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A fair future for waste

20 July 2018

Unnecessarily complicated waste management procurement and contract management processes, ambiguous pricing subject to change over time and a lack of clarity concerning contract deliverables mean that millions of pounds are being wasted across the public and private sector, according to Anenta, a leading independent environmental services contract management partner.

Graham Flynn, Anenta managing director, examines some of the key issues which need to be tackled urgently to drive more efficient waste contract management for businesses and large organisations like the NHS.

Continued analysis of private sector and NHS waste management contracts conducted by Anenta in the last four years has identified numerous issues which combined, present a significant opportunity to save up to 35% of an organisation’s annual waste management costs on average, and deliver change for the benefit of all stakeholders.

One of the principle issues is a lack of clarity. Many organisations are effectively running blind, the specific deliverables of a given contract being unclear, pricing being ambiguous and subject to change over time while data analysis is typically innadequate.

This coupled with poor use of suppliers’ capacity and frequent failures in agreed service levels in addition to low levels of staff feedback and engagement exacerbates the situation.

Seeking to address these issues and create a level playing field for suppliers, Anenta has already invested more than £1m developing a proprietary online waste management platform.

The goal was simple: to provide every customer with an easy to use system which delivers a bespoke service and provides best value. Technology was the enabler while the team’s experience in the waste management and health sector continues to provide the know how.

Delivered to private and public sector the services offered through the Anenta platform include recycling, general waste, sani-waste, confidential and clinical waste streams.

It is the cornerstone of Anenta’s business giving its management and operational teams a clear and comprehensive view of every contract. Significantly though, the real key to the success of the new system, is the empowerment of all stakeholders, an integral component of Anenta’s vision – creating and maintaining trust between the customer and service provider, underpinned by a correctly specified service.

Recording and tracking every customer interaction, Anenta’s platform provides complete audibility, makes pertinent information available when needed for all stakeholders and allows customers to manage their site’s services and specifications via a single interface.

Service issues are reported and managed proactively, missed collections investigated and rescheduled promptly and ad-hoc requests made and authorised as required.

This then provides a solid foundation from which invoicing and data validation can take place whilst giving insight into future expenditure. This level of control and accuracy of specifications is key but far from being the status quo.

In practice it means the customer has control over all elements of the contract including the self management of the number and types of bins, the frequency of collections and can view a clear calendar of deliveries, collections and expenditure.

The ability to manage waste contracts in this way has otherwise been sorely lacking. The issue is compounded by the fact that so many contracts are poorly specified and in the pubic sector specifically, tender packs are often reused by bidders, offering no service enhancements.

Little consideration is given to the potential savings that could be made by matching the service to specific requirements. This lack of control and documentation which should form part of the contract has effectively hamstrung organisations’ ability to reduce running costs and improve operational efficiency.

Developed to be representative of the way in which environmental services are procured and managed at contract and operational levels, the capability of Anenta’s platform is proven and in four years, this new way of working has enabled Anenta to save its customers millions of pounds.

Working with the NHS on existing contracts across 19 CCGs, Anenta has already saved the organisation over £3.2m. When extrapolated across England, potential savings of £7.5m annually become apparent.

Procurement of new contracts will see this figure increase dramatically by implementing contract control and accountability through the use of Anenta’s management platform and expertise.

Where this has already been done, the results speak for themselves. Working as NHS England’s managing agent for North London Primary Care, Anenta’s platform has enabled the team to align and standardise pricing schedules across five service providers, matching the customer’s requirements accurately to multiple contracts and optimising the service provision to use capacity more effectively.

In as little as 18 months, savings of £1.8m were delivered. The ability, and capacity to analyse data effectively has also enabled Anenta to highlight charges for services that have not been provided by waste management suppliers for numerous customers in both the public and private sector.

Innapropriate miscellaneous charges totalling over £2m have been identified by Anenta across its customer base and in the last three years waste contractors have refunded more than £500,000.

Clearly therefore, there is a real and significant opportunity for businesses large and small as well as organisations throughout the public sector, to make a step change in the way they procure and manage waste management contracts.

Basing this change on the principles applied by Anenta will not only create significant financial savings, but help to establish a level playing field between suppliers and customers and restore trust.

Ultimately this new approach will enable any given business or other organisation to focus more effectively on its primary purpose, in the case of the NHS, maintaining critical front line services.

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