Why are there so few route optimisation solutions for waste collection?

13 August 2020



Most waste managers understand the benefit of route optimisation technology – even those that haven’t yet bought it. 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, why there is a need for sector-specific technology and as a consequence why there are so few solutions that will work in waste.

In general, the amount of inefficiency in most waste collection operations is not known by those operating the service. It’s rare that you can assemble a set of staff who understand every round well enough to be able to operate at something close to an optimum efficiency. And the effects of change, such as adding new properties, changing shift patterns or moving depots or tips, can only ever be guessed at.

Given that waste collection is such an expensive business the cost of inefficiency is very high. The need for an effective solution that actually works in practice now becomes clearer.

Waste collection is different in nature from other fleet services, such as deliveries or field operations. It is characterised by hundreds if not thousands 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 optimisation software helps cut through that complexity, but only if it’s fit for purpose. This specific routing problem, sometimes referred to as high-density route optimisation, needs an industry-specific solution. And it’s a problem that few companies and solutions have been able to solve. Generic routing solutions serving multiple industries and contexts just don’t work in waste.

By making it easier for municipal waste service managers to balance work between rounds, efficiently sequence each route, and factor in all resource and risk constraints, EasyRoute, our waste-specific route optimisation solution helps identify a more efficient operating model that will actually work in practice.


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