Several software companies are aiding the waste and recycling industry in making everyday business functions more efficient.
CORE Computing Solutions Inc. based in Jacksonville, Fla., offers the industry the EnCORE operational and financial back-office management software suite built on one centralized Microsoft SQL database.
“With EnCORE software every aspect of waste and recycling organization is managed in one centralized system. There is no longer a need to track information in separate programs and applications, Excel spreadsheets, scale systems, fleet GPS management systems,” says Scott Fisher, national sales manager for CORE Computing Solutions Inc.
EnCORE’s software includes route profitability, driver productivity, fill rate and content of bin data monitoring or the ability to bill a customer based on what they put in the container in the field by material type or weight.
Agoura Hills, Calif.-based CTP Solutions provides reporting and analytics for postage, mailing, remittance processing that can be custom formatted to the customer's software system for cash application.
“CTP is an expert in the industry for business process outsourcing as it relates to the accounts receivable and accounts payable workflow. We are software agnostic and provide accounts receivable solutions that begin with the raw data file from the company's software provider for the billing process for print and mail, eBill, payment processing, lock box and diplomatic collection efforts,” says Garrick Sun, vice president of sales for CTP Solutions. “On the accounts payable side, CTP can scan, apply business rules for workflow management and process check and ACH payments.”
Brian Auger, vice president of business development for Microsoft’s ITA Dynamics based in Washington, D.C., says the company offers Microsoft-certified, full ERP business software covering all departmental and functional areas and needs that is customized specifically for waste and recycling companies.
“All information, communications and processes the business engages in is tracked, collected and stored within the database repository,” he says. “Fully robust business intelligence and analytics within the system can track and report on any and all of the data collected.”
Prior to the introduction of this technology, billing data was measured by the amount of hours it took for employees to fold, stuff, mail and process payments back into the software. It also was measured either by handwritten ledgers or data entering into differing software systems or databases, in different departments, by a number of different employees.
“It was incredibly monotonous work that can now be handled electronically, improving DSO (days sales outstanding) and increasing cash flow to invest into the company,” says Sun.
According to Fisher, the right hand really didn't know what the left hand was doing.
“By marrying the operational data with the financial data seamlessly really changed the way that Solid Waste Management looked at streamlining their operations,” he says. “Before these systems were archaic, time consuming, costly and most importantly much of the data they were getting back was inaccurate and lead to poor decisions. With CORE and similar technology the data is live as it is happening out in the field, relevant and accurate to allow the solid waste management organization able to make timely decisions that in return allows them to be more efficient and profitable.”
With today’s software offerings, waste and recycling companies can be more efficient in cash management and streamline their business processes to allow their employees to focus on more cash generating activities and growing the business, according to Sun.
Fisher says the technology allows the solid waste management organization to do more with less and give them the data analytics they need to make better decisions and run more efficiently—making the organization stronger in many ways.
“It allows the driver to do a better job and seamlessly report what is going on out in the field,” he says. “It allows the solid waste management organization to run leaner and do more with less while at the same time do a better job by utilizing the data they are getting from the field and it allows the customer to have a better all-around experience, have more access to their data to help them understand and help reduce the amount of waste they are producing.”
Although the industry has been slower to adopt operational technology than others, it has been picking up speed.
“On the whole, most waste and recycling companies are led by very innovative and forward thinking people who recognize the key role technology must take within their business to survive and thrive in a highly competitive marketplace that is still relatively new to the last half century here,” says Auger. “They already feel a commitment to reducing their businesses environmental footprints in the world and utilizing a business software system that can allow them to do this while simultaneously increasing their bottom line is just a no brainer.”
The future of business operations technology in the waste and recycling industry is in web-based applications—from customer sign-up to instant route optimization algorithms to enterprise operational and financial reporting.
“Smartphones and tablets have changed how we live our daily lives and it is no different for the solid waste and recycling industry,” says Fisher.
Sun says, “We believe the waste and recycling industry has room to grow their business and profit margins by streamlining their workflow processes with technology. As they embrace technology to help automate some of these manually intensive processes, they allow their employees and staff to focus on more important initiatives to grow the business.”