Mark Jenkins, sales director at Egbert Taylor Group, says that our industry’s challenge is to become collaborative, to work better together to achieve more. He says that collaboration is our evolution, and although it might to be how Darwin would describe it, it’s vital to our future success
On hearing the word “evolution” I suspect that, like me, you brain conjures images of Charles Darwin and his revolutionary Theory of Evolution. I also suspect that you would not naturally associate it with the waste sector, let alone a bin manufacturer operating within it.
And up until 2012, that is what Taylor Bins was; a singular, and very traditional manufacturer that had been producing four-wheeled steel bins for five decades.
Then came the acquisition of Sellers Containers, which extended Taylor’s remit to include large bulk containers, hooklifts, skips and many other products. However it wasn’t until the recent partnership with Bigbelly and subsequently SmartBin and OMB Containers that Taylor Bins not only became one brand in a stable of five, under what is now the Egbert Taylor Group, but also a radically different business.
The truth is that Egbert Taylor Group, as it stands now, is the result of over 50 years of evolution. No longer is its sole purpose to provide bins, but to provide waste management solutions, ranging from a humble household waste bin through to large waste and recycling units and smart fill-level monitoring technology, solar compacting bins with the ability to facilitate “on-demand” waste collections. The result is that waste collection no longer has to be made “blind”, but with real time intelligence that enables collection teams to establish whether or not a bin is worth emptying before actually doing so.
The reason I highlight this is not to extol the virtues of Egbert Taylor Group but to illustrate how the term “together everyone achieves more” isn’t just a cliché but a truth. The good news is that given the size of the waste industry and the number of manufacturers and service providers located up and down the UK, the opportunities to work together are countless.
The Next Big Thing
In fact, to use another cliché, the next big thing – or at least the next significant advancement for the waste industry – could be located in the UK right now, in two, three or even more constituent parts, unaware that together they could be more successful as a collective.
A 2014 report published by UK Trade & Investment concluded that the UK’s waste management industry had a total annual turnover of £9bn and employed 70,000 people across 3,000 companies. Based on these figures alone we can see that the UK is home to a vast, rich and successful waste sector; but how much more successful could it be if the sector were to choose collaboration and evolution over protectionism and the status quo?
Can the sharing economy, which is typically associated with start-ups and technology companies, even be applied to the waste sector?
The waste sector is as diverse as it is vast and there are many innovative companies that, when successfully partnered, will suddenly become worth significantly more than their constituent parts.
Given how we have entered a period of austerity, where organisations are faced with having to achieve more for less, maybe it is time for UK companies operating in our sector to think more creatively when it comes to how they do business with the aim of creating a bigger, more successful environment. Not just to increase the value of our sector, but also to increase the value of the UK economy.
Some may argue that working in isolation and retaining secrets is what lies behind the success of some of the waste sector’s most prominent companies of today. Indeed, I am sure that the notion of a collaborative waste sector will be dismissed by many as idealistic.
The fact is that it can – and does – happen. Egbert Taylor Group and the difference it has made to its customers and the entire sector over the last 12 months is testament to it. The need to change, adapt and evolve is vital for the survival and advancement of our sector and the companies operating within it. The challenge now is to encourage the industry to become more collaborative; but even Charles Darwin had to start somewhere.