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Blog July 2020 Updated May 2021

How to easily and continuously optimize waste collection routes

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Martijn Schimmer Intelligent Optimization Solution Advisor

AMCS Route Planner leads to at least 10 to 20% efficiency

Collect commercial and household waste considerably more efficiently. This is one of the positive outcomes of continuously optimizing master routes. As a result, organizations save costs and can deploy fewer vehicles for the same routes, sales manager Rogier de Klein mentions as important benefits. “Since this leads to cutbacks in mileage, route optimization also contributes to the sustainability goals of waste collectors. Additionally, for the planner, it is immediately visible where in an optimized route a new customer can be added most efficiently, which has another great advantage of a positive effect on growth and margins."

Re-optimizing master routes manually is a lot of work

Optimizing master routes for the collection of industrial waste with roll-on/roll-off containers or household waste with mini containers is not an everyday occurrence for waste companies. So much Rogier de Klein knows based on his many years of experience in the waste industry. And he knows why. “Creating new routes manually takes a lot of work and time. And not only that; almost immediately after a master route is optimized, there are already changes. For instance, customers request to adjust their collection day or frequency, cancel their contract or new customers are added to collection routes.”

Every change means routes become less efficient, he says. "As a result, every time the master plan manually needs to be optimized. Although again this is a lot of work, the efforts automatically do not lead to optimal results. Understandable”, according to Rogier. “Planners optimize master plans based on the changes they are aware of and their present knowledge. That information is both in their heads and in files and takes time to collect. This raises the question if all the necessary information is available to adjust the master plan so routes can be rearranged optimally.”

Smart algorithms enable planners to schedule up to 300,000 orders at once

Waste collection companies using Route Planner are always assured that the required information is available at any time to automatically optimize their master plans. “Once the customers, locations, and vehicles have been entered into the system, optimization of routes is single-handedly done with a touch of a button. The system is one huge calculator using super-fast algorithms to schedule up to 300,000 orders on the different routes at once. In case of changes, the planner optimizes the master route again with the same push of a button, he explains.

“As a result, companies can always maintain their master routes easily, automatically leading to the most efficient waste collection routes. Additionally, also customer and/or order slotting is possible. New customers, therefore, can be added to the most efficient route assuring waste collectors of the most efficient waste collection."

It also works the other way around, he says. “In the constantly optimized master routes, it is immediately visible which routes still have room to plan new customers. This makes Route Planner an unprecedentedly powerful solution for sales. The system indicates exactly not only on which routes new contracts can be added but also the day and time. This is a huge benefit because sales can acquire new customers who instantly optimally can be added to the collection plan in the most efficient way.”

Optimizing static routes leads to 10 to 20% more efficiency

Because of the work and the time it takes, master routes have often not been optimized for many years, Rogier de Klein knows from practice. “This especially goes for fixed routes which drivers use at a certain frequency. Automated optimization of master routes results in completely different routes, including the exceptions. This gives room for substantial improvements resulting in at least 10 to 20% more efficient routes."

Waste collectors automating their operational waste collection with legacy software, such as Clear, AfvalRIS or PieterBas, can easily optimize master routes, according to him. "Existing routes are loaded in Route Planner, analyzed, and cleaned up after which a new master plan is created. Based on this, the system automatically generates new master routes which are optimized again when changes occur."

The system also foresees in calculating 'what-if scenarios', Rogier explains. “In that case Route Planner indicates, for example, for which customers it is more efficient to empty their bin on another day, which day and at what time. The planner can also calculate how routes will change if for a certain percentage of the customers the collecting day is changed or if the time window is extended by one hour. This provides more options for more flexible planning and, for example, putting urgent orders on the most efficient routes. Mainly because of this, Route Planner also contributes to further improving service and customer satisfaction.”

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