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Episode 72: Technology: Successfully Using it as the True Differentiator Between OK and Good Business

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This week’s podcast is one of Waste360’s popular webinars. This one is a powerhouse panel of speakers talking technology and how it can be the difference between running a good business and running a great business.

From fleets to the back office, technology can help waste companies improve safety and efficiencies by capturing data and providing tools to assess data to make better, faster more successful decisions.

In the past, technology was seen as a tool only for large haulers, but as the cost of technology like sensors and AI has declined it’s become more economical. Smaller companies can increase EBITA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) bymore than 50 percent by using technology. Jason Gates, CEO, Compology said, “When you’re a smaller operator it actually ends up being more efficient to implement technology when you are still small. It tends to take a little bit less bandwidth from an operational change and process change perspective.”

Historically, technology was an all or nothing perspective. Over the last five years, with the onset of SaaS (software as a service), technology has become more accessible and providers are now finding a way to carve out niche solutions that make a significant impact for all customers. “The key is delivering value to the end customer and creating that operational efficiency because of which they are investing in technology,” said Girish Juneja, Senior vice president & chief digital officer, Dover Corporation.

Even though the implementation of the technology involves significant business changes, it can be done in stages. The investment amount can depend on what the business is hoping to achieve. The more invested, the higher the return. But small investments can deliver tremendous progress. 

Jimmy Martin, CEO and co-founder, AMCS said, “Typically you are looking at a payback or return on investment of less than 12 months. From our point of view, it can be less than six months.” What’s critical in implementing technology? Since the technology requires a complete shift in the business, it is vital for the C-suite through the operations, transport, back office and finance to be involved.

The solid waste industry is a dangerous occupation. Smaller companies generally treat safety as the cost of doing business. However, technology can assist, which is good for both employees and the bottom line. Companies that implement a data driven approach allow for automation and remote monitoring, allowing the drivers to stay focused on the road.

In fact, during this unprecedented time around the COVID-19 pandemic, technology and the data it provides has helped waste companies become agile and achieve high productivity. The pandemic has shown how important data and intelligence is in the waste marketplace.

Michael E. Hoffmann, group head diversified industrials and managing eirector, Stifel, said, “This latest crisis just brings to head the need for that much more ability to be nimble and technology is the way to do that and do it in a manner that means employees stay safe, the customers get their service, you can run your business successfully.”

 

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