Route Optimization for Solid Waste

Understanding the need for sector-specific technology


Most Solid Waste Managers understand the need for route optimization technology. They get it because they’ve had to do it without technology, and they know the scale of the challenge. When we talk to people outside the industry we often have to explain why the problem is different than in other industries and why there is a need for sector specific technology.

In general, the amount of inefficiency in most solid waste operations is not known by those operating the service. It’s rare that you can assemble a set of staff who understand every route well enough to be able to operate at reasonable efficiency. The effects of change, such as new properties, changing shifts or moving depots, can only ever be guessed at. Given that solid waste collection is such an expensive business (trucks cost a lot to buy and maintain and use huge amounts of fuel, and it’s a people intensive business too, so labor costs are high) the need for a solution now becomes clearer.

Solid waste collection is different in nature from other fleet services, such as deliveries or field operations. It is characterized by hundreds of stops, visited on a repeating cycle, and contained within a local area. Add to that the complexity that comes from different yields, materials, property types, vehicles and productivity, and you have a very complex problem to solve.

Route optimization software helps cut through that complexity, but only if it’s fit for purpose.This specific routing problem, often referred to as high-density route optimization, needs an industry-specific solution. Generic routing solutions serving multiple industries and contexts just can’t deliver the right answer. By making it easier for municipal service managers to balance work between routes, efficiently sequence each route, and factor in all resource and risk constraints, our waste specific route optimization solution helps identify an efficient operating model that will work in practice.