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

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Digital FOGO: Source Separation Systems

Peter Cruwys of Source Separation Systems outlines the company’s new software-based approach to FOGO management and its hidden benefits for councils.

Trucks are rolling out of Source Separation Systems’ warehouse in Lake Macquarie NSW, on their annual quest to deliver over 80,000 Compost-A-Pak rolls to one of Australia’s largest food organics and garden organics (FOGO) programs.

While the sustainability outcomes and financial benefits of such programs are well documented, Peter Cruwys, Source Separation Systems Managing Director, says leveraging the company’s unique purpose-built software is delivering a number of hidden benefits for councils.

“Driven by a passionate team with an exceptionally strong communication strategy, Lake Macquarie Council reduced waste to landfill from domestic collections by 22,380 tonnes in its first year alone,” Peter says.

“Enabled by their customised Kitchen Caddies with full colour educational labels imbedded into the lids, and Australian Certified compostable liners, the contamination levels have been as low as 1.2 percent on average.”

The resulting compost, Peter says, is being used to enrich the natural beauty of the region through council gardens and public spaces, and domestically as compost is made available to residents.

“Such financial and environmental benefits are well understood. However, many councils are also discovering there are other benefits in FOGO distributions when leveraging the latest technology,” he says.

After years of walking household to household, and subsequently hours of thinking time, the team at Source Separation Systems have developed unique software for FOGO programs.

Refined over the past few years in partnership with several councils, Peter says the software is designed to leverage the unique opportunities presented by FOGO programs.

This means every household in a community is visited as part of the program.

“While each specific project is fundamentally customised, as well as timestamped GPS confirmed deliveries, this software audits the council database – identifying and taking pre-programmed actions as mismatches are identified,” he says.

So, what does that actually mean in the field? Peter explains that legacy information, systems and imports, department specific software, historical process oversights and clerical errors often mean that most council databases are well out of date, with a proportion of inaccuracies.

“The identification of database mismatches, such as new dwellings, multi-unit dwellings, and commercial buildings, when confirmed through GPS locations and real time photographic confirmation, is a source of new rates and waste services revenue for councils,” Peter says.

He adds that the identification of vacant blocks can reduce unnecessary waste collection costs.

“The identification of illegal dwellings and subdivisions are important for further assessments, including fire safety risks,” he says.

“Given our team are at the premises and comparing it block by block to the council database, it makes sense to have us capture any discrepancies, or ‘mismatches’ as we call them, and feed that information straight back to the council.”

Peter explains that this works to ensure the delivery of Source Separation Systems products are more accurate and stock controlled, particularly in situations such as unidentified multi-unit dwellings.

Developed in consultation with several councils, Source Separation Systems customises the software to meet project requirements and priorities.

“Like many modern apps, the software is built to be intuitive, so our teams are now faster, more accurate and safer during deliveries,” Peter says.

“In addition, with councils more involved in planning the programs and setting their priorities, we can be much more responsive to individual communities.”

As such, Peter says the benefits for councils have been significant.

“For most FOGO programs, while there might be a small premium for our unique service, the costs in reduced service fees and increased rates revenue for councils more than offsets this cost in the first year. And it’s an ongoing saving,” he says.

Peter adds that it’s been great to be a part of such a positive initiative.

“The program certainly does have financial benefits, but ultimately, I’m pleased we can make the case for FOGO even more compelling,” he says.

“Hopefully, that means more communities will establish FOGO programs and we can continue to build on the staggering environmental benefits being delivered.”

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