When deciding to implement add-ons to your existing software, these tools and features can help with employee retention and reduce stress on your drivers and your supervisor team by efficiently completing the routes on time.
By Christopher Matesevac

Today, route management is one of the most important issues in the waste industry. However, it does not come with its fair share of challenges. When a company hires new employees, they must learn the route, so the management team must strategize on how to educate them. Call outs, including vacations, medical issues, etc. are also factors and many times temporary employees are brought in to work the routes that they are not familiar with. This results in time to train the new employees, which will last about three to four weeks to learn the routes effectively. Many times, another driver will also ride with them to learn the route or ride with them while they are running it, so they are familiar with the area and there will be substantially less missed stops.

By having a program or software that is easy to use and set up with a user-friendly app, companies can put themselves in a position to be ahead of the curve. Sometimes, these programs may be missing components that would make route management event easier. Let’s look at what type of programs are available and add-ons that are beneficial to consider adding to your overall system.


The paper on the left shows direction by which the driver should navigate. The map shows the highlighted streets for the areas to be collected by the vehicle.
Images courtesy of Global Routing Solutions.

An Efficient Route Management System
The first benefit of having an effective route
management system is ensuring that you are not missing customers and appointments. When you do not know the route, that is the first thing that gets broken, resulting in additional time and money wasted. Because the drivers may make a wrong turn or miss an area they must go back to, the  driver will end up adding hours to a route and depending on the hourly rate, it will add up.

In the waste hauling business, it is probably around $100 an hour, once you add in overtime, extra  expenses, and necessary maintenance, etc. In addition, by having a good system, there is less stress on your drivers and supervisors. Everyone is worried about missing customers. Your driver is worried about making a mistake and your supervisor is ultimately r
esponsible for that particular area.

While there are many route optimization programs and software available today, companies need to take into consideration the complication of the optimization process. In a given area, employees enter the addresses manually into an excel file or a similar operating system for a central database. The system will then take that information and sort it, so it gives the most efficient route. If you add a new customer, employees may have to insert that customer’s address exactly where it needs to be within the program, so ultimately, the driver would tell you where to put it, which becomes tedious. There are many variables that route optimization does not pick up on that add-ons can, including real life variables that route optimization does not take into consideration. This could be low bridges, sharp turns, a narrow road, tree branches, and so on.

Route optimization programs can be costly. If you have a fleet of 100 vehicles, you are buying 100 tablets, 100 mounts, and 100 software packets, plus a monthly service rate per truck, ranging from $15 to $59 per truck. And that adds up. By customizing your program with add-on options, you get only what you need.

Your good employees will tell you if your routing system is an efficient tool and if your new drivers are able to navigate with it. A good route optimization tool has many positive aspects, including tracking immediately whether the trash is out. When you are picking up from 1,000 homes per day, stopping and taking a picture is not on your to do list. Ask yourself, is the existing software that you are paying for efficient? Is it working?


View of the path of a route on the online portal provided for the customer.

The Benefits of Add-ons
Today, it is possible to implement different add-ons, in addition to the ones that are already in place. Look at the benefits that your existing software provides and what are you missing. There are programmer apps that fix a specific piece that you may need. For example, if you are still purchasing multiple different programs to fill a void when it comes to the routing for substitute drivers. While many fleet management systems include routing maintenance, employee tracking, route optimization, and even a camera system, they may be missing a route GPS recorder/player. One of the functions of this add-on is to be able to draw sections of a route and save it for future drivers. This add-on is designed for specific issues, including missed streets, missed cul-de-sacs, etc. It can then be automatically uploaded to a company’s server where a driver can log into an app, select the route that was created, and take care of the pickup location or area.


View of what the driver sees on the app as they progress through the route.


Screenshots of the app in progress. Supervisor views.

You should consider add-ons when you are looking for a component that may be missing from your traditional fleet management software. Many companies will buy fleet management systems and they may not like the billing section or something similar when they evaluate it. Or if they are having issues with their substitute drivers and they are not able to navigate the routes the way that they need to without any issues. This is when to consider the add-on service because it can help make the situation more efficient and to get companies what they need. This results in less upfront cost. If you calculate the average number of callouts on a daily or weekly basis, you can determine what the hourly rate is, and you can get an idea of what you need and how it will help any route problems you have. The right GPS recorder/player add-on will fix the problem and save money.

When deciding to implement add-ons, look for apps that are easy to use. Your vendor should be able to discuss with you how to download, set it up, and provide information on how to use it. The plug-and-play download allows one to create an account, adding in files online so you can separate your routes for your areas or locations, and takes notes through voice command. The GPS recorder/player will also record the path. All of these tools and features can help with employee retention and reduce stress on your drivers and your supervisor team by efficiently completing the routes on time. | WA

Christopher Matesevac is the CEO for Global Routing Solutions. He worked for more than 25 years in cable television and broadband technology including Sprint. He joined the waste industry and worked as a residential supervisor for eight years. During his tenure he discovered the need for a better GPS routing solution. The techie in him decided to create and develop C.H.R.I.S. Commercial Route Recorder. Christopher can be reached at (717) 779-7629, e-mail [email protected] or visit https://globalroutingsolutions.com.