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Blog June 2018 Updated July 2023

Digital Innovation and Agile Route Optimization

Digital innovation is all about putting the needs of the customer first Digital is here. It’s real. And it’s transforming industries across the world. It’s also a wake-up call for any industry that has not understood digital’s true potential to transform the customer experience. Innovative waste and recycling companies understand this and are helping new generations of consumers to interact in new ways. These digital native customers expect services to be available to them anywhere and at any time.

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Martijn Schimmer

Intelligent Optimization Solution Advisor

Digital innovation is all about putting the needs of the customer first

Digital is here. It’s real. And it’s transforming industries across the world. It’s also a wake-up call for any industry that has not understood digital’s true potential to transform the customer experience.  Innovative waste and recycling companies understand this and are helping new generations of consumers to interact in new ways. These digital native customers expect services to be available to them anywhere and at any time.

Harry is a young digital native and owner of his first restaurant. He had a spike in customers and is now overloaded with waste in his containers. For obvious reasons, he does not want to store this smelly and unhygienic waste overnight. He is lucky to live in an area where his waste collector has digitized its collection business, so his problem can be solved straight away. He registers his urgent need for waste collection, he is then given an immediate quote, the collection route is changed in real-time and his bins are emptied that evening. Without this flexibility that digitalization brings, he would have to wait until the waste collector had the time on their schedule.

Manual, hands-on, and tricky to exceed customer expectations

The waste industry is one of the most complex industries due to a large number of waste streams and types of collection, distribution, and transport activities. It’s often manual and hands-on. With little transparency, rigid business process, and lack of responsiveness towards customer demands.

Slow to adopt

Due to its incredible complexity, the waste collection industry has been slow to adopt a customer perspective and embrace new technology. It’s in danger of being left behind in other industry sectors. In danger of doing too little too late. Alarmingly, only 1% of revenue in the waste and recycling industries is invested in digital transformation. In unregulated areas, established companies are starting to face challenges from digital savvy start-ups.

The inflexibility of a manual approach

When waste companies rely solely on a manual approach that is not digitized, their planning and execution can be quite inflexible. Resulting in significant costs through missed deliveries, stress on their organization when customer postpones a pickup scheduled for today, or sales agreed on a service day and time without consulting transport planners.

Most transport planning and optimization systems are batch process-driven. They are loosely integrated into the general work processes and IT systems in the company. This means that they often cannot optimize before they have received all orders. Or they cannot re-optimize their plans live while they execute routes. And information does not move freely between different stakeholders: order-takers, customers, warehouse personnel, and transport planners.

The waste industry needs to put on its digital cap

Digital transformation is about putting the needs of the customer first. And being able to step into their shoes. Implementing new technologies and intelligent software will be key to success in the future. Digital transformation seems to be a challenge to many companies and is even considered a threat to some. This may explain the slow adoption, giving room for existing players to steal the lead and new players to come in and disrupt the waste and recycling market.

The load less traveled

Making the move from manual routing and dispatch to automatic route optimization can help businesses improve asset utilization, enhance customer service, reduce mileage and driving time, and lower their overall carbon footprint.

Route optimization software can save waste companies significant money and improve customer service, too. In the end, it's about how they can do a route faster, carry out more pick-ups for customers in a driver's day, reduce the overall mileage for the fleet, and reduce the trips to the landfill/transfer facility.

The digital market has matured

In 2001, when the IT bubble burst, innovation was way ahead of the market. Not many companies could adapt fast enough and so they perished. Today, the digital market and its technology have matured. Everywhere you look digital companies are thriving and showing highly profitable returns.

The innovation of customer first

The desire to put the customer first using mature technology and innovation is what is driving the digital transformation in the waste transport and logistics industries. By understanding that new generations of consumers interact differently, they are transforming their business by harnessing the power of web technology, cloud computing, the internet of things, digital tools, platforms and apps.

Evolution not revolution

AMCS is committed to helping its customers build digital business models on top of their existing systems. Using the intelligent AMCS optimization platform, this combined approach makes businesses more agile and facilitates rapid change without existing data disruption. This means implementing new ideas and new strategies in days, not months or years.

The intelligent AMCS optimization platform brings huge benefits. This includes having the full operational insight and agility to be able to respond instantly to customers’ demands and requests: order-taking, changes to orders, route changes, ETA information, field status, etc.

Drive efficiency and agility with 3rd generation route optimization

Smart waste companies are driving efficiency with 3rd generation route optimization. A digital transformation that makes the waste business more efficient, agile, and customer-focused. It provides a level of agility that enables them to respond fast and efficiently to customer demands, requests, exceptions, and changes in operation. They can also give relevant stakeholders direct access to information, which they can easily share. Helping them to make independent and optimal decisions.

Step-by-step digital transformation and agility

Smart waste companies can also perform live and incremental changes with 3rd generation route optimization. Running continuously in the background, it supports their business processes step by step. This is fully integrated with the surrounding systems like ERP, WMS, web portals, CRM, and driver mobile solutions.

The core planners work directly with the advanced user interfaces of the core optimization solution. Which supports other stakeholders like sales, customers, supervisors, drivers, subcontractors, and so on through web portals and apps. This also feeds optimization into the daily tools of many other user types.

Digital transformation has many benefits

Just imagine the benefits that your company can gain by implementing the following processes:

  • Your optimization solution shows the live consequences of changes to orders and delays and can re-optimize the plan on the spot.
  • Your sales team gets live route slotting and optimal price suggestions on their sales tablet during their sales meeting with the customer.
  • Your floor supervisors access a live web portal with today’s route plan so they can change a driver on a route or the sequence of a route.
  • Your customers receive e-mails and text messages with ETA’s or they log in to a live web portal to see the status of all their orders.
  • Your optimization system generates orders when it’s time to service a customer. This is done automatically, and in combination with forecasting and fill level sensors.
  • Your drivers request a new order en route to their destination, live on their mobile device without having to call dispatchers.

When you plan, execute and optimize your processes to become agile, it brings digital transformation and responsiveness to a whole new level.

The savings and gains are huge, and so are the improvements to customer service levels.

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