What is IPT?

IPT proactively introduces companies with similar trading interests. With an emphasis on quality, we pride ourselves on helping our members create and sustain the best business relationships.

Interview with Bob Lafon

Meet Bob Lafon

Bob can you tell us a bit about Dynamic Lifecycle Innovations and what your current role as Global Director of Mobility involves?

Dynamic is what’s referred to as an ITAD or IT Asset Disposition company. We work with enterprise and government clients, taking all their used IT assets and mobile assets, erasing data, running diagnostics to determine the level of internal functionality, then we review the external cosmetics of the device and assign it a grade, like A, B, C, etc. Assuming the unit(s) are intact and operable, we proceed to sell those units through a variety of channels. Once the device(s) are sold, we provide a previously agreed upon revenue share with the client. Non-working units may be parted out or sold as scrap if needed.

You’ve joined the Dynamic Lifecycle Innovations team with some impressive experience under your belt, can you tell us a bit about your career journey so far and what led you into your current role at Dynamic?

I’ve had the opportunity to work for global, national and regional carriers as well as operate a 123 store premium retail dealership for a major wireless carrier. After the sale of that dealer business, I began one to one consulting with a variety of wireless industry companies. Along the way I’ve also had opportunities to be panellist, moderate panel discussions and even function as a keynote speaker at industry conferences. I had actually contacted a friend at Dynamic to see if the company would be open to retaining me as a consultant to develop a mobility program for the organization which eventually led to me joining the Dynamic team.

Going somewhat under the radar for sometime, the used device market is really coming into its own now and trade in second-hand mobiles has become a multi-billion dollar global industry. What do you think is driving growth in this market?

When carriers, especially in the US, made the decision to move away from subsidizing phones, that opened the door for the OEM’s to begin increasing prices and improving their margins. Eventually subscribers began seeing how much financing multiple phones would increase their bills and they began searching for high quality used devices as a cost effective alternative. The business world followed suit. Outside the US, a combination of pricing increases on phones along with dramatically growing numbers of high quality used devices now more readily available at much lower prices has driven much of the used phone adoption.

What effect do you think the growth of 5G will ultimately have on the recycled sector?

Tremendous! Outside of a small group of countries that can justify the expense of 5G deployment, it will take years for smaller and more economically challenged countries to catch up. There are still carriers that haven’t fully completed 4G deployment, so the secondary market should flourish through 2021 on 4G and later 5G devices.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face in the second-life market and what improvements do you think could be made to further develop this market segment?

1.) Grading. There is no universal grading standard, no repair standard, no parts standard. This makes the entire selling process challenging. 2.) It’s increasingly commoditized with traders simply buying and selling on price. Those same traders are living and dying on their ability to achieve the best buy price and sale price. Too few traders and working to add value and set themselves apart from their competitors. 3.) Business Ethics. The lack of generally accepted standards, regulation, enforcement and consequences have made the secondary phone market an ideal playground for scammers and fraudsters. Enormous amount of time have to be invested in vetting sellers and buyers. Thankfully groups like IPT have been very helpful in navigating these difficult waters.

We see you on social media regularly at different conferences & tradeshows and on some panels of speakers. Can you tell us a bit more about these other roles you have and what they involve / why you are suited to them?

I possess 36 years of broad wireless/mobile industry experience. Working with major carriers, with Prepaid MVNO’s, MVNE’s and retailers, I’ve also invested time working with IoT firms, Technology Expense Management (TEMs) and Mobile Device Management (MDMs) along the way. This has not only broadened my knowledge, but opened my eyes to new market segments and opportunities to partner with parallel, non-competing firms as a way of adding value to clients and generating new revenues. It also grows my network, as I continue making new connections and building valued and lasting relationships!

It was an honour to have you join us as keynote speaker at ITC Malta 2019. What were your thoughts on the show and as someone with over 30 years in the industry, what importance do you place on networking when it comes to success in business?

ITC Malta in my mind is the standard bearer when it comes to how to format and operate a trade show or conference! The speed dating format of meeting members one after another, the exhibit hall, and limiting the number of speakers allowed more face time which was the primary reason for attending. In addition, changing venues, having food and beverage readily available to allow for a sampling of local culture and cuisine was outstanding. This creates a more relaxed, social environment in which real relationships can develop rather than just an exchange of business cards and agreement to follow up afterwards. I am very much looking forward to ITC Malta 2021 and not only spending time with friends made in 2019, but developing new relationships in 2021!
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