Waste Management In Action

Clouds over Shoal Bay: Mandalay Technologies

With the introduction of Mandalay Technologies’ naus Intelligence Platform, the City of Darwin is the latest Australian metropolitan council to move its waste data into the cloud.

With the waste collection and management industry changing rapidly in the face of growing population pressure, increasing regulatory compliance and most recently the unique challenges of COVID-19, innovative data architecture is now an essential requirement for successful waste management facilities.

In turn, data and its integrity and accountability are becoming more crucial, with government legislation and community interest demanding answers.

Recognising this trend, the City of Darwin engaged Mandalay Technologies – launching the company’s naus Intelligence Platform at Shoal Bay Waste Management Facility in October 2020.

As a result, Darwin is the latest metropolitan centre to move its waste data into the cloud.

Mandalay’s naus Intelligence Platform centralises data from multiple sites, providing self-managed, role-based user access, multi-directional data synchronisation, data backup and disaster recovery.

In simple terms, cloud computing is computing based on the internet.

Where in the past, operators would run programs or applications from software downloaded on a server or physical computer in their office, cloud computing allows them to access the same kinds of applications via the internet.

As Shoal Bay is Darwin’s singular waste management facility – providing unlimited access to the city’s 130,000 residents – this effective and forward-thinking approach to data management is critical.

In addition to landfill services, Shoal Bay houses a transfer station, independently-operated recycle shop and a green waste recovery facility.

Landfill gas is also harvested, producing renewable electricity to power approximately 1000 homes every year.

According to Nik Kleine, City of Darwin Executive Manager Program Management, transitioning to the cloud will help council minimise risks, while also enhancing customer experience. Furthermore, he highlights the system’s reporting capabilities, which will assist future planning at Shoal Bay.

For leaders in local government, one of the most challenging responsibilities is planning, delivering, and maintaining infrastructure.

Without accurate and relevant data, the delivery of these services can fall short of community requirements.

“Our previous system had reporting capabilities, but they were less intuitive and manipulative. With this new system, we can manipulate data very easily to get the information we need,” Kleine says.

Additional benefits of the cloud-based system include improvements to security, risk reduction, accessibility, deployment and management requirements.

The naus Intelligence Platform will provide the City of Darwin with improved operational data, Kleine adds, facilitating the ability to predict future challenges and meet them before they arise.

“It will give us greater data input and the ability to look out for trends, which we can use to adapt our site to meet future needs,” he says.

The City of Darwin first began discussing the upgrade with Mandalay in 2019, with conversations progressing when council decided to construct a new weighbridge.

The new weighbridge forms part of council’s Masterplan for the Future, which aims to maximise land usage at Shoal Bay, while incorporating opportunities for new technological advancements in the future.

Future developments will be streamlined due to the adaptability of Mandalay’s intelligence platform, which is designed to seamlessly transition software upgrades.

“Those future upgrades will facilitate improvements in customer experience, particularly with our commercial customers, who will be able to look at their own accounts in real time,” Kleine explains.

Image capture of vehicles on the weighbridge on dockets will be an added benefit, he says. Kleine adds that as more commercial customers become aware of these capabilities, he predicts they will quickly begin to use them.

“Image capture will become especially important as a referencing tool for loads. If someone questions their account, the image will be there, which is a great tool for both us and our customers.”

The system’s quick and simple transaction search capability also provides the opportunity to give finance-teams access to accurate data, saving the waste-team time.

Additionally, the system’s remote access capabilities are particularly critical for Kleine, who works off-site.

“With the naus Intelligence Platform, I don’t have to go to the site to get reports or have my team run reports for me. I can look at them anywhere, which adds an important layer of flexibility,” he says.

While the capabilities of Mandalay’s software were council’s main driver when partnering with the company, Kleine also notes Mandalay’s customer centric approach to the project.

“The customer support provided by Rosemary Black from Mandalay was great. We also had their Senior Implementation Consultant Kumar Kannan come to the facility to provide training for our staff, which was very timely. He worked with our finance and IT team to manage any initial teething issues,” Kleine says.

He adds that Mandalay and Shoal Bay’s weighbridge operators have developed a strong working relationship.

“They were always responsive and the cut-over time was great. We shut the site in the evening and were operational again in the morning,” Kleine says.

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