The software specialist with the grand vision

Written by: RWW | Published:

AMCS provides private and public sector clients with the tools to gather evidence-based data that will be used to inform local authorities about their residents’ waste and recycling habits and, where necessary, encourage change. Geraldine Faulkner catches up with Jimmy Martin, CEO of AMCS, to find out more.

Jimmy Martin is most definitely not a tunnel-visioned IT geek.

Despite having a 1st class honour’s degree in maths and physics as well as a masters in computer systems, the co-founder and chief executive officer of the AMCS Group, software and technology specialists, has his focus firmly fixed on the wider picture. In his case, this is all about helping waste management organisations turn into resource recovery specialists. And if that is not enough, Martin also wants to assist AMCS’ public and private sector clients to bring about behaviour change in their recycling habits.

Tall order? Perhaps but it is one that the CEO and his colleagues are keen to take on.

So who is the AMCS Group?

It is a company that delivers integrated environmental software and solutions to the recycling and waste sector.

“Our key areas of expertise fall into software development and delivery, on-vehicle technology, dynamic weighbridge and project management,” says Martin before adding: “Our client approach has been built around identifying how our solutions can deliver quantifiable improvements.”

So far, AMCS offers clients between 12-15 products on vehicle technology or automated vehicle technology, however, there is no doubt that the company’s number one offerings are its software and technology brands..

“We are quite unique in providing these solutions as we are completely focused on the waste and recycling markets,” states Martin.

So what kind of products are we talking about? FEL Weigh, for instance, is a system that enables clients to accurately weigh each lift/load and capture pertinent data in order to optimise waste collection.

“FEL Weigh allows you to identify unprofitable customers by collecting data on the weight of their containers and harness this knowledge to take necessary action and guarantee customer profitability,” explains the company CEO.

How does it work?

The system weighs each lift/load in order to optimise waste and recycling collections and increase profitability.

By weighing the container on the way up and again on the way down, the net weight is automatically calculated and displayed for the driver in an in-cab display without the need for driver interaction.

GPS coordinates for each lift are collected in the vehicle data hub (VDH) unit which is installed on the chassis with the option of having the data transferred automatically to the office in real-time over a wireless network; thereby making the data collected more efficient.

In terms of a return on investment in the system, Martin points to the advantages of FEL Weigh.

“FEL Weigh allows customers to understand the profitability of each customer and to ensure there are no loss-making customers’ waste being collected. Also by using the GPS data and sensor technology each lift is measured to ensure it is your customer; thereby reducing revenue leakage due to unknown bins being collected.

“The ROI is less than six months on a full implementation of the system which also enables clients to increase service quality thus improving customer retention,” adds Martin who confesses to being “really passionate” about helping what have historically been waste logistic companies to what is now manufacturing specialists who are maximising the most out of waste streams.

“You are now talking about manufacturing processes on wheels where you take a resource and turn it into various materials that you feed back into the economy. It is all about keeping the resources you have and reusing them.

“Our aim is to help customers measure the materials going in and understand what they are. It is then up to the client to use that information to change the behaviour of their customers,” explains the company co-founder.

Is there a difference between the private and public sectors?

“While the commercial side has moved on, the municipal side still has a long way to go,” he replies. “Local authorities tend not to look at how they can increase their revenue; instead they just focus on the cost.

“The private sector clients understand they have to become a resource company as that is where the future lies. The municipal market hasn’t caught up with that mindset yet.”

One of the chief executive officer’s biggest bugbears is food waste.

“I was looking at the statistics recently and it seems every household throws away £60 worth of food per month,” states Martin. “Multiply that by each household in the UK and it is a huge number. You should prevent the waste in the first place.

“Around 30% of uneaten food is dumped into landfill. This means farmers are producing food; a third of which simply gets thrown away. I think there’s something wrong in the whole food chain and it is going to be a challenge for the bigger supermarkets to address,” continues the company’s CEO.

AMCS provides its clients, i.e. the waste management specialists who work with supermarkets, with the means to obtain real-time information by tracking refuse collection vehicles in real-time.

What about the future? What other technologies is AMCS looking at?

“Another big challenge is contamination. At the moment contamination levels are as high as 15% and the expense in dealing with contaminated waste is huge.

“If you have one non-performing customer, the knock-on effect is vast. This issue is going to be key over the next few years and it’s something we are already looking into.”

The CEO pauses before adding: “There is still a lot of work to do.”

And you can’t help but get the impression he can’t wait to get started.   

AMCS History

AMCS Group was co-founded by Jimmy Martin and Austin Ryan in Limerick, Ireland in 2003. “Recognising a gap in the industry, we saw the benefit of introducing RFID technology to the recycling and waste industry. To complement this, we designed weighing technology that is now employed by the majority of the Irish recycling and waste industry, especially for the implementation of pay-as-you-throw and pay-by-weight collection schemes,” says Martin.

AMCS acquired The Solution Works in 2010, a business with a focus on ERP systems designed specifically for the recycling and waste markets.

In Summer 2012, AMCS France was established. “Since then we are continuing to grow as a leading provider of technology solutions to French recycling and waste management operators. Our solutions are primarily enabling local authorities to charge for recycling and waste collections,” adds Martin.Wånelid AB was acquired in 2012, a Swedish company with expertise in weighbridges and weighing technology.

Key to the success of this business has been the development and supply of a weighbridge which allows vehicles to be weighed dynamically, i.e. without stopping.

According to Martin: “This technology allows for a faster throughput of trucks while providing accurate data. It also offers the significant benefit of a reduced physical footprint.”

In 2012, AMCS Group completed the acquisition of Insight Environmental; a software provider to the recycling and waste management market in North America.

In 2014 AMCS Group announced a £19m round of financing.

The investment, led by global venture capital firm Highland Capital Partners (HCP) Europe, includes support from existing investor, Investec Ventures, through the Ulster Bank Diageo Venture Fund. “The fresh round of funding is enabling AMCS to further consolidate its leadership position in international markets by funding further expansion in the Americas, Europe, Australia and New Zealand markets,” explains the CEO.

Furthermore in 2014, AMCS acquired US company PC Scale Technologies (PCST), specialists in the field of innovative software solutions and technical services for the waste, recycling and related industries.

“Their waste management software, specialising in weighbridge operations, is a perfect accompaniment to AMCS’ current ELEMOS software suite.

“This acquisition undeniable confirms AMCS Group’s position as the leading global provider of integrated end-to-end software and vehicle technology solutions in the recycling and waste management industry,” adds Martin.

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