Waste collection plays a big part in ensuring the cleanliness of any given locality and maintaining its inhabitants’ wellbeing, comfort and peace of mind. It’s one of those underappreciated things that most people don’t really think about as long as it’s done right. But when it’s poorly handled, everyone notices — and nobody wants that.
Waste collection is a complex process that involves lots of people, places and equipment. All of this means that it’s also an expensive operation to run. So, the (multi)million dollar question is, what can you do to consistently deliver high-quality waste collection services while simultaneously lowering the cost of operation?
The answer: harness location technology.
Here are a few ways in which location technology can help waste collection companies elevate service quality and operational efficiency:
Optimization of route planning and dispatch
Regardless of whether your waste collection fleet is made up of 10 trucks or 100, optimization of dispatch and routing go a long way in maximizing operational efficiency. After all, it’s eliminating unnecessary time spent on the road, driver workload, fuel consumption and more.
Considering all the variables at play, it’s a complicated proposition. Nonetheless, there are map data and API solutions designed to optimize job assignment and routing sequences for drivers by accounting for key factors like shift timings, vehicle capacity, road restrictions, etc. Making sure that the right tasks are assigned to the right drivers can have a huge, tangible impact on your waste collection operation.
You could even install sensors in waste bins to alert you when they’re about to become full. This is a win-win situation! It ensures that the bins are always serviced in a timely manner, keeping those who live and work in the area happy and healthy. As for you, it keeps you from expending resources on unrequired maintenance and routes until servicing of the bins is actually necessary.
Navigation for complex and off-road areas
Getting from point A to point B on regular everyday streets is rarely a challenge. However, this quickly changes when it comes to more complex areas like off-road segments, unmapped roads, industrial parks, restricted zones, apartment complexes, township layouts, etc.
Apartment compounds and townships often have multiple entry points and paths specific to where you want to go within them, which can quickly get confusing for those unfamiliar with the layout. Industrial areas, too, can have intricate layouts with their own road safety rules and numerous waste collection sites. This can lead to ineffective waste collection operations that cost more time and money than they should.
Some mapping services can enable safe, easy, efficient navigation through such complex areas and more with custom restrictions. Equip your drivers with navigation capabilities built specifically for trash collection from off-road paths, industrial regions, townships, etc., with custom map data and POIs to mark exact entry, exit and collection points for each route.
Customizability for every need and use case
Local regulatory and compliance requirements for waste collection vary from place to place, as do road rules and restrictions. The needs of each waste collection company are also diverse — perhaps there are certain roads you don’t want your vehicles to traverse, maybe you have trucks of differing configurations, or drivers at varying skill levels that need to be assigned jobs and routes accordingly. Whatever the unique requirements of your business may be, they can be catered to with customizable maps and APIs.
Customizable mapping solutions will enable you to add custom route restrictions to comply with local compliance regulations and meet your unique routing requirements. As mentioned earlier, there are routing and assignment APIs capable of accounting for every relevant factor in the process, including driver skill and vehicle configuration.
Speaking of vehicles of varying configurations, you could incorporate a fleet management solution to get the most out of them. Maximize asset utilization and operational efficiency while minimizing miles driven, wear and tear, and downtime.
Visualization of POIs and tracking for analysis
As with anything else, to consistently improve your waste collection operation, you’ll need to closely monitor and measure it with reliable data. This stream of data can then be analyzed to uncover what’s working well, what isn’t and what are the areas of optimization that need to be prioritized.
Some geocoding APIs will let you accurately mark custom POIs — bins, landfills, compound entry points… whatever they may be. This will enable you to easily visualize these POIs on custom maps, facilitating analysis and optimization of day-to-day operations.
Tracking is also a powerful tool. Hyper-accurate live tracking of waste collection trucks allows you to monitor operations in real time. You can track foot traffic at hotspots, trash bin capacity, etc. to not only ensure timely service but also recognize patterns on a larger time frame that give rise to further scope for operational optimization.
Location technology, when utilized intelligently and to its fullest, has the potential to transform your waste collection operation from what it is into what it could be. To extract maximum value from it, though, you’ll need to find solutions that are intelligent, scalable and most importantly, customizable to the specificities and quirks of your business. Solutions like NextBillion.ai’s APIs and SDKs!