Like a new piece of yard equipment, software has become an indispensable tool for recycling companies. Unlike the latest shredder, software is an intangible purchase, which can make choosing a recycling software solution seem daunting for business owners. The right purchase can have a significant impact on the success of your recycling operation by helping improve productivity, increase profitability, streamline operations and help with anti-theft compliance.
Here are some parameters recycling companies can use in purchasing a recycling software solution.
Personal and industry workflow compatibility
Does it integrate with the way you run your business? One criteria to help match software function to the way your business works is whether the software was designed specifically for the recycling industry. For example, does the software set up commercial and industrial purchases and settlements the way you currently manage these transactions? Software programs should not require you to revamp your management system.
Depth and breadth of features
A recycling software solution will include numerous modules that manage purchases, sales, inventory management, contracts and more. Within each module, there should be numerous functions that allow the user to easily enter, manage and evaluate the information and data. A high quality software solution will allow the user to look at their business and analyze what is happening with various aspects of their operation in real time.
Ease of use and user experience
A recycling software solution is only going to be successful if it is easy to use. It should be intuitive and logical. Additionally, a quality software interface does not have to be utilitarian. Rather, a modern software product will be cleverly designed and appealing to operate.
Technical support and customer service
When evaluating the quality of tech support, consider the following questions. If you need help using the software or have technical questions, what are the means of getting customer service? How quickly can you connect with someone who can provide prompt, live technical support? How can you contact the support personnel–by phone, email, or do you need to set up an advance appointment? Is support available during routine business hours only, or can you get support after hours or weekends if need be?
Look for high quality training materials for your software system. An online training system, for instance, allows users to train in a flexible manner on their own time. Good online training will move users through the material in a methodical way, so once they have mastered one part of the usage, they advance in an orderly and prudently paced manner. Written material should be available in addition to online resources.
A software solution should interface with a client’s existing ledger system, instead of requiring them to abandon their ledger system and start over. Good recycling software will interface with common ledger software packages like QuickBooks, Great Plains or MAS 500.
When choosing software, business owners should consider whether they need anything customized for unique or specific processes in their recycling business. High quality software solutions should be customizable. Additionally, the customizations should be designed to allow them to be supported in future software updates and fully supported by customer service.
As your company grows, can your software grow with you? A recycling software solution should be able to grow, change and adapt as your business grows in the future. This might include adding more yards, adding more employees, or adding functionality like truck dispatching, container tracking or anything else.
Cloud-based versus on-premises
A software solution may rely on a server on your premises or it may be cloud-based. At this time, the future of vertical market software is cloud-based systems. They are more reliable and easier to upgrade and maintain. Recycling software should use a reliable database system like Oracle. If the software does not use a modern, high quality database, it may have database limitations which will cause problems in the future.
The software should run on state-of-the-art hardware like Windows10 desktop computers.
Anti-theft hardware interface
License scanners, signature capture pads, fingerprint capture pads, cameras and scales all need to interface directly with the software. The software should also have interfaces for hardware like ATMs, cash dispensers and printers for printing scale tickets and other documents. Scrap recyclers need this hardware to be in compliance with anti-theft laws and improve productivity in their scrap yard.
Interface with other software products
In addition to hardware interfaces, a high quality software solution needs to interface with other software products. Examples would be interfaces with anti-theft compliance programs like Leads Online or Business Watch International or banking interfaces like Positive Pay.
Updates to software enhance functionality, add new features and offer other improvements. A high quality software solution will have at least quarterly update releases.
A good recycling software solution will be well-liked by current users. Read customer testimonials posted on a company’s website and talk to existing customers about how long they have used the product and what their experience has been.
ScrapWare Corp., of Rockville, MD, has been providing software to the scrap metal recycling industry for over 30 years. ScrapWare uses an Oracle database to provide a cloud-based software solution to manage all aspects of a recycling business. With numerous modules, extensive technical support, remote installation and online training, ScrapWare helps recycling companies with compliance, efficiency and profitability. Check out ScrapWare’s website, read the user testimonials, and see its offerings for your recycling software solution.