John C. Warren III recently has been appointed corporate director of hauling operations for Sanifill, Houston. Warren has 23 years of experience in the waste industry at the local, regional and corporate levels.
WW: What challenges face to-day's hauling managers?
JW: One of the major challenges facing the hauling manager is the waste stream, which in the past was collected by one vehicle, and now must be collected by several vehicles. For some residential customers, separate trucks pick up wet wastes, recyclables, compost and hazardous waste. More commercial and industrial accounts also re-quire separate collection vehicles for each material.
WW: How have economic considerations transformed waste collection in recent years?
JW: With costs increasing, hauling companies have been forced to become more efficient, focusing more on the statistical and ac-counting side of business. Man-agers have had to address such things as budgets, productivity tracking and weekly and monthly profit-and-loss statements. To be successful, today's hauling manager must be better educated and experienced in all aspects of business management.
WW: How will technological ad-vances change collection?
JW: On-board computers and computer mapping will be standard equipment in waste vehicles in upcoming years. Collecting in-formation on truck operations and each customer serviced will make the hauler more efficient and profitable, while at the same time providing customers with a competitive price.
Trucks capable of picking up segregated wastes are another advancement. The industry will move toward these vehicles in the future and away from the current norm: separate vehicles for each type of waste.
WW: How have, and how will, in-creasing regulations affect waste collection?
JW: Over the past few years, our industry has become more focused due to increased regulations. As local governments face revenue shortfalls, they are seeking ways to replace that revenue, often through regulations such as franchise fees, permit fees, waste taxes, recycling fees and flow control. However, increased regulations usually mean high costs and, ultimately, the individual that absorbs those costs is the customer.
As an industry, we must constantly be involved with our local, state and federal government officials to deter additional, unnecessary regulations.
WW: What is the future for the small- to medium-sized hauler?
JW: I see the number of small to medium-sized haulers decreasing due to the emergence of regional companies actively acquiring hauling companies. Many small- to medium-sized haulers are considering selling because of the many services now required by customers, including recycling, composting and landfilling services as well as meeting government regulations. All of these require large capital outlays.
WW: What are potential growth strategies for haulers in the 90s?
JW: Growth strategies for the 90s will include an increased em-phasis on recycling, customer service and innovative equipment and management approaches. Main-taining your customer base through customer service can be accomplished by increased em-ployee training on customer contact. Remember the motto: "The customer is always right."
By considering innovative equipment and ideas, such as more efficient trucks and bodies, onboard computers, mapping systems and price modeling, haulers can be cost-effective and continue growth in their market.