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Blog May 2022 Updated November 2023

The 5 Success Factors for Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation in the Waste and Recycling Industries

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Mark Abbas

Mark Abbas

Senior Vice President (SVP) EMEA

Digital Transformation in the Waste and Recycling Industries

The cost of waste management is going up, and up is the only direction we can expect it to go in the foreseeable future! Meeting this challenge will mean optimizing efficiency and automating processes: a digital transformation. And success in this transformation to more digital business operations depends upon being able to deliver excellence in five distinct areas.

The demands of the market

Rising prices alone are reason enough for waste collection and recycling organizations – and that applies to cities and towns serving households and local businesses as well as private haulers providing specialized services – to look toward making the business of waste management more efficient. But rising costs are not the only challenge for the waste industry. The demands from customers for an excellent and seamless service are also increasing.

The value proposition for the private hauler, for instance, now needs to be the delivery of a strong, digitally-centric service to remain competitive. The digitization of operational processes and services to customers is what can help solve the very real problem of catering to an evolving marketplace while still keeping costs low. These days, both residential and commercial customers expect a flawless digital experience in most other aspects of their lives, so the waste collection and recycling process is no different.

Meeting these challenges head-on – to stay relevant and competitive in the industry – requires a substantial transformation of the waste management and recycling business, whether it’s municipal services or private haulers we are talking about. Changes in how the business operates are never without challenges that are daunting for an organization. And the digital evolution of the customers themselves means that the question for organizations is no longer when to start the digital transformation. The answer to that is already an unequivocal ‘now!’ The only real question is where to start and what to accelerate.

The five success factors for digital transformation

That being said, digital transformation is still more of an evolution than a revolution, and a successful transformation is one that follows the step-by-step process of implementing the best solutions for where the business is at right now. The AMCS Digital Transformation Model is based on five of the most important operational drivers of the digital transformation process. Delivering excellence in these five areas of the organization provides an excellent foundation for the success of any digital transformation.

Leadership and culture; The type of leadership and culture needed for a successful digital transformation can be described as that of a winning team, one in which people are given the space and opportunity to do their best work.

Employee engagement; An organization can drive digital excellence by making sure employees are fully engaged in the process.

Value chain, partners and trends;  Having an in-depth understanding of what the digital trends are in the industry and collaborating with partners and suppliers who are best in class allows an organization to focus on transforming those processes that are most critical for the success of the business.

New technologies;  Critical to digital transformation is the ability to implement and make optimal use of the new and emerging technologies available right now to improve business operations and performance.

Business intelligence and data science;  As automation and digitization begins to generate useful information about processes, customers and services, using that data to inform and guide decisions is the next step in a process of continuous improvement.

Interview with CMO Mark Abbas on Benchmark survey

The challenges of digital transformation

When we surveyed the progress of the digital transformation process in the waste and recycling industry, there were a few issues that most of the organizations in the industry agreed were the biggest challenges on the road to digitalization.

On the people side of digital transformation, the main challenge is the realisation that digital transformation requires leadership in change management. It’s not a question of investing in some software and it’s done. Digital transformation means incremental and permanent changes to the way people work.

The biggest technical challenges of digital transformation tend to be some combination of adopting new technologies, using data science as a driver for business improvement and the problems with legacy systems. Legacy systems that do not communicate and share information, and often containing corrupted data, can create real roadblocks. Problems with legacy systems can slow operations down rather than speeding them up.

The Digital Transformation Benchmark Report

For our Digital Transformation Benchmark, we surveyed organisations in the waste management and recycling industries in various geographical locations to uncover how the most successful are using technology to radically improve their performance, and which technologies add the most value for efficiency and productivity in their day-to-day operations.

The survey asked these key questions:

  1. How do waste management organizations innovate and stay relevant?
  2. What steps are waste management organizations taking toward digital transformation?
  3. Which technologies are waste management organizations most interested in?

Want to see how your own organisation rates against our benchmark? Download the full report here and test yourself!

Author’s biography

Mark Abbas, Chief Marketing Officer for the AMCS Group, is an IT executive with a track record of over 25 years in the Waste & Recycling Industry. As CEO of GMT Europe, a company that was acquired by AMCS in 2016, he led the company to international growth and successfully completed numerous acquisitions. Mark has been an evangelist in the Waste & Recycling market, working closely with product teams to keep IT solutions on the front line of innovation and designing new features and capabilities.

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Press Release

Press Release: The Digital Transformation Barometer


Digital Transformation: What are the Biggest Hurdles?


The Digital Transformation Roadmap in 2019

View other resources

Digital Transformation Study

The AMCS benchmark study investigates how organizations in waste and recycling use technology to improve their operations and adapt to change.