Customer Stories - UBCR

How trucking company UBCR maximizes efficiency with Compology to enable a sustainable supply chain

Customer Stories - UBCR

How trucking company UBCR maximizes efficiency with Compology to enable a sustainable supply chain

UBCR

Used Beverage Container Recovery (UBCR, LLC.) is the third-party pickup business that works for wholesalers and retailers in the successful Michigan beverage container deposit system. UBCR has been the exclusive pick-up agent for the Michigan Soft Drink Association and the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association for 20 years. The company handles deposit container storage and logistics by dropping off and picking up truck trailers at Michigan’s largest retailers.

Michigan’s deposit system has the highest recovery rate in the nation with an unprecedented rate of 89%. The way the container deposit system works is that each container returned is valued at 10 cents. As the product is delivered to the stores and sold to consumers, the ten-cent deposit moves in four steps, from wholesaler to store to consumer. As the used containers are redeemed in the stores, the ten-cent deposit moves in the opposite direction.

UBCR’s role comes in at step 5 in the deposit system, which is to collect, transport, and process empty beverage containers for Michigan’s largest retailers and return recyclable material to wholesalers. To date, UBCR has picked up more than 100 million cases each year from 600+ stores for more than 100 wholesalers.

Prior to June 2017, UBCR provided a few pickup methods for retailers. One method was the “drop and hook” which allowed the retailer to call UBCR when one of the trailers storing UBCs became filled to capacity.

Nick Kronsbein, Vice President and General Manager of UBCR, and his operations team realized there were some inefficiencies in this system. In the drop and hook model, UBCR was often over-serving retailers by sending drivers to pick up less than full truck loads, making each pick up extremely inefficient. In certain instances, UBCR would be driving 300 miles to pick up a trailer that was less than full! In the case of waiting for a retail customer to call in, the retailer would experience frustrations of backlog and overflow in their storage rooms when pick up could take up to 48 hours because of truck availability.

The challenges for UBCR were to:

  1. Reduce their own operating costs by identifying and eliminating inefficiencies
  2. Offer great rates to wholesalers to maintain their business
  3. Improve accountability and visibility in the collection process
  4. Help retailers offer a hassle-free container deposit system

The Solution

Identifying these challenges, Nick looked to modern technology for a solution. As he spoke with UBCR sister company, TOMRA, he shared his struggles. TOMRA recommended Compology’s camera-based container and trailer-monitoring technology, which they had been using with tremendous success in their own trailer operations. Nick soon realized that having eyes at each and every one of his trailers would allow him the ability to remotely know when each trailer was full and when exactly it needed to be picked up.

Compology’s in-trailer camera images provide remote visibility into UBCR’s trailer cargo as well as fullness by volume.

There would be no more guesstimates on drop and hook pickups and no more need for retailers to call in or have to wait up to 48 hrs for pick up. He knew with Compology’s images and fullness by volume measurements he could improve his service for retailers, reduce his own operating costs, and in turn, be a better partner for his wholesalers, all while contributing to UBCR’s overarching sustainability goals.

After conducting a cost/benefit analysis, Nick quickly realized using Compology’s cargo monitoring technology would be game changing and that he would be able to pay back his investment in Compology in only a few months. In June of 2017, UBCR began using Compology’s technology and hasn’t looked back.

150

Annual pickups eliminated

15,000

Miles saved per year

25

tons of CO2 reduced

Compology’s trailer cameras paired with AI-powered software allows the UBCR team to dispatch more efficiently, decrease transport costs, and reduce its carbon footprint. They now check on a trailer from their office instead of sending an 18-wheeler to the same container location. Compology has enabled UBCR to eliminate an average of 150 truck trips per year, increasing fullness at pickup and saving 15,000 vehicle miles and over 25 tons of CO2.

UBCR is now:

  1. Operating at max efficiency by only retrieving trailers when they meet the designated minimum fullness volume
    1. This keeps operating costs as low as possible with reduced fuel and truck maintenance costs and elimination of unnecessary asset purchases, like trucks and trailers, from inefficient operations.  
    2. In turn, UBCR can keep collection rates low for distributors.
    3. And operate more sustainably by keeping more trucks off the road, helping reduce CO2 emissions.
    4. UBCR can also improve safety for drivers by limiting their time on the road, reducing the risk of accidents and during the current COVID-19 pandemic, limiting their exposure as best as possible!
    5. UBCR is now also able to monitor trailer yards and process the correct trailers at the right times.
  2. Improving accountability & product quality
    1. In-trailer images help keep accurate and precise historical records of how much material was collected from a retailer and how much scrap material was delivered to the processing plant.
    2. Increased visibility and monitoring allow UBCR to provide a consistent flow of quality, clean recyclable material to be reused, rather than commingled, dirty material.
  3. Ensuring timely, efficient pick up for retailers to avoid bottle room management overflows or deposit bins that sit full and unusable, making the container return process as hassle free as possible for shoppers, maximizing their shopping experience.

The Michigan recycling incentive program is so effective that the average Michigan citizen recycles over 5x as much as the average US citizen! That makes UBCR’s efficiency in handling deposit container storage and logistics for Michigan’s largest retailers vital to driving UBCR’s, the program’s and the state’s sustainability success.

The ability to keep an eye on all of our trailers from a single dashboard has been an incredible tool for our dispatch team. We can now know exactly how full a trailer is and when to go get it without having to waste fuel and resources on empty or less than full miles driven. And by keeping our costs low, we can provide service to wholesalers for rates that no one else can.

Nick Kronsbein, Vice President and General Manager of UBCR

Compology’s wide-angle cameras give you full visibility to the cargo inside any trailer.

Used Beverage Container Recovery (UBCR, LLC.) is the third-party pickup business that works for wholesalers and retailers in the successful Michigan beverage container deposit system. UBCR has been the exclusive pick-up agent for the Michigan Soft Drink Association and the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association for 20 years. The company handles deposit container storage and logistics by dropping off and picking up truck trailers at Michigan’s largest retailers.

Michigan’s deposit system has the highest recovery rate in the nation with an unprecedented rate of 89%. The way the container deposit system works is that each container returned is valued at 10 cents. As the product is delivered to the stores and sold to consumers, the ten-cent deposit moves in four steps, from wholesaler to store to consumer. As the used containers are redeemed in the stores, the ten-cent deposit moves in the opposite direction.

UBCR’s role comes in at step 5 in the deposit system, which is to collect, transport, and process empty beverage containers for Michigan’s largest retailers and return recyclable material to wholesalers. To date, UBCR has picked up more than 100 million cases each year from 600+ stores for more than 100 wholesalers.

Prior to June 2017, UBCR provided a few pickup methods for retailers. One method was the “drop and hook” which allowed the retailer to call UBCR when one of the trailers storing UBCs became filled to capacity.

Nick Kronsbein, Vice President and General Manager of UBCR, and his operations team realized there were some inefficiencies in this system. In the drop and hook model, UBCR was often over-serving retailers by sending drivers to pick up less than full truck loads, making each pick up extremely inefficient. In certain instances, UBCR would be driving 300 miles to pick up a trailer that was less than full! In the case of waiting for a retail customer to call in, the retailer would experience frustrations of backlog and overflow in their storage rooms when pick up could take up to 48 hours because of truck availability.

The challenges for UBCR were to:

  1. Reduce their own operating costs by identifying and eliminating inefficiencies
  2. Offer great rates to wholesalers to maintain their business
  3. Improve accountability and visibility in the collection process
  4. Help retailers offer a hassle-free container deposit system

The Solution

Identifying these challenges, Nick looked to modern technology for a solution. As he spoke with UBCR sister company, TOMRA, he shared his struggles. TOMRA recommended Compology’s camera-based container and trailer-monitoring technology, which they had been using with tremendous success in their own trailer operations. Nick soon realized that having eyes at each and every one of his trailers would allow him the ability to remotely know when each trailer was full and when exactly it needed to be picked up.

Compology’s in-trailer camera images provide remote visibility into UBCR’s trailer cargo as well as fullness by volume.

There would be no more guesstimates on drop and hook pickups and no more need for retailers to call in or have to wait up to 48 hrs for pick up. He knew with Compology’s images and fullness by volume measurements he could improve his service for retailers, reduce his own operating costs, and in turn, be a better partner for his wholesalers, all while contributing to UBCR’s overarching sustainability goals.

After conducting a cost/benefit analysis, Nick quickly realized using Compology’s cargo monitoring technology would be game changing and that he would be able to pay back his investment in Compology in only a few months. In June of 2017, UBCR began using Compology’s technology and hasn’t looked back.

Compology’s trailer cameras paired with AI-powered software allows the UBCR team to dispatch more efficiently, decrease transport costs, and reduce its carbon footprint. They now check on a trailer from their office instead of sending an 18-wheeler to the same container location. Compology has enabled UBCR to eliminate an average of 150 truck trips per year, increasing fullness at pickup and saving 15,000 vehicle miles and over 25 tons of CO2.

UBCR is now:

  1. Operating at max efficiency by only retrieving trailers when they meet the designated minimum fullness volume
    1. This keeps operating costs as low as possible with reduced fuel and truck maintenance costs and elimination of unnecessary asset purchases, like trucks and trailers, from inefficient operations.  
    2. In turn, UBCR can keep collection rates low for distributors.
    3. And operate more sustainably by keeping more trucks off the road, helping reduce CO2 emissions.
    4. UBCR can also improve safety for drivers by limiting their time on the road, reducing the risk of accidents and during the current COVID-19 pandemic, limiting their exposure as best as possible!
    5. UBCR is now also able to monitor trailer yards and process the correct trailers at the right times.
  2. Improving accountability & product quality
    1. In-trailer images help keep accurate and precise historical records of how much material was collected from a retailer and how much scrap material was delivered to the processing plant.
    2. Increased visibility and monitoring allow UBCR to provide a consistent flow of quality, clean recyclable material to be reused, rather than commingled, dirty material.
  3. Ensuring timely, efficient pick up for retailers to avoid bottle room management overflows or deposit bins that sit full and unusable, making the container return process as hassle free as possible for shoppers, maximizing their shopping experience.

The Michigan recycling incentive program is so effective that the average Michigan citizen recycles over 5x as much as the average US citizen! That makes UBCR’s efficiency in handling deposit container storage and logistics for Michigan’s largest retailers vital to driving UBCR’s, the program’s and the state’s sustainability success.

The ability to keep an eye on all of our trailers from a single dashboard has been an incredible tool for our dispatch team. We can now know exactly how full a trailer is and when to go get it without having to waste fuel and resources on empty or less than full miles driven. And by keeping our costs low, we can provide service to wholesalers for rates that no one else can.

Nick Kronsbein, Vice President and General Manager of UBCR

Compology’s wide-angle cameras give you full visibility to the cargo inside any trailer.

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