The lower the number of variables you can create within your organization, the better your business will perform when outside factors change beyond your control.
By John Paglia III

I get asked quite frequently to design/share training manuals for the most common positions in the waste industry. While positions in the waste industry can become very routine and regimented, they must always continue to evolve, to avoid complacency, which goes hand in hand with an increase in accident/injury events. With that aside, no day is ever the same in the industry. While the core may be the same, the flavor of your day will vary depending upon your position. The short answer is that a magic playbook does not exist. You will never encounter the same scenario repetitive enough to create a “How to” guide to be prepared for it. This attribute drives some to the industry where they thrive in the environment, while others cannot seem to keep up with the pace and choose to go a different route.

Working with Current Trends
The same logic can also be applied to equipment serving the waste industry. What worked years ago, may no longer work today and especially in the future. In previous articles, I have talked about the push for automation on the collection side. To be clear, it does not just stop and start there. Due to an increase in demand for our services, and a lack of supplies and labor forces, we are forced many times to automate and streamline what we can. I found that this is only further supported on a couple of recent upcoming contracts. I was awarded the contracts, in part, due to my ability to start with new equipment in a timely fashion. One of the contracts required a few new collection trucks. Less than two years ago, I would have been able to be picky on the spec of the chassis that was readily available and already built ready to have a body mounted. Today, I was given a choice of three to choose from and, thankfully, with some minor tweaking, we were able to make changes that would keep it within “our standard spec”.

Do Your Research
Anyone who follows my articles regularly knows I love to keep things as uniform as possible, when possible. The lower the number of variables you can create within your organization, the better your business will perform when outside factors change beyond your control. Once again, this logic does not just apply to purchasing equipment. For the sake of discussion specifically referencing your fleet, setting standards, and lowering your variances will create brand loyalty with your vendors, ease of maintenance, and driver efficiencies knowing the equipment. The smaller you are, no doubt this is easier to control. As you continue to grow, opportunities will present themselves that may not always align with your typical “first choice” vendor schedule. This opens the door for new vendors within the industry to have the opportunity to earn and retain your business not only on the first opportunity, but also for the long term. Sometimes you may be faced with trying something outside your company standard; if this is your only option, I encourage you to not stray too far in your variants. Do your research, consult your close circle and at the end of the day make your best business decision. Ultimately, if you are happy and your customer is happy, you are on the right track for success. | WA

John Paglia III is a 4th generation garbage man and President of IMG, the parent company of Florida Express Environmental. Currently, John is focused on growing his company and offering the highest level of customer service and prolonging the world that we live in today. He continues to cultivate his passion for business leadership, innovation and education through his memberships in the National Waste and Recycling Association, Legislative Affairs Committee for Florida, National Interstate Insurance Corporation and the Future Industry Leader Association. He is also an active member of the Detachable Container Association. John wakes up every day knowing the impact professional haulers have on their community is far greater than most realize. He can be reached at (352) 629-4349, e-mail [email protected] or visit