Webinar: unlocking the benefits of Mandalay’s Facility Product Suite

In an upcoming webinar, Mandalay Technologies will explore the common considerations when reviewing facility software and the benefits waste facilities can gain from its Facility Product Suite.

Read moreWebinar: unlocking the benefits of Mandalay’s Facility Product Suite

Future-proofing your facility: Mandalay Technologies

With waste managers facing increasingly complex operating environments, Mandalay Technologies’ Rosemary Black outlines the streamlining capabilities of cloud-based facilities management.

Regulatory environments are constantly changing and are variable state-to-state. As such, it can be challenging for waste managers and councils – often dealing with external pressures – to keep on top of changes and how they affect their day-to-day operations.

In June, for instance, the Queensland Government announced a six-month deferment to the waste levy increase, which was set to begin in July. 

The deferment falls in line with industry requests to temporarily halt regulatory changes in the wake of COVID-19. However, the 11th hour notification raised concerns, with industry given little time to adapt to pricing impacts.   

“Reporting data to meet state and national regulatory requirements is complicated and involves a lot of manual work,” explains Rosemary Black, Head of Customer at Mandalay Technologies.

“Added to this is the often-rapid nature of change, as illustrated by the Queensland levy, which highlights the complex operating environment faced by waste managers and councils.”

To mitigate these challenges and ensure facility compliance, Mandalay has integrated levy and chain of responsibility reporting that matches legislation requirements into its Facility Product Suite.

“We believe in approaching facility management from the front foot, providing practical solutions to take the pain away from clients,” Black says.

“Mandalay’s Facility Product Suite complies with various state and national regulatory bodies and regulatory requirements, and as requirements change, the system is updated to suit.”

Rosemary Black, Head of Customer at Mandalay Technologies.

In today’s digital economy, data functions much like oil in the 18th century – an immeasurably untapped valuable asset.

In the waste sector, data extraction benefits extend beyond economics, with the role of big data increasingly understood within the context of positive environmental outcomes.

The NSW Government’s March 2020 Cleaning Up Our Act issues paper, for example, suggests significant opportunities exist for data and analytics to drive improvement in waste management efficiencies.

According to Black, the role of data towards a successful circular economy transition is well understood by Mandalay.

“Mandalay is committed to a world without waste – where materials generated by the community transition from a cost centre to a revenue generator,” she says.

“The right data is critical to the success of an organisation and so too are the processes that utilise and audit that data.”

An awareness of the latent value hidden in waste data was the central driver behind the development of Mandalay’s Facility Product Suite, Black explains.

“The system integrates a range of products for waste and facility applications to capture and process vehicle movements in and out of sites, delivering critical functions including hardware interfaces, transaction capture and point-of-sale payment processing,” she says.

Designed for landfills, transfer stations, resource recovery facilities, tip and buy back shops, recycling centres and material recovery facilities, the Facility Product Suite can be configured to suit all facility situations.

Black adds that software products can operate with or without a weighbridge and be configured for automation at unmanned facilities.

“Facilities located in remote locations often require site access and transactions to be managed through automated systems,” she says.

“The Facility Product Suite enables automation by using various types of electronic IDs to identify preconfigured load attributes so only a ‘weight’ and ‘time’ requires capture once on site.”

By combining the functionality of a driver control station with Mandalay’s Facility Product Suite Extension Products, such as image capture and license plate recognition, Black explains that Mandalay can offer a fully automated experience.

“Including several extension products and services, the Facility Product Suite will not only drive efficient facilities, but offer detailed reporting, dashboarding and management capabilities,” she says.

Mandalay’s Facility Product Suite is more than simple weighbridge software, Black explains.

“It’s a cloud-based solution offering an interface to process transactions, capture data at manned and un-manned facilities and record data according to both state-based and national regulatory requirements,” she says.

“At the same time, the system provides admin and management teams with the ability to access and manage data across multiple facilities and locations.

“Working in conjunction with Mandalay’s range of extension products, waste data can be transformed into powerful information.”

With over 29 years’ experience as a sales professional, Black is well placed to understand the complex and localised needs of clients across the waste sector.

A key client pain point, she explains, is the issue of out of date software.

“Software deployed in places like a resource recovery centre or landfill can be 10 years old, and clearly, technology and software has advanced significantly since then,” she explains.

“With the Facility Product Suite’s cloud subscription, featuring deployment and release management tools, the latest developments, updates and new features are automatically added to users’ systems.”

An additional challenge for customers is a lack of trust in the data, and a subsequent unease about the accuracy of reported figures.

“Despite the idiom that data is more valuable than oil, many working outside the technology space are still unaware of how data functions – and are often dealing with data setup structures that lack an alignment to the needs of their organisation,” Black says.

“By utilising client feedback, Mandalay has designed reports and dashboards with data security and accuracy built into the core system.”

Furthermore, Black highlights poor and inadequate reporting. She adds that the multiple sources of data that make up the waste landscape are separate and need to be manually integrated.

“There is a pressing need for appropriate and accurate reporting to the council, without accurate data, planning for the future in facilities, contacts and needs is impossible,” she says.

“We launched our new data and analytics suite this year to address this, developed from customer feedback which meets their needs and also has in-built flexibility to customise specific requirements if necessary.”

The inability to integrate software to finance systems is another concern, Black says. As numbers come from multiple sources, manual compilation of data is required.

“Transferring data to a finance system means there are often discrepancies when changes are made in either system,” she says.

“Mandalay has integrated into or created a finance export for every finance system requested by our customers. Where each one has been uniquely defined to match customers’ finance implementation.

“We understand that each organisations need is slightly different, and our approach is to deliver the right solution for the organisation.”

This article is the first in a three-part series exploring Mandalay’s Facility Product Suite. To find out more about how Mandalay can support your business, email: enquire@mandalaytech.com or click here

Related stories: 

Discovering what’s possible: Mandalay Technologies

Local governments are increasingly leveraging digital vouchers to reduce liability, supported by data to provide tailored services to their customers.

Like every other sector, councils across the country are navigating the brave new world of COVID-19 and social distancing.

Delivering essential public health services such as water, sewerage, and waste, many of which are continually evolving to deal with a climate-conscious general public, is no easy task. For some councils, the concern is to continue to do so without delaying or reducing rates, fees and charges.

For example, the Local Government Association of Queensland has laid out a COVID-19 battleplan, highlighting its desire to partner with the Queensland Government to lead communities in recovery.

As reported by Waste Management Review in the May article Supporting business continuity, software provider Mandalay Technologies has been focused on aiding the transition.

With many businesses forced to digitise their operations overnight to meet social distancing requirements, Managing Director Simon Kalinowski sees it as an opportunity for councils to improve their core services.

“Waste is an essential service, and one in which improved service outcomes and revenue are very much intertwined,” he says.

As a result of COVID-19, Simon acknowledges that many councils will be faced with external pressures to support their community, whether it be bad debts, fluctuating commodity prices, or otherwise, which will impact their bottom line.

“The performance of their operations, including the efficiency of those services, is going to come under increasing pressure, so we need to see better performing councils,” he says.

WAVES OF CHANGE

Simon says digital relationships with customers, and their customers, across the entire supply chain are opening up a range of possibilities. It comes as the waste profile, which has seen significant changes over the decade, prepares for another wave of change.

With more people working from home, and many potentially to continue to do so in the future intermittently, more waste is finding itself in the municipal solid waste streams.

Many state governments, including Queensland, NSW and Victoria, are re-setting their long-term waste planning framework.

“Waste services have traditionally called for a set and forget approach. But now we’ve got changing expectations on what to put in each bin, multiple types of services, and changing operating conditions at facilities impacted by COVID-19,” Simon says.

He says that the traditional narrative in waste has been to focus on the average household, but this is a misguided approach, as every end user is different.

“If you think about the community and consumers, we have an expectation that we can do things in real time, and waste is gradually evolving into that dynamic,” Simon says.

Simon remains inspired by the possibilities that digitisation continues to create. Mandalay has been progressively expanding its product offering to track waste data from source to fate.

Real time issuing and redeeming of vouchers is supported by cloud-based data.

Taking existing commercial and industrial, and construction and demolition waste data, it is being integrated with municipal solid waste to create a holistic view of waste management within the regions.

“Our underlying belief is that if we can give insights to our councils of increasingly precise behaviour of their customers, then they can use that to develop new or existing services that drive long-lasting behavioural change,” Simon says.

“I was working with a regional facility that services many councils, and they have a few different profiles of customers they have to serve. They had come up with a very limiting program for that community, and so when you educate them about what’s possible, their whole world changes.”

Mandalay is seeing a surge in its existing waste voucher offering for residents and community groups, coupled with detailed waste mapping based on voucher use.

Waste vouchers have traditionally been printed on paper and mailed out to homeowners, or available on request. Often, this can cost thousands of dollars to ensure the vouchers are only used by the intended recipient and not copied or forged.

Mandalay has sought to resolve this, and a number of other issues, by digitising waste services. Simple concepts such as updating terms and conditions, getting a record of receipts read or accepted, or making program specific changes, can be communicated in real-time.

DIGITAL RELATIONSHIPS

Moreover, waste mapping is creating digital relationships with the people and properties within a community.

Since being released in 2018, its resident voucher program has supported local governments with digital vouchers – which has solved a variety of issues.

“One of the limitations of councils offering vouchers is, previously, they’ve been able to print them all out and send them to the residents when they send out the rates notice every year,” Simon says.

“But as rates notices are moving to electronic/online they couldn’t offer that service, or align that service offering.”

He says the challenge was then to offer an on-demand service, while also being able to ascertain the profile and behaviour of communities in a more targeted way.

These are the considerations Mandalay looked at when it began to digitise these services, aiming to offer councils better data and insights about their communities.

Mandalay’s voucher application can be distributed via rates notices or on-demand requests, while offering cancel, re-issue, and override options where a council decides an exception to the rules is needed.

This aims to resolve several challenges. The first is substantial overheads and the risk of managing multiple systems and data points across multiple locations.

Secondly, reducing the complexities of administering waste systems that extend across several teams, including Waste, IT, Finance, and Customer Service.

Thirdly, this increases the integrity of voucher programmes and reduces opportunities for fraud.

By delivering a faster and more personalised experience for councils, residents and the community, local governments can form stronger community ties while finding operational savings.

Like most digital products, integration is important, and Mandalay’s voucher management application natively links in with its CS Ticketing system. This enables rules set for the voucher program to be enforced at the facility gatehouse when the voucher is redeemed.

Additionally, real-time issuing and redeeming of vouchers is supported by cloud-based data.

Added to integration is the need for collaboration to avoid confusion, with the ability for use by multiple internal users across various teams, whether it be waste or customer service, to administer and manage entitlements.

User access can be managed via permissions and provide access to data while locking down functionality based on an organisation’s internal process requirements.

Multiple voucher programs can be created to suit each type of entitlement offered by councils.

Detailed waste mapping provides councils with unique data insights into their local government area and ultimately helps them service their communities better.

“You need to understand who your customer is before they come to the site and preferably what they’re there to do,” Simon says.

“Councils often think of their ratepayers as this is where their revenue base comes from, so they have an understanding and relationship with all of them. But in over 35 per cent of residents, the occupier and generator of the waste is not actually the ratepayer, it’s either the tenant or the property manager.”

Mandalay’s property database maintains a unique understanding of every property, allowing unique relationships to be built against that property.

Detailed property information is captured in the application, along with a history of voucher use, which provides an auditable system and a means of confidently challenging incidence of fraud.

Importantly, operators can understand where waste is being generated and which facility it is being presented at. The system adheres to international data security standards, including the General Data Protection Regulation – one of the world’s strongest set of data protection rules.

Simon says this allows bespoke services to be introduced at the click of a button.

“The classic one we’re seeing digitised fully is recycling drop-off facilities where operators can track the behaviour of that backfill property, link green waste drop-offs or introduce another more discreet waste related service.”

Additionally, by understanding the relationship between properties, councils can draw on information about the end user and even introduce targeted services. This spans anywhere from multi-unit dwelling pick-ups to targeted waste education campaigns.

“Councils are seeing this as a chance to actually bring essentially new revenue to their sites and we think that’s particularly exciting.”

Bundaberg Regional Council is one of several councils that will be using Mandalay’s waste vouchers, with vouchers currently sent out with rates notices.

Kerry Dalton, Coordinator Waste and Recycling Environmental Compliance at Bundaberg Regional Council, says that council is hoping to see multiple benefits to using the waste vouchers.

She says there are myriad potential benefits in moving to an electronic system, including allowing for council to electronically mail out vouchers to its E-rates customers.

Additionally, the ability to cancel and reissue vouchers if a resident has lost or not received the voucher is another benefit.

“This happens quite regularly, and we have had no way of tracking vouchers to know if they have already been redeemed,” she says.

The vouchers will offer the ability to track usage and start identifying areas with higher uptake and produce more accurate reports from the voucher module.

Kerry anticipates the end of day reconciliation process should be cleaner with the ability to scan the vouchers, with more of the benefits to be better understood by council’s next rates round in July/August.

Simon says that while many councils are understandably focused on present challenges, the future of waste behavioural insights is abound with opportunity.

“There’s a whole raft of data and insights that we’ll be able to generate in the future, as well as being able to benchmark the performance of organisations and all manner of things.”

For more information on Mandalay’s vouchers click here.

Related stories: 

Supporting business continuity: Mandalay Technologies

With the impact of COVID-19 being felt by waste businesses across the country, Mandalay Technologies provides advice on mitigating some of the social and economic risks through improved service delivery. 

All organisations have been impacted in some way by COVID-19.

While many waste and resource recovery businesses are facing shared challenges, many of these issues are nuanced and require unique solutions.

COVID-19 is moving at a frenetic pace, creating a range of social and economic risks, from serious public health challenges to the disruption of just-in-time supply chains.

But in the seed of every problem, comes opportunity. With the risk of transmission via human interaction posing significant health risks, myriad businesses are examining how they can interact and connect with their customers, staff and suppliers remotely.

The digitisation of waste has long been on the radar of Mandalay Technologies and while this transition is not an overnight process, COVID-19 has forced its acceleration.

To that end, Mandalay has seen an immediate uptake in the need for operators to switch a significant proportion of their operations to digital overnight.

“Most of our customers saw this as a five to two-year horizon, but this pandemic has brought on the need to do it now, as we’re seeing human interaction pose a significant risk to staff and their customers,” explains Simon Kalinowski, Mandalay Technologies’ Director.

“If you look at the implications of digital supply chains, the amount of other benefits that that will bring to the waste and recycling industry is enormous.”

Mandalay customers have identified a number of areas where they need help. Some of the key questions are: how do operators minimise face-to-face contact at weighbridges and transfer stations while keeping operations running? Additionally, how does one handle document and tickets electronically or remotely, or even become cashless and process payments remotely?

Many of these questions were answered in Mandalay’s webinar in late March on Business Continuity During COVID-19, which addressed a range of issues faced by local governments and businesses alike.

Mandalay’s webinar started with a pulse check: at what point is your organisation at with business continuity planning towards COVID-19 for your waste operations?

The results showed 49 per cent of respondents highlighted planning is in progress, with 26 per cent noting they have a plan in place being implemented, 23 per cent close to finalising their plan and only three per cent that had not started their existing plans.

While each situation is unique, Mandalay has been working with businesses to help them identify their business continuity plan, what services are impacted and how and what can be done to reduce risk factors.

“For us it was very difficult to interpret how this would play out in Australia, but we’ve been having a lot of one-on-one conversations around our strategy and thoughts on the way we can support you, with the situation evolving infinitely day-by-day,” Simon says.

“What we’ve found as we talk to people is that we’ve been able to expand their thinking about what’s possible, practical and probable quite quickly in those conversations.”

He says that this has informed the need for businesses and councils to undergo a bespoke review.

Simon reflects that while working remotely takes a lot of getting used to, as a seasoned work-from-home veteran he’s finding self-isolation to be highly productive.

“Because we’ve invested so heavily in digital and cloud technology and pushing our clients towards cloud-based applications and centralised management, then essentially their operations and relationship with us doesn’t change at all. In fact, our ability to support our clients is actually enhanced.”

One of the points highlighted in the webinar is an anticipated change in the profile of waste generation from customers of all types over the coming months and its impact on transactions. With household consumption already increasing, additional waste once considered C&I and even C&D is expected to end up in the MSW stream.

“In metro areas there’s quite a high vigilance around the potential impacts of this and there’s clearly an impact on tonnage, so there’s a whole redistribution of waste occurring at the moment,” Simon says.

“I can’t stress enough that that impact is going to be more significant than you realise and we’re already seeing it now. We’re seeing significant reduction in participation in collection services, issues around non-payment for real circumstances or financial impact or otherwise.”

However, he adds that we need to be careful in taking a knee-jerk approach to policy, citing anecdotal discussions about replacing green waste bins with general waste.

Some of the issues Mandalay has seen are the closure or scaling back of existing facilities and the question of whether new services are required to meet the changing waste profile.

“We expect there will be new service requests and service profiles, so in your business continuity plan looking at how you can support requests that come in or decision-making with your teams is something I would encourage you to consider.”

In Queensland, the state government enacted the disaster charter due to COVID-19, which currently does not provide exemption on the waste levy.

“Just because there’s a disaster charter, doesn’t mean there’s disaster waste. An exemption may come, and that period is likely to be in two to four weeks’ time.”

“What we need to focus on is correct data for transactions coming through so operators can provide auditability on materials, their origin and the profile of that so in the event that it is, you’ve got a good history of your transactions.”

Simon says the reality is that some customers are now looking at closing facilities or considering sending their material to landfill.

As part of this, hours of operation and staff and redundancy planning is important.

To protect the safety of operators, limiting the number of customers onsite at any given time is crucial. Moreover, supporting staff who deal extensively with members of the public, including gatehouse operators is equally important.

“Do I change the service experience to reduce the risk of transmission? There is a full gamut of issues very personal to each organisation in what they may think about,” Simon says.

Hygiene and the use of PPE equipment is another occupational health and safety risk that needs to be accounted for.

While many of these changes may be overwhelming for some, Simon adds that it’s important to introduce levels of change progressively, based on the level of risk posed to the community.

“For facilities that you elect to keep open to provide services, what are all your risks and dependencies on-site? Each organisation will have different views on the length of time this will remain an issue, but as a minimum it’s going to be a few months of impact, possibly longer.”

Mandalay is supporting its customers to reduce human interaction in a few key areas: product selection, payment and ticketing.

For example, operators can review their data setup to move from a manual system to a more streamlined process.

Installing intercoms or CCTV can reduce or remove the need for direct face-to-face contact, while giving operators the ability to manage and monitor customers at their facility.

In terms of payment, eliminating cash payments can remove the risk associated with staff handling cash. Removing the need for payment at the facility can be done across commercial and residential self-haul and in conjunction with account holders.

Requiring commercial customers to maintain a pre-paid account can provide full automation and reduce the need for face-to-face contact.

Installing a driver control station can also lead to automation for account holders and give them the ability to complete the transaction with no face-to-face contact.

Residential self-haul can help reduce the risk of driver transmission by having residents take waste to a facility to dispose of it. Site operators provide access to on-demand entitlements in the form of vouchers or the option to prepay an account.

During these challenging times, credit risk also remains an issue with commercial operators beginning to find it harder to make ends meet. By moving to a pre-paid model, the potential for credit risk is removed.

“There’s a real push to move to EFTPOS versus cash payments, I think this is a real reason to look at digital only and start to look at cashless facilities across the board.”

Providing tickets to customers without the need for direct human contact can also be achieved via a printer or direct to customers.

“The immediate solution is to provide an industrial printer in an all-weather enclosure installed post the bridge. We configure the ticket to print out on that ticket printer and it partially cuts the ticket.

“Rather than handing that ticket to the driver, you complete the transaction process and the partial perforation keeps the ticket in place until they can tear that off.”

Mandalay is also working on making tickets available online in the cloud.

And with business shutdowns and disruptions expected to last anywhere from three to six months or longer, Simon says it’s important to take a long-term view to digitising one’s operations.

“I’m working with one council that see their waste division as a key part of their economic and social responsibility and so projects are going to go ahead regardless because it’s a key contributor to council operations.

“They have a very evolved view about moving to a cashless and digital world. Whereas a council that doesn’t view their waste operations strategically, typically haven’t got a vision about where they’re going to go, so they will either close momentarily or put their staff and consumers at risk.”

“These types of challenging periods reward organisations that have got good teams and good plans and are set up to be able to act with agility.”

To find out more about how Mandalay can support your business, email enquire@mandalaytech.com or click here. 

This article was published in the May edition of Waste Management Review. 

Related stories:

Supporting business continuity: Mandalay Technologies

With the impact of COVID-19 being felt by waste businesses across the country, Mandalay Technologies provides advice on mitigating some of the social and economic risks through improved service delivery.

Read moreSupporting business continuity: Mandalay Technologies

Town of Port Hedland gathers data from Mandalay Technologies

The Town of Port Hedland has been able to extend the life of its landfill by an additional 10 years and improve its waste management strategies by harnessing the power of data.

Read moreTown of Port Hedland gathers data from Mandalay Technologies

Preparing for the Queensland waste levy

Mandalay Technologies’ Lacey Webb explains five key factors local government and private sector operators should account for when getting themselves ‘levy ready’ in Queensland.

Read morePreparing for the Queensland waste levy

X