CHG's business idea
Computer‑Handels‑Gesellschaft (CHG) – the early days
The idea of getting into the computer sales market came to Jürgen Gelf in the mid-1970s. While trying to source a new mainframe computer for his employer, he stumbled across the organized resale market for this equipment and immediately recognized the potential it harbored. IT equipment was hugely expensive at this time. Manufacturers such as IBM, Nixdorf, and Comparex serviced the machines and ensured they were kept free of technical defects and up to date so that they could easily be resold when the owner needed a bigger computer, for example.
In his role as IT manager, Jürgen Gelf told his boss about his idea of buying and selling IT equipment. His boss was not interested in pursuing the idea for his company RAFI, an electronics manufacturer in Berg near Ravensburg, but he gave Gelf permission to explore the opportunity privately in his spare time. On March 2, 1979 Gelf founded CHG Computer-Handels-Gesellschaft m.B.H. The original business idea of remarketing IT equipment is retained in the company name CHG today.
In response to customer demand Jürgen Gelf soon also began offering leasing arrangements to finance the IT equipment. The idea of leasing was already well established in the USA, as IBM had been leasing equipment there since the 1920s. In Germany, however, the model was still relatively unknown. It was only in the 1970s that there was a boom in this niche market, resulting in an 800 percent upsurge in just ten years. Leasing quickly became CHG's core activity. In 1982 the company changed its name to 'CHG Computer Leasing- und Handels-Gesellschaft mbH', and in 1992 the 'Handels-Gesellschaft' was finally dropped from the company name altogether.
Expansion of the service business
In the 1990s the IT market changed radically. Computing power was decentralized and personal computers began to replace mainframes. CHG found itself increasingly providing advisory and other services to its customers and became more involved in whole lifecycle planning for the IT systems it was leasing. The focus of CHG‑MERIDIAN, as the company has been known since 1996, shifted more toward a comprehensive service offering that included the installation and maintenance of the equipment as well as investment and innovation planning.
Since 2014 CHG‑MERIDIAN has been offering its customers a standardized, environmentally friendly, and socially responsible re-use concept for pre-owned IT hardware, where the emphasis is on remarketing. And in Belgium, the company works with the non-profit organizations Close the Gap and WorldLoop to pass on customers' used equipment that is still in working order to schools and training establishments in developing countries. When it is no longer useful, the equipment is collected up again and recycled in an environmentally friendly way.
Remarketing and socially responsible reuse
The revolution in the IT market brought with it an exponential increase in the number of devices, and refurbishing the used equipment became a logistical challenge. In 2000 CHG-MERIDIAN opened its own brokerage and logistics center in Mörfelden. It developed controlled data erasure processes that, in 2006, were the first such processes in Germany to be certified by the product standards regulator TÜV Informationstechnik. Since 2010, lease returns have been refurbished in the new Technology and Service Center in Gross-Gerau, ready for re-use and remarketing. Three years after the Gross-Gerau center was opened, a second CHG‑MERIDIAN Technology and Service Center was added in Skien, Norway. In 2015 the two centers handled almost half a million machines between them.
Read more about CHG-MERIDIAN as a family firm here