Second of three parts: Transformative technology: Laying the foundation for high tech tools in today’s modern hauler

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Courtesy of Waste Advantage Magazine

In part one of this series (Waste AdvantagE Magazine, October 2010), we covered the key components of an automated waste management system and some of the transformative benefits that could be obtained by its installation. Part two of this series will hone in on the various technologies available for the truck; specifically, what tools are out there and how they can dramatically improve the driver experience.

Managing Optimization

The goal of every hauler is to pick up 100 percent of the trash 100 percent of the time. If haulers miss this goal regularly, they are usually beset with runbacks and customer complaints, adversely affecting profitability and eroding morale. To guard against this, haulers have relied on their routing/billing software to manage route sequencing and optimization, as well as the customer service representative to manage any issues that arise while the route is being run.

This is a “point-of-sale” model that depends on the driver manually relaying route information to the office. With no eyes or ears in the field to corroborate the driver’s account of what is taking place, the office has no choice but to rely solely on what they are being told or what drivers write down on their route sheets.

Adding on-board technology dramatically changes that paradigm. It introduces a new and powerful element to the workflow which we’ll call “point of service.” In this scenario, the on-board technology sends objective, detailed information to the office on exactly what is taking place in the field, from pickups to vehicle metrics. Suddenly, everyone in the organization has full and complete access to route activity, almost as if they were in the cab with the driver.

Equally as important, the driver is now fully empowered to manage what is taking place on his route. Involving him in the workflow and acknowledging his critical role in customer service is a win-win for both the rank-and-file and the supervisory staff. Initial reactions from some drivers may be muted as they perceive technology as “big brother on board.” However, experience has shown that if the system is easy to use, the time-savings and convenience it offers quickly overcomes these objections and drivers soon embrace the system as much easier to use than a route sheet.

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