2002 Spring

Rama’s Customers to Handle North America’s Biggest Event

Imagine providing portable restroom facilities for well over a million visitors during a five-day event. How many restroom units, you wonder—try 8,000 restrooms, 4,000 sinks and over 100 handicap units—all needing round-the-clock service.

That’s the challenge facing Stewart Chantler of Chantler’s Portable Services Limited and Kevin Ford of Nature’s Call, Inc. both of Toronto, Canada. They are the portable restroom service providers for World Youth Days 2002 to be held this summer in Toronto. The event organized with the support of the Canadian Catholic Bishops is to include a visit from Pope John Paul II. There are more than 750,000 delegates scheduled to attend. Since this may well be Pope John Paul II’s last visit to North America, the general public attendance could easily double or triple that figure. To put the size of this event in perspective, the Salt Lake City Olympics handled less than 250,000 visitors.
“This is not an event you can pull together overnight, nor is it a job any single company can do alone,” said Stewart Chantler. “We have put together a coalition of operators from across Ontario to help. And of course, we would never have been able to organize it without PolyJohn’s sister company, Rama Plastics,” he continued. “We started talking to Rama Plastics over 16 months ago, even before we put in a quote as a service provider. Margaret Keech, Rama’s Managing Director, and Jake Groen helped show us how it would be possible. They have been with us all the way. She and her partners at PolyJohn committed to building the thousands of additional units we needed for the event.”

Rama began working to complete their average annual production three to four months ahead of time in anticipation of winning the bid. Then they started production on a “hybrid” PJIII™ developed especially for the event so that it could be shipped flat and quickly assembled on site. Five thousand units will be assembled at the event’s location and then disassembled at its conclusion—all within a few days’ time.

“Once we figured out how to get all the units to and from the storage location, we had to consider what to do with the extra units after the event was over,” said Margaret. “We are not in the rental or service business, and we couldn’t expect the local operators to buy 5,000 extra units,” she continued.

The folks at Rama came up with a novel solution to this problem. Within the year leading up to the event, they managed to pre-sell most of the extra restrooms and sinks throughout Canada. Operators who bought the units did so knowing that they wouldn’t receive shipment until after the Pope’s visit. However, because they were the owners of the units, they would receive the rental payments during the event, and their logo graphics would be displayed on the units. This arrangement turned a tremendous challenge into a win/win situation for everyone.

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