Most of us would agree that the recycling industry is cost-conscious and price-sensitive. We are always on the look-out for breakthrough solutions to some of the challenges we are facing today, with freight costs often the common denominator in our decision-making process. This begs the question: are we working harder or smarter to maintain our market and to improve our margins?
In this new age of post-China consumption, in which the industry cash-cow’s demand for recyclables has waned, we are forced to look for new markets for our materials. We have to be creative and to adopt new methodologies regarding, for example, logistics, data management, customer relationships, returns and cargo security. It is particularly important to protect our cargo when we expand into new territories.
I recently attended the Trans-Pacific Maritime Conference in Long Beach, California, where the focus was digitisation of the supply chain in order to increase overall visibility and predictability. Lending credence to my statement above, I ran into esteemed BIR colleagues at the event. It was clear that the benefits and opportunities afforded by a well-managed supply chain and visibility were key to industry leaders and other individuals in their efforts to remain competitive in our ever-changing field. I applaud this forward-thinking approach and would ask our members to see this as an example of embracing progress.
Consider the idea and impact of digitisation on our industry and of new ways to protect your assets or, in other words, your valuable cargoes. It is now possible to utilise “connected” maritime containers supported by digital platforms that allow users to tie the date, location and time stamps of unauthorised breaches to the containers you use while at the same time monitoring multiple internal parameters. These systems employ a combination of scheduled reporting and immediate alerts, providing control and visibility like never before.
Our group has expanded its business out of necessity and has entered into the Internet of Things to protect our cargo and our commercial relationships. We created an internal breach detection system that is mounted completely inside the container. It is time to raise the bar: using obsolete plastic inert seals mounted outside containers is not sufficient. Considering the technology available, we should all follow our counterparts attending the Trans-Pacific Maritime Conference; we should be creative, protect our cargo and monitor our valuables throughout the entire logistics chain.
BMB Metals (USA), Founding Chairman of the BIR Latin America Committee