To stand out from other waste and recycling companies, haulers must offer customers innovation services that help reduce costs and make their fleets more efficient. One way to do that is to embrace updated technologies, such as route optimization software.
Over the past few years, haulers have slowly adopted route optimization technology, and those software providers have been forced to evolve their features to keep up with demand.
RouteSmart Technologies based in Columbia, Md., is one routing software provider that has enhanced its technology recently.
“RouteSmart software is constantly being enhanced to keep up with our clients’ requirements and the ever-changing technology environments,” says Jessica Cearfoss, public works business development manager, RouteSmart Technologies. “Recent enhancements include our roll-off algorithm, which optimizes the dynamic dispatching needs of this line of business. We are also continuously enhancing the software to stay compatible with our partners’ technologies.”
RouteSmart software is used by haulers around the globe. Its geographic information system-based (GIS) solution provides haulers with a suite of tools to balance workloads and sequence routes to minimize time and meet customer service commitments.
“RouteSmart offers solutions for all lines of business—residential, recycling, organics, commercial and roll-off. What’s best is that all lines of business can be route planned within the same software solution,” says Cearfoss.
RouteSmart software is used by more than 120 municipal and private haulers. Those municipalities include cities ranging in size from Los Angeles, Calif.; to Franklin, Tenn. Private haulers include regional and national organizations, such as WastePro, Waste Industries, Recology and Rumpke.
“We have used RouteSmart exclusively on all of our new residential contracts and acquisitions. It allows us to quickly start our new contracts with balanced routes and service days with minimal changes,” says Jeff Barnes, corporate routing manager for Longwood-Fla.-based WastePro USA. “We have also used it to geocode addresses and cart locations to get more accurate data for our various GPS systems. It has also proven to be invaluable in analyzing existing routes to make very expensive add or remove truck decisions.”
Barnes says the biggest challenge of utilizing route optimization software is keeping up with changes that the field would like to implement.
“RouteSmart has been very good in this respect. The multi-day routing for our commercial business, zone routing for our residential business and hopefully a roll-off routing module (are coming) soon,” he says. “We also started testing route maps using the block face to show streets instead of service locations, and we have been very successful with the route assignment tool.”
Many haulers would like to include support for in-vehicle navigation devices and the roll-off algorithm, according to Cearfoss.
“RouteSmart supports mobile devices through exporting the routing solution to these devices. Our RouteSmart Navigator solution—which was developed by a partner of ours—is the only in-vehicle navigation solution that navigates the driver over the same street database that the route plan was created over,” she says. “RouteSmart Navigator also supports the high-density nature of our routes—we’ve found that off-the-shelf nav devices cannot support the quantity of stops or streets to be serviced.”
Montreal-based FleetMind’s FleetLink Route Management System (RMS) is another web-based route management solution that provides support and insight to dispatch operations for industrial, residential and commercial waste collection services and for residential cart delivery and maintenance.
“Together with FleetLink Mobile real-time ﬂeet tracking and turn-by-turn driver directions, FleetLink RMS takes the guesswork out of managing routes to make sure that vehicles actually implement designated routes to minimize the distance, amount of fuel used and amount of time required to complete assignments,” says Martin Demers, vice president of FleetMind Solutions, part of the Safe Fleet Brand. “The result is total visibility into route progress, greater driver accountability, better customer service and vastly improved fuel efﬁciencies.”
Thousands of waste and recycling collection vehicles across North America use Fleetmind’s “smart truck” systems every day. Some of its customers include Republic Services, Casella Waste Systems, California Waste Recovery Systems, Kimble Recycling & Disposal, WastePro and many cities, including Albuquerque, N.M.; Fayetteville, N.C.; Mesa, Ariz.; Raleigh, N.C.; Santa Cruz, Calif.; and Scottsdale, Ariz.
Recently, Fleetmind completed a pilot project and full-scale deployment with Knight Waste Services in Fort Worth, Texas. Knight was established in 2003 to service the City of Fort Worth’s residential garbage and recycling collection.
The company operates 30 automated side load (ASL) trucks—four of which are diesel and 26 of which are compressed natural gas (CNG)—providing weekly curbside collection for 94,000 residential households in Fort Worth.
“As part of its ongoing drive to optimize service quality and achieve the performance targets established by its municipal partner, Knight realized that it needed much more detailed and comprehensive fleet monitoring and data collection capabilities,” says Demers. “Specifically, Knight wanted to be able to better automate the processing of routes for enhanced efficiencies, gain real-time views into driver behavior to help mitigate personnel issues, improve overall monitoring of collections activity for service assurance, gain video and photo evidence of any issues and increase the level and scope of reporting capabilities.”
Prior to choosing Fleetmind for the pilot project, Knight researched numerous fleet management technology options in its search for a comprehensive and fully-integrated solution before selecting the Street Smart Vision by McNeilus SSV10 system, an onboard computing solution powered by FleetMind.
As a first step, Knight conducted a pilot test of the McNeilus/FleetMind solution on a subset of fleet vehicles to ensure ease-of-use and desired outcomes. The pilot test was implemented on two trucks for a period of approximately three months.
“Knight quickly determined that the system would be of significant value for improving efficiencies in its operations, allowing for remote viewing of problematic behaviors and enabling more effective accident and incident investigations,” says Demers. “The SSV10 system pilot project satisfactorily proved the viability of key features and capabilities and provided much expanded visibility into fleet operations.”
The SSV10 system brings together an in-cab monitor, a mobile onboard computer and a DVR platform that integrates with a number of software features.
“Route management software optimizes the routing process, reduces maintenance costs and helps reduce fuel consumption and GHG emissions. Up to eight cameras provide drivers with a 360-degree view around the truck, and tracking software empowers managers with real-time insights into driver and truck behavior with fully-integrated video,” says Demers.
FleetMind offers mobile “Smart Truck” solutions—onboard computing (OBC) solutions that capture and store electronic control module (ECM) and other vehicular data to provide performance reporting and real-time alerts.
“These mobile software solutions provide unprecedented real-time information to drivers and dispatchers about a truck’s load-weight, route status, service completion, vehicular telemetry, driver activities and more. They also further manage a wide range of inputs from a vehicle’s on-board systems, such as cameras, scales, RFID readers, tire pressure and fuel monitoring,” says Demers.