||Fleet Management Software
Successful waste and recycling fleet managers coordinate their routes and drivers with an aim for maximum efficiency. With cost pressures increasing, they’re constantly tasked to squeeze more efficiency and productivity from their drivers and trucks to improve operational margins, meet environmental targets and keep customers happy.
The On-Route product, by Alpine Technology Corporation, is designed to make waste industry routes as simple to follow as an off-the-shelf GPS, only instead of one destination, On-Route tracks hundreds of pickups providing visual service images. Normal service events are captured automatically while the driver can accurately record extras or record service abnormalities by taking photographs with a touch of the screen. On-Route connects the office and truck by forwarding real-time dispatches to the truck and showing office personnel a map displaying route service status and truck location. Drivers become dependent on the efficiency of On-Route so Alpine has refined a robust mobile platform that has an impressive zero percent failure rate over the past three years.
Mick Baker, senior project manager, reported that Alpine specializes in refining technology solutions for the waste industry. He said that On-Route provides a quick return on investment because, “Every event is recorded providing absolute proof of service or ‘Not outs;’ photos provide accurate proof of extras that are automatically billed without disputes; instead of taking hours longer, replacement drivers run routes efficiently; and the product totally integrates with Alpine’s back office software streamlining entry.”
Don Diego Padilla, vice president at FleetMind Solutions, Inc., described their product as having a lightweight yet rugged touchscreen display that provides users in the waste and recycling field with a tough and robust onboard computing platform. “It manages a wide range of inputs from a vehicle’s on-board systems including cameras, scales, RFID readers, tire pressure and fuel monitoring, as well as other devices. The product’s dashboard reporting provides a single-view interface into fleet operation and performance. You can easily track key performance indicators, flag potential issues and track detailed and individual performance data,” Padilla explained.
He said a vehicle map view history is also provided, with reported positions relative to towns, cities, highways and streets. Real-time positioning presents a map view of the vehicles’ current positions for easy tracking. The Driver Direction function allows for better planning of each truck’s route to reduce time spent on the road and the number of engine hours per day. This helps optimize each route to use less fuel and driving time.
An Automated Service Verification function uses RFID technologies to enable fully automated service verification. Each garbage can or cart can be associated with a specific customer address and drivers can quickly verify cart details. The FleetLink Scales feature is a patented onboard waste weight management system that installs easily onto truck forks and integrates seamlessly with back office systems. The proprietary technology of the product ensures a lower cost installation with practically no maintenance or calibration requirements.
Padilla noted that green fleets are a growing trend in the industry due to reduced fuel consumption, mileage and exhaust emissions. Also, the importance of fleet safety is stressed more than ever due to the potential threat of fatalities and injuries, and the related costs of accidents. Safety initiatives have become a critical concern for any fleet manager.
FleetMind offers fleet management solutions and designs, manufactures and markets wireless enabled on-board computers, driver terminals and business automation software that extend the reach of a customer’s enterprise back-office systems all the way to the truck and driver. “Our solutions have allowed some of the largest waste and recycling management fleets in North America to link their drivers and vehicles to business operations in real-time, delivering measurable improvements to fleet productivity, fleet safety, customer service and sustainability,” Padilla said.
PC Scale, Inc. (PCST) provides software solutions and technical services for the waste, recycling and related industries, offering a multitude of options for managing business-critical data. Yasi Alemzadeh, vice president, marketing, stated, “Our suite of product offerings have been specifically designed by our industry experts for recycling and solid waste management, healthcare waste management, landfill billing, transfer station, liquid waste (grease and port-o-let) as well as tire recycling, gate house and truck scale ticketing for both attended and unattended scale management, municipal waste routing and billing.”
Using the latest Microsoft technologies, the PCST suite of applications provide routing and billing software solutions for both municipal waste and independent haulers of waste and recycling materials. “As the only route and scale management software provider serving the waste and recycling industries to have achieved Microsoft’s Silver partner status in multiple competencies, and with a history of over 2,100 customer installations, including 5 of the top 10 waste and recycling companies in North America in 2011, PC Scale Technologies™ is the premier provider of solid waste technology business solution software,” Alemzadeh said.
PC Scale’s mobile solutions allow for a multitude of functions both on the hauling business side as well as the scale management side of the business. Hauling companies can send electronic work orders and services to a handheld device operated by a driver in the field. That driver then has the ability to update the services, capture electronic signatures from customers (and subsequently print receipts using a wireless Bluetooth printer), capture images while onsite, and record odometer and disposal information, as well as downtime. The unit also has GPS capability and provides turn by turn directions.
From a scale management perspective, the mobile solution can be used as a point of sale system, allowing for an attendant to start the ticket creation process with long lines, assisting in speedier weighing once the truck reaches the scale. The mobile solution can also be used as a load checker on the tipping floor – in the event of load checks, tickets can be edited to include the proper materials so that when a truck crosses the outbound scale to weigh out, the process is just as quick as the weigh-in.
Alemzadeh commented, “This industry seems to be moving towards paperless options in most areas. We have clients that have moved to paperless work orders using our TowerMobile handheld solution, which allows them to send roll-off, delivery/removal tickets, grease pickups or portable toilet services to a handheld unit, as opposed to printing work orders and worksheets and passing them to drivers, as has been the trend, historically. The handheld option allows the data to be returned to the home office in a more real-time fashion, updating the software system so customer service and operations staffs are updated as quickly as possible. There is also a paperless option with the e-mailing of invoices, web portals where customers can view images, electronic signatures captured with the handheld devices, and service notifications via e-mail.
In addition to their mobile product, PC Scale also offers products that integrate with companies who specialize in on-board units, such as Fleetmind, Air-Trac and Routeware. Route and service data is sent from the PC Scale Tower software package to the on-board unit. As the driver updates his on-board system of service skips, not outs, etc., the PCST software package is updated immediately, providing real-time data to customer service, operations staff and management.