Monitoring Metal Movement

What Metal Management Inc. ( does is pick up scrap metal from customer sites and deliver it to recycling facilities. It does that well, with 40 facilities in 13 states, net sales near $2 billion annually and more than five million tons of scrap metal handled last year. The company promises to complete scrap metal requests within 24 hours of placement of an order and to provide an audit trail, tracking the shipment from pick-up point to payment.

The company's Chicago branch handles its fleet in nine area collection facilities with more than 1,400 pick-up and deliveries a week. Previously orders were processed manually and driver data was recorded by hand then passed to a desk clerk for company computer entry. Additionally, drivers were required to furnish bills of lading or receipts, by hand, to customers at job sites.

To resolve these manual issues and move to a paperless environment, the Chicago branch has deployed an automated workforce management solution from Xora Inc. ( Now drivers use GPS-enabled cell phones to record time sheets and job status data. Web-based maps and reports permit office staff to view driver status throughout the day. Metal Management integrated Xora with its route optimization software and uses barcode scanners that can be attached to the phones. The result for dispatchers is a comprehensive, real time view of fleet operations. Bar code scanners scan containers at both pick up and delivery, providing tracking of assets in order to meet Sarbanes-Oxley requirements.

As jobs are completed and noted by the driver, the system automatically generates a receipt, sent as a PDF to the customer. Data is now used as part of a Metal Management paperless payroll system.

With the system in use, drivers are dispatched 10% faster, increasing efficiency and adding 190 hours each week, meaning $14,400 more billable freight per week. The Chicago branch estimates savings of $15,000 per year through reduced time for clerks entering data into its computer system.

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