COVID-19 Case Study: Waste & Scrap Metal Recycling
In recent years, Sackers has invested in plant and equipment that allows it to handle and process all grades of scrap metal and waste. The metal shredder it purchased in 2008, is the only one in East Anglia. It allows the business to recycle a hundred percent of its metal and is the final processor before the metal is exported around the world.
MD of Sackers, David Dodds explains how Sackers has been affected by the pandemic.
“We are not your obvious scrap yard. We are experts in processing scrap metal and sorting it into purer groups within ferrous and non-ferrous categories. The goods are sold for recycling to other manufacturers and we ship around the world. A small amount goes to Europe, but our international sales come mainly from outside the EU.
At quite an early stage, we experienced a downturn in our international business. As we mostly trade with China and India who were hit the hardest, getting containers back from those countries was a priority. However, they were very slow to return. Overall, there was probably a 40-50% downturn for us in this side of the business.
Our commercial waste division also took a downturn as businesses temporarily closed and moved to working from home. However, the upside to this was that during lockdown, and with all civic amenity sites closed, the demand for hiring skips increased as people were doing more DIY.
Adapting to keep trading
The way we adapted to keep trading was twofold. We had to introduce procedures to turn skips around quicker, so that we could meet the increased demand. We also launched a man in a van service, to help with loads that weren’t big enough for a skip but would normally go to council tips or recycling centres.
We also launched to our existing and new customers, cleaning and safe waste disposal protocols for COVID-19 at our bases in Claydon and Needham Market. Members of our team that could, worked from home, but for those that had to come in to our sites, we implemented a social distancing plan for staff and customers; luckily most of the staff that had to be in worked in the external environment.
Reflecting on the past few months and the things we have learnt; the situation has made us more efficient. We have reviewed all our business processes and made cost savings where we can. The pandemic has also given us the opportunity to build better local and UK connections; something which has allowed us to do more trade locally given the international routes being stifled.
Above all, the COVID-19 pandemic has made us adapt as a business; finding value in working more closely with local suppliers which has unlocked more revenue streams for us and them.
One thing is certain; you find out how brilliant and innovative your team is when your back is up against the wall!”