Transformative technology: laying the foundation for high tech tools for today’s modern hauler

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Courtesy of Waste Advantage Magazine

Imagine you’re interviewing for a job. The person sitting across the table tells you that the position carries with it prestige, a good salary and great importance for the company. As your interest mounts, the interviewer says, “Oh, there are just a few caveats. You’ll be in charge of a large group of employees, each of which will be using a company asset worth about $200,000 to $250,000. These employees will be scattered around town, but you’ll have no definitive way of knowing what they’re doing during the day or how they’re treating the asset.”

Before you can say anything, the interviewer adds, “And we expect you to hit your revenue and expense targets while delivering exceptional customer service, comply with all government-mandated regulations and maintain a near-perfect safety record.” Would you take the job?

Most people would utter a polite thank you and quickly say no. However, the scenario outlined is exactly what today’s waste hauler faces every day. With technology now a fundamental part of our personal and professional lives, most haulers are still flying blind when it comes to managing their three most important assets: vehicles, drivers and routes.

In this series of articles, we will explore the various technologies available for the waste industry. From the cab to the office, we will review the products and services that can automate nearly all of the manual tasks associated with waste hauling—and pay for themselves through a defendable, provable return on investment. The goal is to show that technology is not only available, but it can also completely transform the hauler into a leaner, more competitive operation fully capable of meeting the challenges of modern-day trash hauling.

Challenges that Technology Must Tackle
A hauler is essentially in the transportation business, responsible for the collection, transference and delivery of a commodity—in this case, waste. The workflow and logistics associated with this activity are both complex and specific. They also vary by geographic region and company. Hence, a residential route serviced by Company A in California may have an entirely different workflow than a residential route serviced by Company B in Connecticut.

Many of these differences come from the operational exceptions—those workflow steps required to fully complete the route that is non-normative. These may be mandated by regulatory or franchise rules, by limitations of the fleet or the driver, or dictated by the physical circumstances of the route itself. Whatever the case, these operational exceptions can erode company profits by detracting from route efficiency and creating extra and costly expense. The first challenge is determining how to reduce these exceptions.

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