If you’ve ever needed to return or replace a tag (the device that beeps when you pass under a toll gantry), you most likely popped your tag-mailer in the post and got on with your life. Questions about where old tags end up, or how that new tag landed in your hands probably didn’t come up. But, if you were to visit the social enterprise that processes tags, you’d find it’s no ordinary operation.

Our tag mailroom and logistics services are delivered by a social enterprise, Ability Works — a service they’ve been delivering to us for more than a decade. Ability Works connects people with disabilities with meaningful work tailored to individual skill sets.

“I truly value and appreciate the work we do for Transurban because it puts my skill set to work.” Mark, tag mailroom and logistics team member.

“The thing I like most about Transurban department is getting to learn and establish new skills.” Lynette, tag mailroom and logistics team member.

Our partnership with Ability Works created seven full-time, ongoing jobs. The work includes sorting mail for our three Australian offices and assessing and refurbishing or decommissioning returned tags. Ability Works has broken each activity into component tasks to create a wide range of opportunities for people with diverse skills to join the team and engage in meaningful work. Each team member is matched with tasks based on individual skills.

When Ability Works identified that visual impairment was a barrier to some wanting to join the team, a robot was brought in to help. Matilda was bought with support from Toyota’s Continuous Improvement team.

Matilda has AI and machine learning capabilities. After being taught to identify key words, the robot is now scanning the mail (its ‘eyes’ are scanners) and giving mail sorting instructions to the team. Those who need reading support can check in with Matilda and sort both mail and tags accordingly.

“I really enjoy being able to work in the Transurban department with the inclusiveness of our OCR (Optical Character Recognition) robot Matilda helping decipher the rubbish from the needed correspondence mail.” Shane, tag mailroom and logistics team member.

“I really enjoy opening up and sorting out the tags.” Amanda, tag mailroom and logistics team member.

The team is also helping us work more sustainably by working to reduce our operational greenhouse gas emissions. When we identified a change in mailroom practices would reduce courier-related emissions, the Ability Works team stepped up, adapting their processes to effectively manage the scanning, electronic distribution, and shredding of paper mail. Shredded mail is also recycled as a packing material: that’s 1,200 mail items a day or about 312,000 mail items a year now being reused sustainably.

Plus, opportunities for skill development and expertise diversification are part of the Ability Works program, so if people want to try their hand at new tasks and grow on the job, they can.

A partnership recognised as an industry leader

Our partnership with Ability Works recently won (for the second year running) the Social Traders’ Social Procurement Game Changer Award (VIC/TAS Region). This award recognises innovative social procurement solutions that are paving the way for more, and better, social procurement solutions.

This month we’re heading to the Social Enterprise World Forum in Brisbane to find out if we are a national winner.

Learn more about our decade-long partnership with Ability Works.


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