Having worked in the Waste Management Industry for more years than I care to remember, the one thing that sticks out is how busy everyone is.
In one of those rare quiet moments, I contemplated the cost of the assets we use, whether we know how many we have, or just as importantly where they are.
Sure, we know how many trucks we have and where they are located …. But what about the containers?
Take Ro-Ros for example, with a bin/truck ratio of 50:1 and circa £4k for each one, the capital outlay far exceeds the cost of the trucks and the Ro-Ro should have a much longer working life.
Each waste business I have worked for had particularly good management platforms, however the database was always inaccurate. This could be showing containers on site that were removed months earlier, the reverse i.e. no containers on a customer site but physically one still there. In addition, more (or less) containers on site than what the system told me, as well as the specification of the container being different to what I was expecting…
Strike a chord with anyone?
I can buy a decent second-hand car for £4k - I would want to know where that was, so why treat something that costs the same any differently? Especially when we are talking about a critical asset that’s responsible for generating revenue.
It is a problem that was in no way unique to my experience. Catching up with an old colleague of mine recently, after the usual gossip, we got onto our shared passion… skips!
We discussed the age-old problem of (really) knowing what containers we have and where they are. It occurred me to share her anecdote with you.
“… You know what, I’m going to carry out an audit, so I know exactly what containers I have and where they are located. I will start with my Ro-Ro fleet. As I run 4 x Ro-Ro vehicles with around 210 containers, shouldn’t take me too long...” (she thought)!
Like many good intentions, procrastination took hold. “I’ll start it tomorrow” (she said for the 5th time!)
Having run a download of all live customers with containers on site there was a starting point. Drivers were drafted in to help. Unfortunately the information was conflicting, particularly when it came to the larger more complex customers whilst also taking into account off site storage for spare stock and runners.
Worst fears were confirmed - the number of differing quantities/sizes/specification compared to the database drew me to the conclusion that to nail this properly a physically survey would be required.
Having 120 Ro-Ro customers, there wasn’t the time or resource to carry this out. Don’t forget the Chainlift skips as well. What a headache! If I did manage to audit, the information quickly becomes obsolete.
Needless to say, the audit was never completed.
This led me to a simple conclusion; I can track my trucks but why not my containers?
I had looked at the problem previously but couldn’t find a suitable solution….
Having had similar conversations elsewhere, the feedback and frustration is remarkably similar.
This is where we at PIN can help. We can provide you with a real time solution at low cost. Imagine each of your containers having a digital ID, bespoke to your requirements, e.g. type, size, specific modifications, livery and even a photo. A real time version of the truth of where every single one of your assets is located, with every movement captured.
No more time-consuming audits and inaccurate manual counts. Imagine what better use you can put that valuable time to. Not to mention the ability to plan daily operations knowing exactly what containers are available at storage locations. With this information I can reduce vehicle miles and respond to my customers more quickly.
By managing container inventory proactively I can increase utilisation and create additional capacity. Which can then be used to avoid the need to purchase new containers or to fuel growth, both important considerations in this uncertain Covid-19 dominated world we are living in.
Written by Ian Berry