ALBA Group launches InnovationLAB to digitalise the recycling industry

Circular economy in the 21st century

Berlin. The digitalisation of business and society will also revolutionise the waste management and recycling industry. For this reason, the ALBA Group, one of the world’s leading recycling services and raw materials providers, has opened an InnovationLAB today at its company headquarters in Berlin in order to advance the use of modern technologies, networking in the “Internet of Things” and the development of new business models in collaboration with start-ups.

“We want to be an active driver of digitalisation ourselves, just as we are the leader in Germany and Europe with our recycling technology,” says Dr Axel Schweitzer, CEO of ALBA Group. “Our industry has some catching up to do here. Only a few companies in the waste management industry use digital technology as we do or are currently carrying out pilot projects.”

An example of these revolutions is the AMCS platform, which ALBA is currently launching nationwide in Germany. It optimises the tour planning of the refuse collectors so that they become more customer-friendly, more transparent and environmentally friendly. The driver receives an optimised route, which also takes the current traffic situation into account, directly to the vehicle in real-time. “The result is less traffic, fewer CO2 emissions,” emphasises Dr Eric Schweitzer, CEO of ALBA Group. “In the next step, this will also offer more transparency for our customers. They can follow the waste management service in real-time.”

ALBA has assured itself of renowned partners for the continuation of the digitalisation offensive. For instance, the recycling specialist is collaborating with “Plug and Play”. The accelerator based in Silicon Valley is considered a leader in the promotion of start-ups. Other project partners include Deutsche Telekom and the Chinese telecommunications manufacturer Huawei.

"To fully embrace digital innovation, corporations in today’s world need to be open to start-up technology. By plugging into a global network of innovators, corporations can constantly check the ‘pulse’ of upcoming technology”, says Felix Scheuffelen, Managing Director Plug and Play Germany. “At Plug and Play we stand for Open Innovation and our mission is to bring corporations together with the most innovative start-ups from around the world to collaborate with one another. In this context, we are honored to have the ALBA Group as a new partner on board.”

Another important milestone of the ALBA digitalisation strategy was the placement of two projects on “#openspace”, Commerzbank’s digitalisation platform. “In the digitalisation process, the ALBA Group relies on its own strengths, its employees and its expertise structure. This shows a great desire to implement and courage, with a high probability of success,” says Joachim Köhler, COO & Co-Founder #openspace. “As #openspace, we are proud to have accompanied the first steps actively in the last few months.”

The waste management and recycling industry is only just starting off with digitalisation. A study by management consultancy Roland Berger conducted on behalf of the Federal Ministry for the Environment established that the recycling industry is at only 30 per cent on a scale of 0 to 100 on which readiness for the digital revolution is measured. By way of comparison, the energy sector is above 70 per cent, while the mobility sector is at approximately 50 per cent.

About #openspace

Commerzbank’s “#openspace” is the digitalisation platform for SMEs. It offers SMEs the space and the opportunities to turn the challenges of the digital future into success for them - with the focus on expertise transfer, co-creation and network (including with start-ups). The two managing directors Holger Werner and Joachim Köhler and their currently 10-strong team see themselves as partners of medium-sized companies in their digital transformation. “#openspace” is a subsidiary majority-owned by Commerzbank and based in Berlin.

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