee (previously called Consumer Electronics Committee), and participate, thatís where youíre going to get the most bang for your buck. And I felt like itís really helped me learn more about the business and get connected to the people that I was trying to network with.

Why do you continue to attend and exhibit and/or sponsor at the RLA conferences?
My feeling is, I feel an obligation to the association. Not in a bad way, but a good way Ė to exhibit, to sponsor, and to be a part of the community. If Iím going to put my advertising and marketing dollars towards something, I canít see a better avenue for doing that. Every year that weíve been a member, weíve exhibited and been some kind of sponsor. So Iím grateful for the opportunity to put my dollars to work within RLA, because itís paid back huge benefits.

What is it within the Reverse Logistics Association that you find the most beneficial?
The one event that I find most beneficial is not really the large conference. I find that to be a great opportunity to connect with people. But I travel 30 weeks a year, and see everyone anyways. What I find to be really beneficial, is the Consumer Products committee meetings. And now that it has restarted again, Iím really excited about that. It gives us the opportunity to learn, and to communicate with our peers, and share beneficial information.

Tell us about any big opportunities that was found through RLA that PlanITROI has benefited and grown from:
The one opportunity that our company has benefited from Ė there are many Ė but we have one very strong relationship thatís public with Acer. I met Joyce Cruts through RLA. Itís been the best relationship that weíve ever had on the RL side, because Iíve learned a lot from Joyce. Sheís been a great partner to have. Iím grateful for the introduction I got from the RLA to meet her. I believe it was Gailen who introduced me to her.

Last words.
I know this is not supposed to be a huge endorsement. If thereís anyone thatís considering whether they should join the RLA or not, this is a testimonial that you should, because weíve grown our business, our relationships, and our education through the RLA.
Paul Baum, CEO

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