It’s Flo here from the V4 team and I would love some help. We are working hard on some new business tools for Version 4 to help people plan new Precious Plastic workspaces. One of these tools is the Workspace Calculator, which aims to help people calculate the financials behind starting a Precious Plastic Workspace.
Would you be willing to test the calculator so we can gather feedback? We want to hear all about it. Do you think it is a useful tool? Do you understand it? Is there anything you will change or does not make sense? Did you have any doubt or problem while using it?
You can play with it us much as you can, but try to make it as real as possible. All feedback is more than welcome.
Click the link below to access the calculator sheet and all the instructions will be there. We will try to consider all the feedback we receive. Please post your ideas in the comments
@florenciaortizs , Thank you for putting together the spreadsheet template. In my experience, the usefulness (or danger) of these kind of business tools is dependent on how well the assumptions and algorithms used in the template are documented. This is especially true for the costs sheet, and how these are allocated to establish the profit margin. Every workspace will need to review these and adjust both the values and potentially the algorithm to match their production flow, otherwise some misleading and expensive mistakes can be made. The most dangerous thing is for people to just enter numbers and look at the summary. So please include documentation that walks through the cost estimating and allocating process so the users can confirm that it matches their workspace.
I’m Hans from Slovakia (born in the Netherlands)
I’ve been playing around with figures/numbers in the Business Calculator
which came with the V4 starter kits.
Imho the business calculator has many good points.
In general, it works well. I only had to find out how some things were calculated.
For that reason, I don’t like the 3 layers (3 different sheets in the calculator)
which you can’t see at the same moment.
That’s why I started to develop my own spread sheet, where all the
number will be in the same sheet (scrolling is necessary, so it’s still not
possible to see everything at the same time)
As I used your business calculator as a starting point, it has more or less
the same variables. If the input numbers are not correct, the output is
not correct either. (rubbish in, rubbish out)
For that reason it ‘s good to play with the numbers.
I started to use the calculator for setting up a shredder workspace.
It was difficult to find relevant information for the costs involved.
In the starter-kit is a calculation by a company (real or fake)
but with a lot of assumptions as well.
Price of the machine, what is included and what not?
Obtaining plastics for free. Sales prices only between 1 and 2 Euros per kg?
I calculated with 5 Euros per kg because in the BAZAR I saw prices till 10 euros per kg. Producing 500 kg shredded HDPE or PP per week is not a problem
(if you can find a good source). The problem is (probably) selling it.
Whom can I sell shredded plastic to, how much and for what price?
If you don’t sell you don’t make money. You have only the costs.
I’ll have to develop my spread-sheet more and need more exact numbers.
Of course I’m willing to put the spread-sheet as open-source. Just tell me were
I can publish it.
To estimate the material, just get an estimate of the volume of the part (for a rectangular beam just a product of the width, thickness and length) and multiply it by the density of the plastic you are using. For example for HDPE the density is a little less than the density of water (1g/cc) so a 2x2x100 cm beam would use a little less than 400g or just under a lb. For beams with other cross sections, just calculate the cross section area times the length.
The density you produce will vary, and there may be voids but these estimates should be a good starting point.
I was wondering how you calculate the material cost. I assume that you have the amount of material required to make the beam let’s say. And from that you calculate the amount of hours it takes to gather that amount of material?
How much pounds of shredded plastic would you need to make a beam for instance?
Answering your first question regarding adding new products over time. It is possible to add them to the calculator. It is important to remark that it is a tool to help all of you having an idea of the financial costs to start with your project. Adding new products would only show you a new forecast of your results.
For the doubt about the different cost and time to produce different objects, that it´s why in the first sheet of Sales we ask the cost of the material for each product and the time that you use to produce it. We are aware that those numbers change with different products. Calculating the cost of the product is a good way because the price of the plastic for each product can change or you can also need complementary materials to produce it.
I hope I could be of any help and thanks again for your feedback!
Another thing I’ve thought of, different products need varying amounts of plastic to make. I could sell a $80 pair of sunglasses using a small fraction of plastic compared to an $80 chair. Essentially, my cleaning, sorting, shredding efforts are are much greater to earn $80 for a chair than $80 for a pair of sunglasses.
If there were a section indicating how much plastic would be used, and how much needed to process, a simple formula would divide up the indirect labor cost more proportionately.
I plan on starting with a single product and adding more products over time. What do you think about having a tiered production schedule in this calculator?
For instance, I want to make patio furniture, starting off with rocking chairs. After a few months, I’ll add side tables and regular chairs. I’ll then add dining chairs and picnic tables a few months after that.
Thank you for your feedback. I totally agree with the risk or help that this tools can have. The idea of now was just test the user experience within the explanations. For sure is a tool that needs to be adapated to the reality of each workspace, each project and each country. As a consequence, it is difficult to provide the whole information that should be included. To help with this we will post an example of a specific project for each machine and the blank template to be filled by each project.
We still want to leave space for the creativity and the added value that each person is bringing to the Precious Plastic Projects.
Thank you again for the feedback and any doubt just keep us update.