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Less money, better service and more computers for kids

CDI provides hassle-free performance and service for a Missouri district

Misty Freeman's district in Farmington, Mo., began purchasing refurbished computers from CDI six months before she was named technology director. She remembered feeling some trepidation about that decision.

"What are we going to do, buy all these used computers and have to work on them all the time?" she recalled thinking. She also wondered if the units themselves would look worn and scratched.

Wrong on both counts. Almost three years later, Farmington R-7 School District has purchased 300 to 400 re-certified units from CDI?and Freeman couldn't be more pleased.

"I was very, very happy with the performance of the computers when they arrived and with the service CDI provided," Freeman said. "They're really one of the best companies that I've dealt with."


Freeman's school system had previously bought all new Dells, but costs were getting in the way of district technology goals. Now two or more computers can be purchased for the price of one brand new unit.

"I see no difference in failure rate compared to buying it new," she said. "They look brand new. Our teachers genuinely feel like they're brand new."

One thing Freeman is happiest about is the level of service she gets from CDI, which she insists is better than that from original manufacturers. CDI responds swiftly to requests for help, often with no questions asked, she said.

She deals with a single sales representative who also serves as a troubleshooter for any problems. The rep always ends his calls with, "If you have any problems, let me know," and Freeman said she's learned those aren't just words.

"I see no difference in failure rate compared to buying it new. They look brand new. Our teachers genuinely feel like they're brand new."

"I can just pick the phone up and dial directly to him and he takes care of it, which is really nice because you don't always get that," she said.

CDI caters to the education market, so it understands the needs of school technology coordinators. The company mainly buys units from the corporate market, which tends to invest in sturdier equipment that is used more gently than home computers and is rotated out faster on short-term leases.

Each unit that comes in CDI's warehouse goes through a rigorous 10-point process of inspection, cleaning and repair. For larger orders, CDI provides extra "hot swap" computers that can be placed in reserve in case another unit fails. The company immediately ships another reserve unit so schools never find themselves shorthanded. Another feature that saves time for school tech staffs is custom imaging. CDI sends a master hard drive to schools that they can configure to their exact specifications. Once the drive is shipped back to CDI, it can be cloned onto each computer in the order, so the units can be ready to go as soon as they come out of the box. Freeman said her district has mostly purchased desktops from CDI, with a smattering of laptops. She expects to continue to have a fruitful relationship with the company.

"We've worked with other vendors," she said. "You have to make sure you have competitive bids. But CDI always seems to come in good."

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