Competition in the waste management sector is fierce, and signs indicate that trading solely on price is no longer sufficient to attract or retain clients.
Successful businesses need to differentiate themselves more clearly while delivering greater customer value.
Price, of course, is still hugely important. So, when margins are tight, keeping a more watchful eye on operating costs can often be the difference between profit and loss.
Weir Waste, a large, independently owned, commercial recycling and waste management company in the Midlands, has been investing heavily in new technology during the past few years to raise the bar in terms of its performance and efficiency.
One of the ways it has achieved this has been through implementation of Moba’s on-board bin weighing and bin identification systems. Last year, five new trade waste vehicles were fitted with the technology, and in the summer the company took delivery of six additional trucks, all equipped with weights and measures approved bin weighing and radio-frequency identification (RFiD) systems.
Six of these are the Mercedes- Benz Antos waste vehicles that combine practical, comfortable cabs, impressive economy and safe, assured driving characteristics, with low repair and maintenance costs.
Ian Lewis, Moba UK’s managing director, said: “Weir Waste is a great example of a waste company that is transforming its fortunes by adopting new technologies and driving forward service improvements that UK customers are increasingly demanding. Pay-byweight is making real headway in the UK – although it lags well behind the rest of Europe, we predict that within five years all trade waste collections will be made using on-board weighing equipment.”
With the requirement of bin weighing becoming an increasingly important part of all new public and private tenders, Weir realised that it needed a comprehensive and accurate system, and that it should be fully compliant and certified.
The technology has since had a fundamental effect on the way Weir engages with its customers. It can now provide them with a greater level of detail about the amount of waste being collected, and it has also enabled the company to review each customer’s behaviour and identify those that are regularly overfilling their bins or using bins that are not needed.
Rajesh Brigue, C&I commercial manager at Weir, said: “The introduction of Moba’s weighing technology has had a powerful influence on our business. We now offer a strong USP that our customers value highly, making us far more competitive, while, at the same time, it has given us the tools to eliminate unprofitable contracts.
“Many customers are unaware of the volume of waste actually put into their bins so, when presented with the data, they are sometimes shocked to learn that what they dispose of is far greater than the amount initially contracted for.”
Once a potential waste problem in the business has been flagged, Weir Waste then collaborates with the customer to identify the source of the issue and offers practical solutions to help tackle it.
Often the heaviest waste, such as glass or food, can be segregated and recycled separately, while bad practice can be resolved through better education and training.
Brigue adds: “Detailed reporting provides the opportunity to tailor packages for our clients, which could result in, for example, a greater collection frequency or additional recycling bins.”
The Moba technology also enables Weir to offer its clients various methods of payment, including pay-by-weight or maximum weight limit fixed charges. This has been welcomed by its client base because they see such measures as a clear incentive to reduce the amount of waste they produce, since the less they throw, the less they pay.
One other major benefit experienced by Weir is that the technology allows it to assess the commercial viability of its existing contracts and, because of the undisputed evidence of the waste collected over a long period of time, it has more leverage to re- negotiate deals that were previously unprofitable.
There is also a benefit to the customer, since all contracts are now based on what it actually produces rather than using industry averages, which Weir found in the past to be inaccurate.
Moba’s technology is proving its worth when it comes to winning new business. Increasing numbers of customers, from SMEs and corporates, through to the public sector, are looking for more detailed reporting and a greater level of transparency.
Brigue adds: “We are one of the few waste contractors in the Midlands able to boast sophisticated weighing and reporting technology, so this has enabled us to target sector-specific contracts with increased commercial intelligence.
“As a result, we have won additional business based on the enhanced level of management data that we can now supply.”
Before each new contract is signed, Weir visits the customer’s site to check the weight of its bins and to make sure that the volumes match those quoted for. There have been occasions when the weight of bins far exceeded that stated by the client. But, because of the safety net provided by the weighing technology, it prevents Weir from entering into contracts that might be unprofitable.
With greater adoption of weighing technology, waste producers are gradually accepting that heavier bins will result in additional charges. This will mean that the role of the waste contractor will need to encompass new skills to work more collaboratively with customers to help them throw less and recycle more.
Lewis of Moba added: “Bin weighing and ID technology will not only make waste collection processes more transparent, but it will also help to optimise them by reducing costs and even increasing revenue.”