Leading Australian waste management and recycling company, Alex Fraser, has signed off a complete $500,000 overhaul of its IT platform to boost efficiencies and future-proof its rapidly growing operation.
The company, which recently announced the sale of its 20 millionth tonne of recycled materials, has signed with Melbourne-based Fenwick Software, who have teamed with Alex Fraser to customise and implement a 25-user system comprising Microsoft Dynamics NAV together with enwis) – one of Europe’s leading waste-management and recycling IT systems.
Reflecting the rapidly increasing sophistication and growth of the Australian waste management and recycling industry, the software implementation is expected to significantly streamline the Alex Fraser business by replacing numerous old-fashioned and cumbersome proprietary software packages.
Alex Fraser Managing Director, Jamie McKellar, said the software implementation is a lynchpin in the company's growth strategy.
"The last 10 years has been a period of significant growth for the Alex Fraser Group as a whole and it is anticipated that the next 10 years will continue to accelerate," he said. "It's important that our software systems and procedures reflect our growing needs and will fulfil our requirements in the future. This significant IT investment will help facilitate this growth."
Alex Fraser IT Manager, Craig Bishop, says the new system will deliver a complete, integrated solution that will improve efficiencies, reduce double entries and errors, improve record keeping and reporting, assist the company to implement growth objectives and reduce costs.
"The main benefit of the new system is the high level of integration it offers," Craig explained. "We're not a high-tech company, so the simpler the system is to learn, use and understand, the better.
"The Microsoft Dynamics NAV interface looks a lot like Outlook, so it's a familiar interface that's very intuitive, which is important for our people.
"It will bring consistency and efficiencies throughout our business, without alienating people who might not be especially software savvy."
Since the Swire Group acquired a 51% interest in Alex Fraser about two years ago, the company – which has four sites in Melbourne and three in Queensland – has embarked on an aggressive growth strategy, and is currently exploring potential new markets, including waste-to-energy.
According to Craig Bishop, the new IT platform will assist the company's future growth. "Two of the biggest IT challenges of any large organisation is achieving integration between software applications, and choosing solutions that will grow with the company," he said.
"The best things about the NAV platform – which we didn’t have with our previous software applications – is that it already has a very high level of inherent integration, and it’s fully scalable – enabling us to easily add functionality as we grow and embrace new business challenges."
Alex Fraser's primary business is recycling concrete, extracting the steel and crushing the concrete for road making material. One of its more high-profile projects included the demolition of the Waverly Park AFL stadium in eastern Melbourne, which resulted in the salvage and recycling of 98% of the building. The company makes around 350 deliveries of raw and recycled-material a day across its Melbourne and Queensland sites. On average, 10,000 tonnes of recycled product are delivered each day, with each truck averaging six to seven trips a day. The Alex Fraser operation also includes hire of recycling bins, trucks, crushers and shears; steel and salvage sales; as well as truck and plant maintenance.
Craig said one of the most important aspects of the new IT implementation is managing the change among our staff, and he is working with Fenwick Software to plan information and training sessions that will explain the "ease and benefits the new software will deliver" and ensure everyone in the business is "on side".
"With all employees using the software, they will be interchanging a lot more, and talking the same language," Craig explained. "It will map all our business processes in one solution, enable single data entry and provide up-to-date information in all areas via a standardised data structure from weighbridge to general ledger, from the disposal site to cost accounting.
"Since we began talking to them in May 2007, we've been very impressed with Fenwick Software's professionalism and willingness to listen throughout the process. They’ve placed a big emphasis on keeping it simple to ensure the implementation is as successful as possible, which is something we really appreciate."
The software will be fully implemented across the Alex Fraser business by the first quarter of 2009.
"It is important that our software systems and procedures reflect our growing needs, and will fulfil our requirements in the future. The software implementation is a lynchpin in the company’s growth strategy."