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If a computer model exists, he'll find it

CDI's purchasing manager searches high and low to find the right units for school districts

Fred Hastings oversees CDI 's $8 million inventory of recertified computers, but his duties don't stop at the warehouse door. If a school district wants a specific model that's not on hand, he'll send workers out and track the units down.

"We used to just stock stuff and if we didn't have it we'd say, 'Oh, I'm sorry, we don't have it'," said Hastings, purchasing manager for the Toronto-based company. "Now we try to help a customer out. We try to find the same units they're already using so they don't have to spend thousands of dollars on IT time bringing in a new product."


How dedicated is Hasting's staff? They once spent weeks hunting down 1,800 units of a certain Dell model that a large customer had requested as its standard computer.

"It took us awhile, but we got it together," Hastings said.

Sometimes the best fit for a company isn't a computer they have set their sights on, but a different model that might have more horsepower and an affordable price. Hastings works with sales and logistics folks at CDI to make sure the customer gets the best value for their buck. It doesn't hurt that he has 30,000 computer units in warehouses to help make the right selection.

Hastings said the supply of secondhand equipment has gotten better as first-time purchasers have become better at recycling and more invested in environmental sustainability. Once his team gets its hands on units, it turns them over to CDI's production staff, which puts them through the rigorous 12-step recertification process.

"We have to get it in, tested and get it out," he said. A two-decade veteran of the computer industry, Hastings has been a CDI employee for almost four years. He joined up for the chance to help students and because CDI had a good reputation as a place to work.

"It's like a big family," he said. "People who work here don't leave. There's very low turnover."

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