Recycling Software: The Wanted List

Recyclers and the suppliers who serve them have developed several top priorities regarding what recyclers need custom software.

Keeping track of what is purchased, what is in stock and what is being shipped out has been a priority task for the custom software used by recycling facility operators.

This task remains a key priority for recycling software users, but it has been accompanied by at least two other criticisms as executives and managers place greater demands on their custom software: 1) the ability of recyclers to quickly share accurate information with sellers and buyers and 2) ensure that their purchasing and handling operations comply with any number of laws or regulations relating to their business.

Software vendors have updated existing features and introduced new ones to meet this growing set of requests in an effort to retain and increase their market share in a competitive field.

Access in large quantities

Workplace restrictions caused by efforts to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus provided a critical example of why remote access to a company's stored information can be a huge factor in security and productivity.

Increasingly, suppliers and recyclers say, this information flow must include not just employees of a recycling organization, but also scrap material suppliers, transportation companies and processed scrap buyers.

Understanding inventory positions now extends beyond internal organizational communication, Jimmy Martin, CEO and co-founder of Ireland-based AMCS, told Recycling Today for an article from 2019 .

“Real-time transparency about what's in the field and what's in your overall system can offer real advantages on the sell side of recycling operations,” said Martin. “It allows you to capitalize on market opportunities.”

Quick access to this information is important, added Martin. “There is also a growing advantage for digitally enabled operators. Simplifying the interaction between you and your customers and you and your customers is huge. We are doing this every day. It is a strategic investment area for us. ”

US-based Shared Logic claims to have created applications that allow employees of scrap processing customers to "easily import images to support updates or adjustments."

Shared Logic's customers, such as scrap company Padnos, say this increases their transparency with customers, according to a 2020 promotional piece  for Shared Logic prepared by Recycling Today .

21 st Century Programming, also based in the United States, says its Infinite Dispatch ROM feature provides management and monitoring of dispatches, drivers, equipment and customer activities that enable “instant communications between dispatchers, drivers and customers”.

As described by the company in a September 2020 announcement , “The underlying hybrid cloud platform [of Infinite Dispatch ROM] requires zero management by customers and provides instant cloud backup and sync, end-to-end encryption, optional on-premises servers that can keep things running when the Internet goes down, and lots of more. ”

complicated complication

As metal prices have soared during highs over the past 20 years, law enforcement agencies have passed laws aimed at identifying metal thieves and their stolen goods at the scale house.

These laws – along with fraud schemes designed to undermine deposit return schemes for some recyclable packaging – have created an additional set of responsibilities to be handled by software vendors.

Cameras, scanners and data collection processes have joined inventory tracking and accurate pricing as priorities for custom software used by recycling companies.

A session at the ISRI2021 online convention, hosted by the Washington-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), focused on answers performed by law enforcement agencies, recyclers and their suppliers in relation to a recent wave of catalytic converter thefts.

Anecdotes and statistics about converter theft as well as subsequent news items about more states  what pass converter anti-theft laws , seem to demonstrate that recyclers can expect more anti-theft compliance measures in the future.

US-based ScrapRight says it has coded “built-in rules” into its software that “come into action when a material has compliance requirements assigned to it. Visual cues appear on the screen when a ticket is in or out of compliance," according to the company

In May 2020, when COVID-19 began to affect the workplace, ScrapRight modified its vendor identification system to “promote the contactless ID scanning  for retail scrap transactions” through a new feature available in the company's current application.

As with converter theft, the California Redemption Value (CRV) system for recyclable cans and bottles in that state made headlines for the wrong reasons in 2021, with six people being arrested in april  this year for alleged involvement in a fraud scheme involving - state containers brought to California for ransom.

A US-based software vendor proposed to Recycling Today by 2020 that custom software enhancements used by recyclers may help provide a solution .

True Cloud ERP CEO Stacy Duty said at the time: “Our company is developing a cloud ERP [enterprise resource planning] solution that would allow the entire state to use a cloud solution that would allow every California resident who recycles to track your recycling and participate in rewards programs that increase the fun of recycling.”

The system devised by TrueCloud "enables electronic payments and would allow the state to start tracking where containers are coming from, while helping recycling centers remain in full compliance." Adds Dever, “Using this solution would allow baggage delivery like [neighboring state] Oregon did, so families would no longer need to stand in long lines. This allows for electronic payments and would allow the state to start tracking where containers are coming from, helping recycling centers remain in full compliance. ”

Whether addressing more efficient supply chain communication or more complete compliance, custom recycling software vendors are ready to continue to develop solutions to the industry's ever-changing set of challenges.

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