Scrapblog

Some of the Science (and common sense) Behind Vehicle Routing Solutions

Published by: ScrapWare    On: January 25th, 2017    In: Blog, Truck Dispatch and Containers

From an article in http://theconversation.com/us.

This is an interesting article that provides some of the basic science and common sense behind vehicle routing solutions.

Our ScrapQuest™ tool uses similar mathematics and game theory in order to create more efficient routes for our ScrapWare customers.

You can read the full article here:

http://theconversation.com/why-ups-drivers-dont-turn-left-and-you-probably-shouldnt-either-71432

 

    

Self-Driving Roll-Off Trucks – The Way of the Future?

Published by: ScrapWare    On: November 21st, 2016    In: Blog, Truck Dispatch and Containers

From a Bloomberg.com article.

Could this be the way of the future for domestic scrap metal shipments that are made by truck?

It’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not the cost savings will be lower.

While it’s one thing to autonomously transport cases of beer in a semi-truck, it’s another to operate a self-driving roll-off truck.

It does make you wonder if automated roll-off trucks will be on the road in the not-to-distant-future.  Once their initial costs have been overcome, that could be a huge savings for recycling businesses that operate their own truck fleets.

In the meantime, recycling businesses should be making every effort to to run their truck fleets as efficiently as possible.

You can read the full article here:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-10-25/uber-self-driving-truck-packed-with-budweiser-makes-first-delivery-in-colorado

 

    

‘Nuclear’ Verdicts Have Insurers Running From Trucks – From Wall Street Journal

Published by: ScrapWare    On: November 20th, 2016    In: Blog, Truck Dispatch and Containers

This is a great article to read for anyone that operates their own truck fleets.

Especially true for those in the recycling business that operate several different types of rolling stock – including rolloff trucks, luggers, semis, etc.

To summarize the article from The Wall Street Journal:

Unwilling to bear the risk of large settlements and verdicts, Zurich Insurance Group AG and American International Group Inc. dropped coverage of most for-hire fleets earlier this year. Both insurers still cover trucks operated directly by retailers and manufacturers, brokers say. They had been two of the biggest underwriters for the business. Other insurers hiked premiums anywhere from 10% to 30%.

AIG stopped covering trucking fleets via its Lexington Insurance Co. unit as part of a wider effort to improve profits in its commercial insurance division, the company said in a statement. Other AIG units continue to cover truckers, the statement said.

Federal law requires trucking companies to cover drivers up to $750,000 per accident. Many self-insure up to around $1 million, then buy tiers of outside insurance to cover additional costs.

Surging_Premiums

 

The cost of that extra coverage is putting fresh pressure on the trucking industry, which already is mired in its worst slump since the recession. The average U.S. trucking company spent about 9.2 cents per mile on premiums in 2015, a figure that is up 44% in two years and doesn’t include this year’s hikes, according to the American Transportation Research Institute, an industry group. The figure is dwarfed by the 40 cents per mile spent on fuel and 50 cents per mile paid out to drivers. But diesel prices have fallen and salaries have edged up slightly, making the jump in premiums stand out.

Large accident settlements and verdicts became more common starting around 2011, although settlement amounts tend to be private and aren’t easily tracked. Aon counts at least six cases topping $20 million this year, the most since 2012. Part of the reason is a tactical shift among plaintiffs’ attorneys.

 

 

If you are a subscriber to The Wall Street Journal, you can read the full article here:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/nuclear-verdicts-have-insurers-running-from-trucks-1476437401

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

The “Peak Car” Era and Scrap Metal Implications…

Published by: ScrapWare    On: February 28th, 2014    In: Blog, Ferrous Scrap Metal

Lately, this subject has gotten a lot of media attention.

One of the best articles was recently published by Bloomberg.com.

Some of points covered in the article include car-induced pollution, traffic gridlock, driverless cars, mass-transit, car-sharing fleets, and a lack of desire by young people to get a driver’s license.  Another point of the article is that newer cars stay on the road longer.

The image below was excerpted from the Bloomberg.com story.  It projects reduced auto production basis the above points.

2-28-2014 10-00-31 AM

All of the above translates into fewer cars being manufactured.  This also implies fewer cars being scrapped.

There are hundreds of automobile shredders in the U.S.  Many are using our ScrapWare software in order to make them more efficient, anti-theft compliant and gain inventory awareness.

Shredded scrap is used as feedstock for electric arc furnaces by steel mills.  The steel mills produce the steel used to make new cars.  Cars also have a great deal of aluminum and copper.  That supply chain is not too different than that  of steel.  This is a great oversimplification, but you get the picture.

There is a global overcapacity of steel mills.  Decrease the annual production of cars by 25-30 million and the problem gets worse.  It will also trickle down to the entire steel supply chain, as well as the non-ferrous supply chain.

If we have truly arrived at “Peak Car”, the scrap metal recycling industry should begin discussing how to adjust accordingly.

 

 

    

Frozen Demolition Scrap Metal

Published by: ScrapWare    On: February 13th, 2014    In: Blog, Truck Dispatch and Containers

Here is a photo of a pile of scrap metal from a building demolition in Rockville, MD.

This photo was taken during a brutal cold snap.  As a result of the extreme weather, not much work was being done at the site.

This material was from the inside of the building and looks to be comprised mainly of aluminum.

Frozen_Scrap_Edit

The material was placed into a roll off container and sent to the scrap yard where it was baled and sold.

Since the photo was taken, the pace of the demolition has increased.  Several roll off containers have since been placed at the site and the building is coming down.

Scrap metal recycling companies are an important component of the demolition process.  They have the equipment and skills to store, cut-up and move the scrap metal generated by demolition projects.

Many of our customers use the ScrapWare Dispatch and Container Tracking modules to assist them in purchasing scrap from these types of industrial accounts.

ScrapWare generates the Dispatch Tickets used to move the containers onto the job site and keeps track of the containers at the job site.

Once a full container is returned to the scrap yard, ScrapWare handles the purchase of the material and prepares the Settlement, payment and the detailed reporting that will be sent to the demolition contractor.

This type of “end-to-end” or “cradle-to-grave” workflow provided by ScrapWare enables our customers to be very efficient at handling purchases from any type of industrial/commercial account.

    

Internal Theft – Fake Commercial/Industrial Accounts – Check the Vendor!

Published by: ScrapWare    On: December 9th, 2013    In: Blog, Internal Theft

We have seen many internal theft scams over the years.  These are scams that are perpetrated by company employees – office, scale or trading staff.

The vast majority of these personnel are honest.  However, some are not, and they can cause significant financial damage to your business.

Lately we heard about scams involving traders or sales reps.   You hire them to find local accounts and buy material.  Typically these accounts are machine shops, auto repair shops, printers, manufacturers, etc.  They are commonly called Commercial Vendors or Industrial Accounts and can be very valuable to a recycling business.

The dishonest employees found a weakness in a company’s internal procedures and exploited it.

The scams worked as follows:  Fake Commercial/Industrial accounts were setup by the trader.  Fake Purchase Tickets were entered for “delivered” material by the trader.  Real Settlement checks were sent to a PO Box and later cashed by the above trader.

All of the above worked perfectly.  That is until owners and managers discovered their actual physical inventory did not remotely reconcile with their Inventory Reports and Purchase Reports.

ScrapWare has many features to prevent internal theft, but they work in conjunction with proper due diligence and internal controls by owners and managers.

These scams may have failed if the new account would have required container service.  This would have required collusion with both scale and office personnel.   This adds more complexity and detection possibilities to the scam.

Owners and managers need to subject new accounts to a reality check.  It’s pretty simple to vet these accounts.  You need to check the address and schedule an appointment to visit their facility.  Once there, meet with their personnel and see what they do and exactly what scrap material they really generate.  Calling a new account is not enough, you just don’t know to whom you are speaking and this could be staged.

Another simple internal control is to have new accounts entered only by a trusted manager and then vetted as above, Purchases entered only by Scale personnel and Settlements processed only accounting staff, owners or managers.

The above steps will serve to ferret out dishonest employees and serve as an ongoing deterrent to internal theft by existing employees.

    

Cloud Computing with ScrapWare® Software

Published by: ScrapWare    On: November 26th, 2013    In: Cloud Computing

Cloud computing allows companies to minimize upfront infrastructure costs, and focus on things that differentiate their businesses instead of infrastructure.  Cloud computing allows companies to get their applications up and running faster, with improved manageability and less maintenance.

In the traditional “own” market, your Return on Investment (ROI) could require significant payback time when factoring in the consulting fees, installation services, etc. We have seen many cases where these decisions are both difficult and time-consuming for a recycling business.

Companies now need to demonstrate ROI very quickly.  Legacy software and hardware can’t keep up with multi-tenant, “instant on” and “instant off” cloud software, where up front expenditure is minimal and ROI is much faster.

Thanks to the power of the cloud, businesses can share computing power across platforms and there is a diminishing need to install complex, expensive boxes to house and maintain software.

The cloud version of our ScrapWare software is identical to that of our on-premises server version.  There is no need to accept fewer features for the sake of simplicity and the shorter ROI/instant gratification that is offered by the cloud.

If you have a reliable internet connection, our cloud version of ScrapWare may be for you.  If not, the on-premises server version of ScrapWare will do the job equally well.

Our ScrapWare software provides recycling businesses the option to rent software a software solution rather than purchase it.  This is superb solution for any company of any size in the recycling industry – Small companies just starting out, Midsize companies that are growing and Large companies that have multiple yards.

Regardless of how you deploy ScrapWare, you will still need desktop PC hardware, Touchscreen displays, Anti-Theft Compliance hardware (License Scanners, Signature Pads, Thumbprint Pads and Cameras) and printers.

Companies are adopting shared economy services for the benefits stated above.

Thus, the “rented business” has become a reality:  You pay for what you need, and are not stuck with what you don’t.

** Portions this blog entry were excerpted from an article in the Wall Street Journal article entitled “The Rented Business: The Shareconomy Hits IT Infrastructure” **

 

    

Dead Weight Scams

Published by: ScrapWare    On: October 22nd, 2013    In: Blog, Non-Ferrous Scrap Metal

Our customers are always on the lookout for scams to increase the weight of a load of material.

The usually occurs, but is not limited to, material purchased from retail vendors.

With ferrous loads (iron and steel) such as obsolete cars or white goods, we have seen sand, bricks and rocks placed in spaces that are hard to inspect.

In general, non-ferrous materials (copper, aluminum, brass, etc.) tend to be easier to inspect, since there is not a lot of places where dead weight could be hidden.

Recently, one of our customers was made aware of a very clever dead weight scam from one of their trading partners.

From the outside, the image below shows ordinary copper piping that is soldered together.   Our customers buy this all day long.

Copper wbatteries 001_35

Upon further inspection, the image below shows an AA battery was hidden in the tubing.

Copper wbatteries 006_35

Upon detailed inspection and dis-assembly of the piping structure, many AA batteries were found.

Copper wbatteries 009_35

It makes you wonder how many pounds of copper tubing may have been sabotaged in this manner, and how much money was paid for the extra dead weight.

Our ScrapWare software performs many functions to protect scrapyard owners from various scams that could be inflicted by retail or commercial vendors.

However, a scam like this could only have been prevented by additional vigilance of scale personnel.

    

ISRI Mid-Atlantic Chapter 2013 Oyster Roast – Closest to the Pin…

Published by: ScrapWare    On: October 7th, 2013    In: ScrapWare Promotional Items

Last week was the ISRI Mid-Atlantic Chapter’s 2013 Oyster Roast.

It’s an annual event and a great opportunity for us to meet and greet with our customers and prospective customers in this region.

There is some business discussed, as well as features and improvements we are making, and could be made to our ScrapWare software.

There is also golf tournament at the event.

This year we sponsored a “Closest-To-The-Pin” for a hole on the course.

Our David Layne represented ScrapWare Corporation at this event.

He was there for an entire day of golf and dinner.

The photo below shows David with one of his playing partners in his foursome.

It was a great event.  So great, that David does not know which player was closest to the pin on the hole we sponsored.

We also overlooked the incorrect spelling of our company name…

OR4_Edited

 

 

 

 

    

Quick and Interesting Facts about the U.S. Scrap Recycling Industry

Published by: ScrapWare    On: September 25th, 2013    In: Blog, U.S. Recycling Industry

The Institute of Scrap and Recycling Industries (ISRI), put out some interesting numbers from one of its recent studies:

The U.S. scrap recycling industry accounts for 462,780 direct and indirect jobs and represents more than $87 billion annually in economic activity.

The industry generates about $4 billion in state and local revenues annually and another $6.3 billion in federal taxes.

The scrap recycling industry provides for 0.55 percent of the nation’s total economic activity.

Exports comprise 39 percent of the industry’s economic activity, creating approximately 185,000 jobs and generating $33.9 billion in economic benefits

One can conclude from this study, that relative to its size, the U.S. scrap recycling industry generates a tremendous amount of economic activity.

As more electronic and non-metallic materials are recycled, the above numbers can be expected to increase.

Our ScrapWare software helped make a contribution to the above.

 

    

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