‘Everything We Wanted in One Package’ – Mitchell Shire Case Study
We had the opportunity to speak with Michelle Jorgensen – the acting Waste and Resource Recovery Coordinator for Mitchell Shire Council. Four resource recovery centres (RRCs) and a landfill are located within Mitchell Shire. Michelle is currently overseeing Council’s kerbside collection contract, public place bin collections and much more within the waste space.
The Mandalay products currently being utilised by Council’s Waste and Resource Recovery department includes the Facility Product Suite with automation at their landfill and EFTPOS Integration and Finance Integration at their RRCs.
‘ The ongoing support that Mandalay provides for their products has made the whole transition process much easier. We really can’t fault it ‘. – Michelle Jorgensen
When looking for a point of sale and data management software solution to introduce at their waste and resource recovery facilities, staff discovered that there were very few organisations in Victoria that used Mandalay products. Council’s previous weighbridge supplier had software included in the weighbridge itself and it was working off Windows 98. When the previous supplier lost their software developer, they could no longer complete any updates or make any improvements to the system, consequently the supplier suggested that council contact Mandalay to see if they could provide this service.
There weren’t many service options available that could be adapted to suit their needs, but the products offered by Mandalay suited the needs of Mitchell Shire Council at the time.
When Mandalay’s products were introduced, Mitchell Shire Council realised they also needed to redefine their processes and procedures to ensure they got the best out of the new system.
‘When we started with Mandalay, we also started redefining our processes along with our roles and responsibilities within the waste department. So, as we’ve grown as a department, our use of Mandalay has grown along with it’ – Michelle Jorgensen
Michelle says Mandalay has been 100% better than what they had in place previously, but if they had their time over again, they would have structured their approach differently.
Mitchell Shire Council is now continuously improving its processes for waste and resource recovery data management and is ensuring that as Mandalay develops new products, they continue to review and assess if they will assist to improve Council’s data management.
‘Mandalay are thinking into the future. They’re not just sitting in the moment. They’re getting feedback from their customers and considering the direction the waste industry is moving in. We find it very comforting as a customer to know that they are planning for the future.’ – Michelle Jorgensen
In the beginning, the primary requirement that resulted in Mitchell Shire Council choosing Mandalay was to update their landfill weighbridge software. Mandalay took the opportunity to also highlight to Council their available point of sale and data management software options for resource recovery centres (RRCs). This option appealed to Council as they were using a paper based system at their RRCs to manage sales and capture data.
The user-friendly interface of the software appealed to Council. The system provided everything they required in one package.
Michelle explained that the voucher management system was a fundamental feature that was required for Council in addition to having access to archived entries.
Helping Meet Objectives
Mitchell Shire Council’s key objective is continuous improvement of its waste and resource recovery data management. Data is used to make key decisions about future service design and delivery. It’s also needed for corporate and compliance reporting. Michelle admits that they are not where they want to be yet, but they are well and truly on their way. They want to be able to effectively service their customers which is what Mandalay is helping them to do.
‘We are seeing a future that we would like to focus on, and we would like to be an example to others of what is possible’ – Michelle Jorgensen
According to Michelle, when delivering a project like this, one thing that companies tend to underestimate is the customer service needs before, during and after it’s done. This is where a lot of companies fall down. This challenge was overcome by Mandalay thanks to their excellent customer service.
‘We’ve had completely open conversations and we’ve felt comfortable being able to share our views without any negativity.’ – Michelle Jorgensen
Before Council started using Mandalay, data management was all manual. With Mandalay, it’s all automatic. It has been kept nice and simple for operators, but in the background, the Waste and Resource Recovery team have been able to build reports and are able to think about how they want to structure them in the future.
For the resource recovery centres, one of the key issues for council was managing existing vouchers issued to residents with annual rates notices. They had no way of tracking voucher use in real time.
‘There were a number of risks involved in providing a voucher service, but once we saw the voucher management module from Mandalay, we knew that it had the potential to solve a lot of our issues straight away.’ – Michelle Jorgensen
The Benefits of Working With Mandalay
Since using Mandalay, the Waste and Resource Recovery team at Mitchell have been amazed by the data they can extract from a simple transaction. They can now collate data such as the postcodes of where customers reside, waste volumes through the gate, voucher use and so much more. They also have access to a lot more reporting functions than they ever envisaged.
Council’s Waste and Resource Recovery department is very data-driven – data is used for reporting purposes and drives service design and delivery.
‘Data management is very important to us. Mandalay has provided us with so much more information than we previously had access to. This data has been invaluable in our decision making and service design and delivery,.’ – Michelle Jorgensen
Another key benefit is being able to quantify the value of their voucher program. They can see and report on the actual usage figures. The data is now being used to guide how they can enhance voucher management for community groups and internal customers.
‘Once you start using it, you can see benefits in other areas and how it could be applied to serve the purposes that we need,’ – Michelle Jorgensen
The Waste and Resource Recovery operators now have more confidence in customer service because pricing is tallied through a point of sale system. Customers receive dockets with all the transaction information and if they use a voucher, they can see how many scans they have left.
The ability to share information from a site and the office and customers has been a great benefit too.
Cash transactions are more transparent using Mandalay. Daily banking reports are shared with the finance department, saving a significant amount of paperwork. There is a lot more of an audit trail now.
Another big positive has been the ability to get support and feedback from Mandalay without any negativity and forming really sound working relationships with the people that they’ve dealt with. If the Waste and Resource Recovery team are in a hurry for information and they need something done asap, Mandalay responds.
Michelle says she really couldn’t fault it. Having access to this level of customer service has been really important to them.
While every council and every company Mandalay deals with needs different things and there’s no one size fits all, it’s such a huge positive to be able to tailor elements of the products and service to suit their exact needs. As a company, Mandalay understands why customers need this customisation and it’s not just the product Mandalay understands, it’s the waste industry which makes a real difference.
For the Waste and Resource Recovery Team
The introduction of Mandalay’s software was so effective that every single one of their employees at the resource recovery centres could use it within an hour and a half of its introduction.
Michelle spent 6 weeks out on site at the facilities helping staff with the introduction of the new system. They went through troubleshooting and if something did go wrong, they were shown how to fix it. Staff were also provided with user manuals from Mandalay to help them through this training, along with quick help guides which they found very handy. These guides showed everything from starting up the tablet and what to do, along with what new vouchers look like and much more.
For the Work Environment
The system is helping to make the operators job simpler on site. The transaction data is recorded and can be used to respond to disputes and pricing queries.
Having that transparent data has also helped to start a two-way conversation between operators and other waste team members. Data is helping to promote good work, efficiency and make operators feel more valuable in their role.
For the Future
While the outcomes so-far have been incredibly positive, there’s so much more to come in the future. For example, Michelle envisages that there could be an option for vouchers to be able to be accessed independently of rates notices. This is something they hope to explore further through the Voucher Management product within the Resident Product Suite.
‘We have been able to develop our data bank with Mandalay. Our initial usage of the platform is not the same now as it was at the start. We have been able to continuously improve the way we use it as we have moved forward. It can initially be challenging when you take on a new product to envisage everything you will be able to use it for, but Mandalay have made it easy for us.’ – Michelle Jorgensen
Key Learnings and Advice
Michelle’s advice for others is to not be scared of implementing the change. The reason why you need to do it is to develop a platform so you can futureproof your organisation and continuously improve your business operations into the future. No one can rely on the old way of doing things anymore.
Michelle also encourages others to embrace data and use it to influence decisions that are being made. It also helps if someone in your organisation is passionate about data and understands how to use it.
‘You have to treat something like this as an investment. You have to put the work in to get the platform to be as successful as you would like; it is only as good as what you put into it. Don’t forget to look at customer service also. Good customer service doesn’t stop when the product has been installed.’ – Michelle Jorgensen