Defining a “good” Waste & Recycling Management Firm includes the quality and diversity of their Clients. Why is this important? When it comes to Waste & Recycling, the breadth and depth of a Management Firm’s experience makes all the difference. A lot of this experience will be dictated by the quality of their Clients. Their Client list should contain several easily recognizable brands. For example, Global 500 or Fortune 500 Companies typically do a deeper dive into the background, quality, reliability, reputation, systems and processes of their vendors. If the Management Firm you are considering has managed 1 or more of these Companies through 1 or more contract cycles, you are on the right track. This is a good qualifier, but never make a judgment based on “how many” of these Companies a Firm manages. Why? Simply due to the many changes in the Waste & Recycling landscape over the past decade or so. Since a lot of Global 500 and Fortune 500 Companies were early adopters of improving environmental efforts (because they have a lot of Shareholders to appease), many of these Companies hired Management Firms who were the largest or most well-known at the time. So, 10-15 years later are these the best Firms to go to today? Not by a long shot. Why? Being “perceived” as the biggest and best has its downsides (usually for the Customer). First of all, some of these Firms got “fat and happy.”
This means that they sat back and enjoyed being “king of the mountain” per se. They began dictating what they would or would not do for their Customer, began charging additional fees, and did not stay on top of the changes in the landscape of Waste & Recycling. Also, since these Management Firms were “known” for their Client-base of Global & Fortune 500 Companies, they gave the majority of their attention from a Customer service standpoint, to their biggest Clients. This left the remainder of their Clients will little to no support or oversight, which meant their Waste & Recycling programs were not improving. On the contrary, their programs were losing ground (recycling was not improving, cost were increasing, hauler service quality was decreasing, etc.). Many cost and environmentally savvy Companies (large to small) were able to determine the lack of quality management their programs were receiving, and intelligently went against “biggest is best” philosophy and found better quality Management Firms. But since big Companies are like big boats… it typically take them a long time to change direction, many of them are “still” with the largest Management Firms, but not receiving the best management programs offered today. This is why you should not base your decision on a Management Firm by “how many” Global or Fortune 500 Clients they have.
I also mentioned that defining a “good” Waste & Recycling Management Firm included their diversity of Clients. Why? Well, due to the complexity and diversity of the Waste & Recycling landscape today, if a Management Firm does not have a diverse Client-base they will most likely not have the experience and industry insight to develop and implement plans of all types. For example, if a Management Firm’s Clients are mainly Restaurant chains, they will be experienced in managing the associated types of Waste & Recycling (i.e. Standard Trash, Cardboard, Grease, etc.) in that specific environment. The downside is that they will most likely have “little to no” experience with other Waste types, disposal methods, recycling opportunities, etc. Also, they most likely will not have an in-depth expertise regarding the associated liability / security concerns of other industries such as Automotive, Distribution, Energy, Financial Services, Healthcare, Hospitality, Manufacturing, Retail, etc.
The diversity of a Management Firm’s Client-base is also important because it naturally generates a cross-pollination of ideas in dealing with different waste types. It causes the Management Firm to widen its scope and vision of how to deal with a wide variety of Client challenges. This environment will typically generate the most complete and effective Waste & Recycling Management plan for Clients.