The digital road to the scrap yard


How can scrap yard owners better market their services and customers find the optimal drop-off location? Together with Haniel's digital unit Schacht One, the ELG division has developed a solution and implemented it in just two months: deinschrottplatz.de, a scrap yard database.

Like all divisions, ELG works with Haniel's digital unit to develop digital solutions. Schacht One works according to the principle of design thinking. This means asking people what their requirements are, and then developing a product, a service or even a whole business model that meets these requirements. In this process, ELG is trying to get an even better understanding of the entire value chain for the recycling of stainless steel and superalloys - and thus not only the requirements of customers but also of its own suppliers and their suppliers. Among other things, the project team spoke to owners of small scrap yards and to scrap collectors to find out what problems they are faced with. They found out that the scrap industry is a very strictly regulated industry, not least thanks to the German Life-Cycle Resources Management Act. Scrap yards must fulfil various legal requirements and can also be certified as a waste management facility after an extensive qualification and annual auditing process. Some scrap yards are also certified according to ISO 9000 and ISO 14000, which means that their quality and environmental management systems meet special requirements. However, there are rogues at large here just as in other industries. "For private individuals or smaller firms that want to dispose of scrap, it is difficult to see through the fog when searching for a scrap yard, and the owners have few opportunities to market their certifications and services," explains Dr Daniela Hochstein, Digital Transformation Manager a Schacht One.

When the team of colleagues from ELG and Schacht One hit upon this "sore point" for scrap yards and found from their analysis of Google search terms that scrap yards are very frequently searched for, they spontaneously developed a digital solution: deinschrottplatz.de, a directory especially for scrap yards. The latter can set up a profile on the site, where, besides providing their address and opening hours, they can describe how they are certified and which materials they accept. The customers can use filters to find the best scrap yard for them quickly and easily. Use of the site is free for providers and searchers.

Only two months passed between the idea being hit upon in March and the site going live in May. Schacht One runs its projects like a start-up: It is not about bringing a perfect solution to market, but an initial prototype that is then tested by users and thus constantly refined. The first few weeks went well: "We already have a good amount of traffic on the site and have received a lot of positive feedback," says Florian Kriependorf, project manager at ELG. "Now we are really getting started with the marketing, so that we can help hard-working and honest scrap yard operators showcase themselves."