Bin Rental Company Wins Big Through Mobile Asset Traceability
Construction Waste Disposal is a relatively young waste management company out of Edmonton, Alberta. The locally-owned and operated business has experienced exponential growth over the last few years and provides waste bin rentals for construction waste and debris with delivery and pick-up, as well as fencing and port-a-potty rentals for job sites.
The Business Problem
The main issues that needed to be resolved included:
- Paper-based system made it difficult to track the whereabouts and status of assets and drivers
- Company had very limited visibility into their inventory levels, and therefore, it was difficult to know which type of bins were available for new orders coming in
For a company that relies on effective logistic execution to be successful, using a paper-based system to track the whereabouts of bins throughout the day was difficult and inefficient. In order for management to know at which point drivers were in their daily route schedule, they would call the drivers several times per hour to receive an updated location and status of the drop-off, pick-up, or dump.
There was also very limited visibility into the full asset list of bins, as well as an inability to see in real-time which bins could be available for a new order. With the company setting its sights on being an industry leader in sustainability and customer service, CWD needed an environmentally-friendly solution that would keep track of their bins, and streamline their processes in order to meet increasing demands.
The Mobile Data Collection Solution
The solution that CWD needed would take care of two main issues:
- Track the location and order status relating to specific types of bins without having to call drivers constantly
- Provide management with the visibility into the types and number of available bins in inventory
The solution that they chose to employ was Arcsset from Nektar Data Systems. Arcsset stands for ‘archiving assets’, and is mobile data collection company that allows for the capture and storage of all types of data from assets belonging to many different kinds of companies and industries. Arcsset is also based out of Edmonton, Alberta, but has clients using their system all over the world.
With an inventory of around 180 bins, CWD sought out a solution that would allow them to track the location of all the bins that were being used in all the current orders, and also to provide them with visibility into the current number of unused bins that could be available for a new order, which are kept in one centralized inventory location. From this basic necessity, Arcsset’s customizable platform allowed for the streamlining and integration into many more operations within the company.
The QR Tag for Asset Traceability
The original intention of Arcsset’s system was to provide CWD with quick-reference (QR) tags to code their assets by specific identifying attributes and providing the company with functional asset traceability. Not only was the location identifiable but the data associated with the current status of the bin within the order cycle could be viewed by management in real-time as well.
Using their handheld iOS devices, drivers would scan their bins’ QR tags at specific points within the dump-and-return process, such as when they had dropped a bin off, picked a bin up, or had just finished a dump. The information within these scans was then immediately attributed to that specific asset, and updated management on the whereabouts and status of all their bins, which eliminated the need to call drivers constantly to find out their current location. The associated GPS function also provided confirmation of accountability to management that drivers were where they were supposed to be at any given time through real-time scan tracking.
Increased Visibility into Inventory Levels
The scans were also completed on bins as they entered and left the inventory facility, and a report was customized so that the company could view it and know how many and of what type of bins it had available for upcoming orders. Previously, drivers had to manually input inventory counts, so the new system saved the company a significant amount of time through the use of QR tags in this aspect alone. If inventory levels began to drop to the point where CWD risked not being able to supply bins to clients when needed, the company was able to immediately identify that these levels were too low, and use the asset tracking system to determine if other bins might soon become available. The search and query capabilities of the system provided management with the ability to filter their bins by the status of the asset within an order. If, for example, inventory levels were low and new orders continued to come in, management could search for bins that were approaching the end of their rental term and call the client to see if they may need a pick-up soon. Understanding which bins might become available in a short period of time is crucial for a company that provides same-day delivery or the bin is free.
The Added Benefits
The additional functional uses of Arcsset within the company included:
- Using data from reports for invoicing
- Ability to ensure that rental agreement terms were being followed properly
- Provide substantiated photo evidence to settle debates surrounding inflicted damage to bins
- Precisely track the amount of waste and diversion rates for clients and for internal purposes
- Provide clients striving for LEED credentials with access to reports outlining diversion rates
- Payroll functionality
- Pre and post-trip inspections
- Accurate averages of the weight associated with each bin size
Using Data from Reports for Invoicing
From this original necessity and intended use came many more adaptations of Arcsset’s malleable capabilities into the rest of the business with the help of the innovative team at CWD. The manager began to incorporate the system’s capabilities into the process of invoicing clients. The QR tags became associated with a specific work-order number, which was uniquely identifiable to a precise job and client. Each bin was given unique numbers derived from a job number, abbreviation of the client’s name, and asset number, that were then tied into an invoice for a client. The bin’s attributes, such as size, would be coupled with the information about the asset’s dump, such as tonnage and waste diversion, which would also affect the pricing on the invoice for the client. All the data pertaining to specific orders that had been completed would then be taken and reviewed, and then easily built into invoices for clients.
Ability to Ensure Terms in Rental Agreements Were Followed
A scan of the bin upon pick-up would also show the rental agreement, which allowed drivers to determine whether any terms in the agreement had been not been followed, such as a customer using a bin for five days when the rental agreement specified three days.
Tracking the specifics of a bin’s activity to the order number and client also allowed CWD to associate information within the dump ticket to a bin and client. This ticket is used for many purposes, such as accurate pricing by recording the tonnage at the dump and the associated dump-fees, and cross-referencing this amount with the rental agreement to be sure that the actual tonnage was not more than specified in the rental agreement. It also aided in calculating the amount of waste and diversion rates for each client and also for CWD’s internal purposes.
Photo Capture to Settle Damage Disputes
Additionally, photo capture capabilities within the app from a smartphone could show whether any damage had been inflicted upon the bin during the rental period, by analyzing photos of the bin that were taken at the time of the drop-off. This is a useful tool to provide substantiated evidence to help settle any debates surrounding whose responsibility it was for inflicted damage to a bin.
Waste Tracking, Diversion Rates and Reports for LEED Credits
Diversion rates are important for many construction companies that wish to follow an environmentally friendly approach. Since sustainability is one of CWD’s foremost objectives, the ability to track diversion rates internally and for clients has provided them with accurate readings into how they are measuring up to their own targets. Diversion rates are especially important for companies that wish to follow strict guidelines to fall under a LEED development, which requires building projects to recycle or salvage at least 50% of construction waste in order to earn credits towards LEED certification. By easily tracking the waste being diverted away from a landfill through the Arcsset app, CWD simply supplies a URL link to a report that shows companies their waste amounts and diversion rates for specific sites, which can then be used as documentation to submit for LEED credits.
Electronic Payroll Functionality
CWD has also used the app for payroll purposes by incorporating the scanning ability into a time card task that workers scan into whenever they are starting or finishing a job. This has provided the company with accurate payroll capabilities through the use of confirmation by GPS location at the time of the scanned event.
Pre and Post-Trip Inspections
Another function of the Arcsset app that is used by many companies employing the system is pre and post-trip inspections. This task within the application allows companies to convert their old paper-based pre and post-trip inspection checklists with a digitalized version on a handheld device. The task is comprised of many elements, including check boxes to show that all required areas have been checked, as well as photo capture and comment capabilities to document damage, or issues, or observations, and worker name and signature to ensure accountability. These reports can then be viewed by management in real-time as the checklists have been scanned with an accurate GPS location.
The use of a mobile data collection system to record and track pre-trip inspections has helped CWD establish acomprehensive maintenance program that gives complete visibility into the status of their fleet, and helps them to predict scheduled maintenance to their vehicles and equipment better than before.
Accurate Averages of the Weight Associated with Each Bin Size
Many customers also enquire about the potential costs associated with the rental of different sized bins. Since the bins are characterized and rented out by size, but the dump tickets and a lot of the costs associated with the rental are dependent on the weight of the waste inside, customers often call the office to ask how much weight each size of bin will hold on average, which will then give the client insight into the full cost of renting that particular size of bin. Previously, the answer was based on past experience and some guess-work, but with the Arcsset system, they are able to draw up historical data of tonnage from each dump of a specific-sized bin and calculate an accurate average of the weight for that bin. This has allowed for much more precise and substantiated answers for potential customers, which allows clients to make the best decision possible for themselves.
Construction Waste Disposal in Edmonton has experienced high levels of growth in a competitive industry through the implementation of innovative practices, and by focusing on their corporate goals of exemplary customer service and sustainability. It was the focus on these values that led CWD to seek out a solution to their asset tracking and inventory issues. Combining the system’s capabilities with the manager’s foresight and creativity, Nektar Data Systems and CWD were able to come up with a functional solution to the issues at hand, as well as harness many other abilities of the app to save time and money in other areas of the business, expanding the benefits beyond the original intent of the solution.