Over recent years, we have all seen the rapid impact that new technologies can have in the industry of waste collection. Just look at how problems in operations have been greatly reduced by intelligent systems that provide better performance in areas of routing and billing. In the waste industry what we are looking for are solutions that help solve, or erase, our common everyday problems that are guaranteed to cost money. One of the big areas that we see where the latest in smart tech can help waste haulers is in service verification.
Firstly, let’s look at the issues involved in service verification. Confirmation of collections and recording of non-collections or issues on routes is essential. Such data is required to have correct customer invoicing in place. It is also essential for customer disputes and conflict resolution. If you rely on manual verification by service crews to record issues on route, even when your staff are 100 percent correct, the customer can still ‘win’ an argument to lack of hard facts. Below are some of the goals that you can target with a reliable and robust service verification solution:
- Reduction in customer disputes
- Reduction in customer support staff costs
- Improvement in customer satisfaction scores
From our experience in the area of the solutions that are available for service verification, we break it down into three solution categories:
- Manual Verification
- RFID Verification
- Camera Verification
Each of the above categories vary in the level of verification they offer, implementation and service costs and cost-savings. Let’s have a quick look at each category.
This is a simple, relatively inexpensive, and cost-effective verification solution. Due to its nature, it is a human-based solution where a person will ‘tick off’ the task completion or record an issue. But will it provide the solution that you will need to properly manage verification across operations? Our experience is that this solution is very error prone and will continue to leave your operations exposed in areas of service disputes.
RFID is an industry standard. It provides a level of automation that elevates it above the dependability of manual verification, but it also has its negatives. While expensive to roll out, once all in place you also have ongoing maintenance and replacement costs. Faulty or damaged tags require replacement scheduling and onsite visits. Plus, every new cart has to be scanned and assigned to a customer property.
This is the latest and the truest service verification available to waste collectors. Nothing can beat a picture when it comes to verification. Take the example of a customer calling in to say their container was not collected and emptied. In the instance where the collection was not completed due to non-presentation, then a picture will deal with this perfectly. Manual verification is easy to argue against and even RFID verification is open to dispute. But the most definitive evidence that you can present to a customer is a time-stamped picture of your truck outside their location showing what (or not) was available for collection. Plus, one camera on the truck providing all your verification requirements is a lot more cost-effective than having to tag every individual container on your route. Cameras are the future of verification as it is quite easy to implement, delivers accurate addresses and requires zero management to keep it up to date.
It is difficult to give a ‘one size fits all’ solution for waste haulers simply because requirements and other factors differ greatly from one company to the next. The best advice we would have for anyone looking to improve their solutions is to contact companies like ours and have a conversation on your specific set up. Many companies that approach us are surprised at how easy and affordable it is to upgrade their current systems. But without question, the more definitive your verification solutions are, the less problems you will have to deal with.
Author: Vlad Zavgoro, Product Director at WIS.
Vlad Zavgoro has worked in WIS for 10 years, starting as a software developer where he focused mainly on their suite of truck apps and routing. For the last three years as WIS’ Product Director, he has led the routing product team and has worked with waste companies around the world, developing solutions that greatly improve service verification and much more. Vlad can be reached at email@example.com. For more insightful information on the various verification solutions, visit www.wiswm.com.