Managing Change at William Tracey

The Waste Wizards

Murray Street in Paisley is one of six sites owned and operated by WM Tracey, Scotland’s largest waste management company. When WM Tracey took over the plant in September 2004 it was a loss making chemical waste management facility that the company has since managed to turn around. Of particular interest within the operation is the manufacturing capability, which under the previous ownership had shrank to only 10% of the total business.

From its recycled waste Murray Street is capable of producing speciality chemicals for the dye and oil industries. However, in recent years the competition in this market has come from much cheaper eastern based suppliers effectively killing off home produced products. That said, Graeme McDonald, Director of WM Tracey is optimistic about the sites future and believes this part of Murray Street’s capability can be rebuilt. He explains, “there have been supply difficulties for customers buying from the Far East where lead times are six weeks. On the other hand we have the capability to store the raw materials and then manufacture on demand. With an increasing need for more rapid response times WM Tracey is in a strong position as one of the only suppliers still manufacturing in Scotland. For this reason we have a strategic goal aimed at getting the site running to 50% of manufacturing within the next three to five years. With this in mind we have invested approximately £1.4 million in the site over the last three years.

EPM Solutions have helped redevelop the site in terms of project management, design and logistics. As Graeme McDonald explains, “the 3 acre plot was very inefficient with old buildings mixed with new ones that had been squeezed into a corner of the site. We estimated that 40% of the area was unused, which meant we had to do a lot of demolition and upgrade work to clear the place and open it up to provide more access to the development. This also enabled us to put in water management recycling systems allowing us to collect our rain water and re-use it as processed waters. We also refurbished the office blocks and installed a 10,000 sq ft racking system for the chemical warehouse.” Graeme continues, “EPM were really instrumental in terms of the layout and management of the project. It was a bit like a puzzle with squares that you move around. We had to demolish buildings, relocate people, change processes and move offices. Meanwhile, concrete was being laid, weigh bridges installed and vehicle turning circles utilised. EPM helped with each phase including operational logistics. They have also assisted with project management training for the staff and acted as health and safety consultants relating to ATEX.

On the waste management side Murray Street can handle everything with the exception of explosives and radioactive material. The chemical treatment options include acid, alkaline, oil, oil separation, solvent recovery, solvent distillation, oxidizer treatment and reaction chemistry. The company also assists businesses that have ‘off specification’ products which must be destroyed. Such companies need to be sure that batches of low quality materials don’t end up at a car boot sale. We could go on and on talking about what WM Tracey can do with waste, the list is literally endless. In a nutshell this market leading Scottish business is one we should value for two clear reasons. It is improving environmental sustainability with its sophisticated recycling capacity whilst at the same time reversing the manufacturing decline.

We wish them well for the future.