In 2012 Logan City decided it needed to solve a growing issue at their primary waste facility in Browns Plains. The facility could not keep up with the demand and it was getting worse. Queuing in peak times was considered by Council to be unacceptable and a solution to this was a priority. The Council sought the assistance of Mandalay to help design and implement a transaction and facility upgrade that would ensure it met the current and future demands of the growing Logan community.
Logan is home to more than 300,000 people from over 215 different cultures, with around 50 percent of residents aged 30 or younger. It is also one of the faster growing regions in Australia with the population expected to increase by 165,000 people over the next 20 years.
Council is committed to ensuring that its waste facilities and services keep up to speed with population growth and effectively assist in minimising waste going to landfill. The Waste Reduction and Recycling Plan 2013 – 2016 plays an important part in setting Council’s strategic direction to meet the city’s future waste and recycling needs.
Logan has five waste transfer stations located around the city and one landfill at Browns Plains. The Council employs some 50 people in the waste services branch. Council’s landfill at Browns Plains operates at best practice. It receives 200,000 tonnes of waste each year, of which approximately 150,000 tonnes is landfilled. On site, customers are charged for all waste they dispose of, except recyclables and donated items which are accepted free of charge. Disposal fees are designed to encourage recycling and reuse and are determined by a combination of ‘vehicle type’ and ‘per tonne’ rates. Council also provides free tipping vouchers to its ratepayers.
All items that can be reused are transferred to the Logan Recycling Market for sale. This is one of the largest recyclables shops in Australia. Proceeds from the Market assist local community groups in the form of project funding. In FY2014, 34 Logan community groups received funding.
Just under 20% of the 200,000 tonnes of waste received at the Browns Plains facility is self-hauled. This was creating a substantial traffic challenge at the site. On busy days the facility would serve close to 2,000 customers through a single entry weighbridge.
One operator managed the one weighbridge in and another on the way out. What was clear is that the infrastructure was inadequate to meet current community needs, let alone the future growth of the City. Long queues were a constant challenge at the facility. Customers could queue for 20 minutes or more on busy days, causing service quality issues and frustration.
This situation created a difficult work environment for the operator. They were often working in a highly stressful environment for long durations, which impacted their efficiency and morale.
To solve this politically charged challenge at the Browns Plains facility, the Council engaged the help of their incumbent waste management solution provider Mandalay. From the outset, Mandalay demonstrated good alignment and understanding of the Councils business needs.
“We knew what we wanted to achieve from the project, but Mandalay provided essential advice to help us establish a flexible and innovative solution that would ensure the site would meet current a future volume needs.” says Michael Asnicar, Waste Services Manager at Logan City Council.
At the core of the challenge was the need to be able to ensure reliable transaction processing by one or more operators. This is a key business process that requires a high degree of financial management and data integrity that can stand up to audit scrutiny. The backbone of any waste management infrastructure is the robust management of this significant revenue generation activity.
The facility was upgraded to include two entry weighbridges and a gated bypass lane supporting the exit weighbridge. Mandalay was involved in the design and implementation of the facility upgrade, recommending technology that would support a high degree of automation and transaction processing.
License plate recognition technology was deployed on entry and exit to assist with business process automation.
Now, frequent ‘account’ customers and council MSW deliveries are rapidly processed through the facility, using the unmanned secure bypass lane.
Staffing has been revised with the sole operator being supported with another operator in peak times involving high levels of self-haul transactions. This has significantly improved service delivery and provides a cost effective and flexible staffing arrangement.
The facility upgrade project has been a success. At peak times, the new entry arrangements allows Council to open up a second entry to double the rate of customer processing which significantly minimises queuing. As a consequence, service quality has improved, creating a better customer experience and feedback. Staff morale and productivity has improved, benefiting from a more appropriate work environment.
An additional benefit from overhauling the bypass lane and securing it is that now all site visitors are registered, using their vehicle licence plates. This has ended an issue previously occurring where unauthorised vehicles could exit through the bypass lane, avoiding fee payments
- Project was delivered on budget
- Decreased customer waiting times by more than 50%
- Increased processing capacity to meet growing demand
- Significantly reduced fee evasion at site
- Significantly improved staff working conditions
- Enhanced quality of service offered to the community.