For close to 30 years, a Wilmington, N.C.-based software company has provided operational support to the solid waste management industry in the U.S. The company has experienced technology evolve from the days of DOS and sees automation as the future of waste management software.
Incorporated in 1983 and founded by Larry Blanton, a CPA with a background in local government, Carolina Software Inc. specializes in software for the waste disposal and recycling industries.
Since 1988, Carolina Software has been installing and supporting the WasteWORKS solid waste management software at locations across the U.S. and Canada. The software provides data to manage waste and recycling facilities, including ticketing, monthly billing, accounts receivable reporting, management reporting, graphical analysis and support.
Waste360 recently sat down with Jon Leeds, vice president of Carolina Software, to discuss the history of the company and waste management technology.
Waste360: What is Carolina Software’s background?
Jon Leeds: We have thousands of active ticketing and office sites in North America. About 80 percent of our customers are governmental. The remaining 20 percent are small private disposal facilities, but also includes large corporate customers, such as Waste Connections Inc. Since 1989, our product focus has been the solid waste disposal industry. Some of our customers process as many as 1,500 tickets in one day at a four scale network facility, including automated express lanes. Our customers operate landfills, transfer stations, MRFs with buy back facilities, compost facilities, waste-to-energy sites, baler facilities and convenience sites.
Our customer base consists of more than 800 active accounts (this equates to thousands of active users) in North America… Our experience with similar operations around the country ensures that we can provide your facilities with a smooth and efficient transition and a successful installation.
Waste360: How does WasteWORKS solid waste management software work?
Jon Leeds: Basically, if you run a waste or recycling facility, WasteWORKS provides the software tools you need. Our WasteWIZARD hardware/software system is the automated module for sites seeking to automate one or more of their scales—or to simply go unmanned.
WasteWORKS is typically installed a scale house location and also at admin and finance locations. We make sure all sites are kept in sync so that data from all of the ticket sites is available for reporting and billing at the office. This also means that someone at the office can enter information—like new customers or vehicles—and that information flows back to the ticketing sites in a very timely manner.
Waste360: How and when did WasteWORKS come about?
Jon Leeds: Our founder was really in the right place at the right time. He dabbled in writing code and had worked for a local government agency. Long story short—WasteWORKS, along with some other packages geared for municipal government made it into some local operations and things blew up from there. There are a number of sites in North Carolina that have been actively using WasteWORKS for 25 years.
Waste360: What other technologies/software do you offer?
Jon Leeds: Our focus is really on the waste industry, so all of our offerings are basically peripherals for WasteWORKS. It’s plenty to keep us busy!
Waste360: Being in business for so long, how has technology evolved in the waste industry?
Jon Leeds: Well, when we started out, WasteWORKS was a DOS application and batch files comprised our menu system and file transfer schemes. Things progressed to a 32-bit application in the 90s and then to a SQL-based system some years ago. We continue to push things ahead and we work hard to make sure our products are compatible with all of the latest hardware and operation systems.
Believe it or not, we actually had some folks hanging on to their DOS WasteWORKS system until just a couple of years ago. It was simple and looks old compared to today’s technology, but it was solid and processed a whole lot of waste through the years!
Waste360: What is the most important technological advancement over the past 25 years?
Jon Leeds: I think for us it was the move to a Microsoft SQL database. Our previous versions had similar databases, but the move to SQL really opened things up in terms of performance and capabilities.
Waste360: What do you see as the future of technology in the waste industry?
Jon Leeds: I think customers are really starting to focus on automating processes, including automating transaction processing at the scale and automating the delivery of information (reports, billing, etc.) to staff and customers. At the scale, customers understand that moving vehicles through scale more quickly, either by allowing certain vehicles to be processed automatically or in fully unmanned situations, means increasing revenue and keeping customers happy.
Along those lines, automating the delivery of reporting data and bills to customers—and staff—means less work for office staff and folks who are getting the information they need in less steps. We spend a good bit of time these days setting up automated report delivery systems for customers. It’s about efficiency and taking advantage of modern tools. I like to tell people that as long as we are collecting the data, the options for reporting and delivery are almost unlimited.