As a new decade begins, 2020 is an opportunity to reflect on the past 10 years in the industry - which has seen some turbulent and significant changes.
2010 saw the launch of “Operation Tornado” nationwide by police to combat the alarming increase in metal theft. The scheme allowed the police to work closer with dealers to control organised crime and catch local thieves. Sellers were required to provide dealers with proof of identity to make it easier to track where metal had come from, with rumours of a ban on cash payments for purchasing metals and a major update of the scrap metal dealers act (1964). Metal prices remained pretty buoyant despite the majority of the world in recession.
2013 brought the biggest changes ever seen in the scrap metal industry, with amendments to the Scrap Metal Dealers Act with the official introduction of the cash ban. This enhanced the level of record-keeping for dealers and those dealers ignoring the new legislation saw hefty fines.
Many dealers looked at what support was available to help them cope with the changes. Andy Jones from Mason Metals, a scrap metal recycling service based in the West Midlands, happened to have a chance conversation with Paul Long from IceBlue. He explained how they were looking for a solution for the business to comply with the legislation changes. Paul instantly recognised the opportunity for his creative software team to use their innovative software ideas to help Andy develop a system to help.
Working with all the team at Masons, Paul was shown the client base of suppliers, processes and day-to-day operations of a traditional scrap metal dealer. He was fully briefed on their requirements and worked alongside IceBlue’s development team, to create a system that would support users who are not IT experts.
Together, they created a brand-new product in 2012, to resolve the issues and challenges faced by dealers in the trade. MetalTrack was launched, and as the website says, “it was designed and developed with scrap metal dealers FOR scrap metal dealers”.
We could not have developed it without the valuable feedback from dealers. It is really important to us, that all of the software solutions we provide, work with the client in mind.
Since 2013, dealers have also had to contend with international buying markets slowing down purchasing, which has had a negative impact on metal prices, with the majority of them seeing significant drops over the years.
In 2016, regulations came into effect in Scotland banning the trading of scrap metal for cash. We built on the experience gained from our English dealers and introduced MetalTrack to various dealers in Scotland to support the impact the changes had on their businesses.
This decade, we have seen the steepest growth in the use of technology, internet and devices. This growth has seen a significant increase in accessibility to all sorts of data. The introduction of GDPR and the amendment of the Data Protection Act has thrown even more challenges at the scrap metal industry.
During 2019, the industry “rolled with the punches” and whilst we have seen some businesses fade away, many have risen to the challenge, and are exploring the opportunities to grow their business, reduce costs and increase productivity.
The last 12 months has seen a significant focus on climate change and the need for us to recycle more. Metal has the potential to keep being recycled with no loss of quality, time and time again. The scrap metal industry now has the opportunity to diversify, grow and support this huge problem faced by the world. MetalTrack will be here to work with our dealers, continuously developing to help support the climate emergency.
The decade in a nutshell!
MetalTrack was established in an industry where we had no experience, but we have grown and continue to attract new dealers to our software. Our development and support teams continue to update and enhance the software, to keep evolving and ensuring it is relevant to the needs of our dealers.
Our drive into the new decade will be focused on continual development alongside our dealers and protecting the ever-growing data we hold in our software against cyber-attacks.
At the start of the decade the scrap metal industry was very new to Iceblue and whilst the industry has had a fairly turbulent time generally over this period, we have loved supporting dealers through it and discovered that it is an amazing industry that we have grown to be very fond of!
Bring on 2020 and the next decade!