Tamworth Regional Council’s Morné Hattingh speaks with Waste Management Review about boosting process efficiency with Mandalay Technologies’ Facility Analytics and Reporting product.
Located almost halfway between Brisbane and Sydney, Tamworth, NSW is commonly known as the First Town of Lights, being the first place in Australia to use electric streetlights in 1888.
The region is also internationally recognised for its annual Tamworth Country Music Festival – the second-biggest country music festival in the world, after Nashville’s CMA Fest.
While it perhaps inspires less ‘mainstream’ interest, Tamworth is also a centre of waste management and resource recovery innovatioen, with Tamworth Regional Council committed to a range of sustainability initiatives including organics recycling and the Waste No More program.
As a partnership between council and Challenge Community Services, Waste No More aims to increase resource recovery while boosting employment opportunities for people with disabilities in the Tamworth Region.
Servicing a population of over 42,000 people, Tamworth Regional Council Waste and Resource Recovery Manager Morné Hattingh and his team manage four landfills and seven waste transfer stations.
To support these operations, council use a range of products from Mandalay Technologies, including the Facility Core Product, which includes ticketing and data administrations, and EFTPOS integration.
More recently, council introduced Mandalay’s Facility Analytics and Reporting into its portfolio, and are also looking to include automatic licence plate recognition in the near future.
“Efficiency, efficiency, efficiency. It’s a very efficient product to use. It works easy, staff like it, which is good, and so far, it has been extremely positive for us,” Hattingh says.
Hattingh himself has been using Mandalay products for over seven years, even prior to his time at Tamworth Regional Council.
He highlights the software’s ability to adapt to different regulations in each state, as well as the training and back-up support offered by Mandalay.
“To ensure consistency in the data, you need to perform training and that’s where I think Mandalay stands out,” he says.
“At the drop of a hat, you can have a team at your office to provide really detailed face-to-face training.”
When extending its product portfolio to include Mandalay’s Facility Analytics and Reporting, Tamworth’s primary focus was ensuring staff didn’t have to spend too much time producing reports and spreadsheets.
Hattingh explains that council wanted the ability to pull out the data they needed in a matter of seconds.
“There are various types of data sets available with different product categories and it’s all just a click away. The data itself and having it at our fingertips is extremely important for us,” he says.
“Council also wanted something that does not need to live on a local government server, because if it does, you add a whole layer of IT and local government regulation.”
Hattingh adds that the system needed to be adaptable, scalable and accurate, while ensuring everyone across multiple council divisions could interpret the data with ease.
When compared to other data sets, Hattingh says this is where Mandalay really stands out.
“Multi-reporting functions are essential, because what a councillor wants to see, what finance wants to see and what environmental officers want to see is different – you need three separate reports,” he says.
DRIVEN BY DATA
Hattingh and his team are required to present data and analytics on key areas of the organisation to internal and external stakeholders, and like everything in the waste industry, the request for data is often extremely reactive.
If council were in a situation where they were running a waste division that didn’t have access to analytics and everything was in spreadsheets, the reporting could only be done once per month.
That would be the only time they could afford to have staff spend two days working on compiling the reports, which would involve populating nine to 15 production reports. And because that report is only produced once per month, the data would get old very quickly.
This challenge, Hattingh says, has been overcome with Mandalay’s Facility Analytics and Reporting.
If, for example, a councillor or regulator has a particular question or requires specific information, the waste team can quickly produce that data with no issue, and it will be current, with data measured right up to the day prior to the report being produced.
“Having staff spend two days on the production of reports is a long time, but with access to analytics, last time I checked the time spent on reports was only 42 seconds,” Hattingh says.
Data and analytics also lead to better transparency and better business processes.
Hattingh’s role involves running a division, and in doing that he needs to tell people what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong.
Analytics provides that platform with ease.
Additionally, as Hattingh has been working with Mandalay’s software for so long, he has built his processes and procedures for working with teams and customers around the Mandalay model.
“For me it’s all about analytics,” Hattingh says.
“Analytics is the backbone of what I need to be able to do what we do.”
Mandalay’s products also provide benefits from a financial perspective.
If a finance department sends through the latest finance information and customers have 60 or 90 days outstanding, it’s possible to quickly change those customers to cash only.
Additionally, having EFTPOS Integration for weighbridge attendants saves a lot of time and is a function that Hattingh and his team strongly recommend for others to consider as an addition to Mandalay’s Facility Core Product.
The data coming out of Mandalay’s software is most often used by Tamworth Regional Council to measure and track cancelled tickets and daily transactions.
This information is particularly useful for council when it comes to performing maintenance on the weighbridge and trying to understand when the weighbridge is going to be the busiest and when it’s not.
Hattingh says that when running a landfill, there’s not a lot of time to run maintenance within the facility, especially when running multiple sites.
As such, having that data helps council make the best use of their time.
In addition to incorporating Mandalay’s Facility Analytics and Reporting, Hattingh explains that council recently commissioned Mandalay to automate transactions at its Forest Road landfill.
“We’re hoping to finish this project in July. Automation is certainly a big-ticket item that Mandalay is now responsible for,” he says.
“Mandalay provides us with good knowledge, one of the best I’ve seen in this space.
“Technology is becoming more intertwined with the waste sector, and Mandalay supports this service extremely well.”
For more information click here.