How ARC Recycles Manual Paper Processes into Deeper Insights and Increased Profitability
“Recycling the past and conserving the future” is Atlanta Recycling Company’s motto and mission. It has been helping businesses and charities all over the world liquidate, wholesale, recycle, and reuse, textiles and used apparel for four decades. Last year almost 32,000,000 pound of materials flowed through the small business, managed by a staff of 27. To enable them to keep pace with business growth while maximizing profits, the company engaged Quickbase Solutions Provider [QSP], Trinity. Trinity collaborated with the company to build out a Quickbase solution designed to drive more efficient processes and greater operational visibility.
- Paper based processes and lots of data entry
- Lack of visibility across operations obscured opportunities for growth and profitability
- Quickbase ecosystem of process improvement apps tailored to existing workflows
- Customized dashboards and reporting
- Barcode scanning workflow processes to improve productivity and accuracy
- On call support before, during, and after the build
- More accuracy and efficiency; same number of staff
- Driving higher profitability through better visibility
- Continued build outs that introduce process improvement to new areas of the business
For the past 40 years, Atlanta Recycling Company (ARC) has been helping businesses, mills, thrift stores and charities in over 38 countries liquidate product lines, wholesale remnants, and facilitate the reuse and recycling of surplus clothes, shoes, and accessories.
Every week, the company’s warehouse takes in about 600,000 pounds of material. To maximize profits, everything must be tracked and closely managed—from the way trailers are loaded, to the cost to ship and unpack, to processing and reselling. Executing all the steps along the way with paper-based processes and data entry across siloed systems was becoming increasingly burdensome for the small staff as the company grew.
“We wanted to ease the strain without increasing head count,” says Nader Baaklini, owner of Atlanta Recycling Company. We also wanted more visibility to make better business decisions. We chose Quickbase Solution Provider, Trinity, over a Salesforce consultancy because they best understood our small business, our workflows, and the process optimization we wanted to see.”
For over two decades Trinity has been helping companies improve their processes and drive greater insights with custom Quickbase applications and seamless system integrations. One of only five Gold QSP’s in the world, Trinity has held that position for two years, with good reason. They get top results. They were also recently recognized as the 2019 Quickbase Solution Provider of the Year.
“Our goal for ARC was to help them set a vision for the future and then quickly build out a Quickbase solution to take them there,” says Scott Burday, president of Trinity.
Transformation began with a series of calls between ARC and Trinity teams. The culmination of those discussions resulted in the creation of an online ecosystem of connected Quickbase applications. These easy-to-use tools have replaced disparate Excel and Word documents and streamlined and automated existing processes from receiving to inventory and sales.
Because the apps share a centralized data repository, the latest data on the business, it’s suppliers, and customers, can automatically feed into role-based dashboards and custom reports. This facilitates instant and highly accurate insights across everything from how much was loaded on a particular shipment to the most profitable suppliers and what they have in common. The system is also tightly integrated with QuickBooks which helps reduce data entry errors and makes accounting and financial reporting much easier and faster.
Small businesses need cutting-edge tech just as much as large ones but retaining a full-time developer to drive ongoing improvements is not often feasible. Trinity team members fill the gap by providing on-call guidance and expertise—whether that’s answering user training questions or addressing requests for ongoing enhancements that dovetail with growing and changing business needs.
The Trinity-built Quickbase process improvement solution has helped ARC realize the cost benefits of a more productive staff (without adding to it). Reducing the data entry burden in the front office alone is not only improving accuracy but also saving key managers an average of 10 hours a week. That time is being redirected into business-boosting activities such as trucking logistics that help move more volume more efficiently.
New and deeper business insights are driving improved profit margins. For example, Quickbase has enabled the company to quickly pinpoint less profitable vendors who are now directed to video on how to pack for maximum capacity and fast and easy offloading. Not only does this help the suppliers win more business by becoming preferred vendors, but it also raises ARC’s profits per load by reducing freight and labor costs and maximizing returns per trailer.
Trinity’s broad business and technological expertise, coupled with the flexibility and scalability of the Quickbase platform, also mean new process improvement ideas can be quickly and efficiently implemented to optimize more areas of the business. Such is the case for a new solution that replaces paper and pen records with a mobile barcode scanning application. It is expected to shave seconds off the processing of each pallet, which quickly adds up given that up to 1,000 pallets are offloaded every week.
“Without Trinity and Quickbase a lot of our vision wouldn’t have been realized,” says Baaklini. “We love our streamlined processes and workflows and that deep insight—all of which has enabled us to significantly improve our productivity and our bottom line.”