Our Clients: GFL Environmental, formerly M&R Environmental

M&R Environmental started in 1994 as a four-person, one-truck outfit using hand-written index cards to track their customers and schedules for pick-ups. M&R was spending hours each weekend preparing for the coming week. They needed a clean-up crew of their own, which was when they called us.

Ten years later, M&R has thousands of clients, dozens of employees, and a competitive advantage that no one in their industry can match: “full-circle service.” In a nutshell, “full-circle service” means a client can make one phone call to order and immediately schedule dozens of different services, find out every detail of their previous interactions with M&R, and write a single cheque each month to pay for it all.

Says M&R’s controller Dani Mate, “There’s nobody in the industry that does what we do in terms of our data. Nobody. It’s pretty impressive to be able to say to a client, here’s a complete report of everything we’ve done for you, down to how many litres of waste oil we hauled away on Tuesday.”

Growing so quickly wasn’t an easy process, but the business application we built for M&R back in 1996 has made it possible to handle meteoric growth and change, every step of the way.

“The first project Oak Bay built was really inexpensive. It was just a little program, but it was flexible enough that we could add in new functionality as that became necessary,” Mate said.

M&R’s big test came in 2003, when a major change in B.C.’s environmental regulations forced a shift in the financial workings of the waste oil industry. M&R called us and told us that all the invoices our software had been generating were going to have to become rebates. They would be reimbursed by BCUOMA (the industry association) rather than by their customers. We rolled up our sleeves and worked hand-in-hand with M&R to retool the whole application to match the new business model and processes. On July 1, the day the new rules went into effect, M&R was the only business in B.C. ready for that shift, which opened a huge opportunity for the company to grow.

“It’s a beautiful tool now,” Mate says. She might be referring to the colors and pixel-perfect layouts that Oak Bay created, but it’s more likely she’s talking about the beautifully useful reports and all the particular details it tracks seamlessly. M&R handles more than 65 different kinds of industrial waste material; there’s no off-the-shelf software that would be able to handle the peculiar regulatory requirements for that variety of services.

“It’s going to be a great sales tool, too,” Mate adds. “Now we’re doing our third major revamp. We’re going to be giving the sales team laptops to let them generate reports in the field,” Mate said. These reports will help M&R’s salesforce look after their clients and plan for future waste handling. M&R’s system not only helps the company to be efficient internally, but is going to help their clients stay informed as well.

“We’re huge fans of Oak Bay. It’s money well spent; they’ll work with you until your system is exactly what you need.”

As of July 2015, GFL Environmental, the national waste recycling firm with over 100 locations across the country, has purchased M&R Environmental. Oak Bay Softrends continues to support the Delta office using FileMaker Pro.

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