Bespoke Database Application for Tornado Recycling
Simplicity, greater visibility of the business and full traceability are all key components of Tornado Recycling's online database application success. Evergreen's custom web application development has saved Tornado Recycling clients about £25,000 a year in reduced overhead costs in addition to assuring that their businesses remain compliant within the new strict regulations of the scrap metal industry.
Entrepreneur and industry compliance expert Spencer Smith needed an urgent database solution for his clients due to new compliance regulations in the scrap metal industry which were introduced in February 2013.
Evergreen created a flexible, bespoke online database application that was easy to use, robust and secure.
- The ability to capture and store data from printed sources to meet the new industry compliance requirements by using optical character recognition (OCR).
- Simplicity, greater visibility of the business and full traceability to comply with latest industry regulations.
- Secure full identity storage and management.
- All types of payment options covered.
- Accounts are managed quickly and efficiently with automated online invoicing and waste transfer documentation.
Over 400 million tonnes of metal are recycled worldwide each year and the UK industry alone is worth £5.6 billion, employing over 8,000 people. When Operation Tornado (a scheme involving scrap metal recyclers designed to crack down on metal theft) was developed by the British Metals Recycling Association and the police, resulting in new industry compliance legislation, successful businessman Spencer Smith spotted a lucrative gap in the market for a system to ensure scrap metal dealers could remain compliant. One of Spencer's clients needed an urgent database solution due to the new compliance in the scrap metal industry and in September 2012, on recommendation from a long-standing business partner, he contacted the Gloucestershire based bespoke software application specialists Evergreen for their help. Evergreen's proven track record in creating database solutions using bespoke software development across a wide range of industry sectors impressed the West Midlands based entrepreneur and so the partnership began.
In December 2012 strict new rules came into force, effectively outlawing cash transactions for scrap or waste metal. All dealers had to put arrangements in place for cheque or electronic funds payments or face losing their operating licence. Many software compliance companies were charging tens of thousands of pounds for systems that did not totally live up to expectations and a market emerged for a database system that was sophisticated, complex and simple to use but also affordable. The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 that was passed into law on 28th February 2013 also required anyone selling scrap metal to participating dealers to provide photographic proof of identity, which could be recorded and kept by the dealer for 2 years for possible inspection.
A database solution that ensures total compliance
Says Spencer, 'We were looking for a database solution that would ensure total compliance for scrap metal dealers. It had to be simple and easy to use, cover all types of payment options, have total ID storage and management, have government level security and the ability to manage accounts in seconds. Evergreen delivered the ultimate database solution that covered everything that was needed for compliance.'
Evergreen created a secure and flexible database system and using their expertise in customer relationship management (CRM) and web applications created robust payment solutions. The use of optical character recognition (OCR), where scanned images or typed text are converted into machine-encoded text ensured that the system was able to capture and store data from printed sources to meet the new industry compliance requirements.
Tornado Recycling Ltd was officially formed in January 2013 and the new Tornado system underpinned by Evergreen's bespoke application software and database expertise was launched. Spencer Smith is enthusiastic about the Tornado system sales to date. 'In a matter of months we've gone from just a handful of clients purchasing the system, to upwards of 30 with new orders being received daily. I can't thank Evergreen enough.'
Simplicity, traceability and greater visibility of the business
Simplicity, traceability and greater visibility of the business are all key components of the system's success as well as the time and cost saving advantages that a bespoke application software solution brings to a business. Spencer estimates that both Tornado Recycling's own bespoke CRM system (created by Evergreen) and the new Tornado system developed for their clients will save their business and those of their clients about £25,000 a year each in reduced overhead costs. The ability to produce accurate reports at the touch of a button enable both the Tornado Recycling team and their clients to know exactly what needs to be done when. All the processes are in one place and the system is very easily to follow, which is very important to scrap metal merchants who have perhaps been rather nervous and sceptical about the introduction of advanced computerisation within the workplace.
Any new compliance legislation is always unwelcome within any industry but scrap metal dealers have a tendency to be technophobic and this was an obstacle that Evergreen helped Tornado Recycling to overcome. Computer shy dealers can now perform complex tasks simply and efficiently at the touch of a button.' Our clients have told us that the system is the best value and easiest to use in the UK market today and it is for that reason that they are converting to Tornado.'
Asked what feature of the system would be difficult to do with out now, director Spencer Smith is hard pressed to pinpoint just one element as he explains that the system as whole has enabled him to grow and transform his business. However, on further questioning, he identifies 'integration with payment mechanism' as the jewel in the crown being 'highly secure and allowing users to make instant payments from the system as well as affording complete traceability for industry regulator scrutiny.'
One of the great advantages of bespoke application software development is that unlike off the shelf solutions, the system can grow as the business grows and is very adaptable at minimal cost. Even though the Tornado system has only been live for a few months it has been consistently enhanced, maturing simultaneously with the rapid growth in sales of the Tornado system, as Spencer points out 'It has been a very simple process to communicate with the Evergreen team. I have been able to make Instant modifications and improvements with an abundance of confidence.'
Trust and integrity from start to finish
Tornado's Director, Spencer Smith feels that the system is now relatively optimal but further developments will be dependent on the needs of his scrap metal customers and any further industry legislative changes. Spencer's company is committed to achieving targeted diversification, whilst fine-tuning existing business operations and in turn reducing overheads and maximising profits. With Evergreen as Tornado's approved technical partner, providing the functionality behind the entrepreneurial drive and enthusiasm of Spencer Smith and his team, more business opportunities in other industry sectors in need of cloud solutions are being explored. Says Spencer of Evergreen, 'I trust their innovation – there has been trust and integrity from the very start of our business relationship. Evergreen do what they say and at a competitive price.' He goes on to explain that other web developers and internet marketing people that he has worked with have tended to overcomplicate matters purely to extract more money but he trusts Evergreen's integrity. 'They are always willing to offer an alternative suggestion if they feel that what is being asked of them is not the right way to move forward to optimise the functionality of the system.'
Bespoke application software development is not the only string to Evergreen's bow and Tornado have also engaged the Gloucestershire web application experts to create a new marketing website to showcase the new Tornado system.
Teething problems are often experienced with the launch of a new product or system. Spencer recalls a problem he had with a faulty switch relating to some servers that were being upgraded. 'Evergreen helped resolve the emergency for us on a Sunday morning even though it was not their fault that the problem happened in the first place. That's service for you! They have as much passion and commitment to their business and customer service as we do to ours, which makes for a very solid partnership. The support we have received from Evergreen has been outstanding.'
Spencer Smith has already recommended Evergreen to other businesses interested in bespoke application software and payment integration systems and will continue to do so. 'Evergreen's initiative to provide internet solutions is exceptional giving us endless business opportunities. It has been a life-changing experience working with Evergreen. We could not have achieved what we have done so far without them.'