Michael Hess


We are in a time that is being transformed by technology and data. The two elements combine to help business owners simplify legacy processes and transform operational efficiencies. One area, however, that often gets overlooked on the road to transformation is waste management.

Many times, waste programs are, in a way, autonomous after initial set up and equipment delivery. You and your staff dispose of waste and recycling materials and the haulers come on a regular basis to take away the output. But what if you’re not regularly filling the disposal equipment you have? Or, you have multiple locations, vendors and invoices to deal with? The key touchpoint that is missing is regular waste performance analyses, which can help keep track of your waste spend and pinpoint opportunities for cost savings and efficiencies.

There are waste monitoring systems available today that allow business owners to get a good handle on waste spend. There are often two ways to go about consistent monitoring. The first is, you can monitor the waste spend dashboard yourself and make necessary adjustments directly with vendors. The second is working with a managed waste service provider (MWSP). The latter enables the MWSP to tackle all waste-related activities on your behalf, sharing opportunities for waste program adjustments and keeping an eye on equipment health. It also allows you to divert attention back to other critical areas of your business.

There are a variety of equipment options available, and monitoring capabilities will vary based on equipment. The key is to pinpoint the right equipment for your location(s) and fully take advantage of the information you can gather from a monitoring system. Below are three ways monitoring technology is transforming disposal machine monitoring.

#1: Real-Time Access to Waste Program and Spend Data

One of the greatest things about technology is that it can give us the key information we need on short notice. If you want to check some quick stats on your favorite baseball team, you can easily jump online to get them. The same holds true for waste management. Many waste monitoring solutions today offer a real-time glimpse into your waste program via a cloud-based dashboard. By logging on you can view key data including equipment fullness status, pick-up and return status, pick-up history, upcoming scheduled hauls and activity logs. Detailed reports and insights show a variety of key data buckets that will help keep you informed. These can include waste spend, service insights, statistics on tonnage, number of hauls and historical program data.

#2: Regular Opportunities to Pinpoint Waste Program Rightsizing and Optimization

Data is golden. A real-time glimpse into your waste program offers the opportunity to uncover any obvious inefficiencies. For instance, by evaluating elements such as fullness status and tonnage statistics, you can better understand if there are any rightsizing opportunities at your locations. The monitoring system can help you determine whether you’re maximizing the tonnage of your equipment in order to better control the frequency of hauls, ultimately leading to overall cost savings.

Consistent data will allow you to make any pertinent updates or improvements over time. For example, having historical data for your waste program will help you prepare your waste needs ahead of time for peak spikes in business. This will help you avoid any issues from a significant change to your regular waste flow.

#3: Equipment Health Information at Your Fingertips

Just like cars need oil changes and fine-tuning, there will be times when waste equipment problems will need to be addressed or machines will need to be serviced. A waste monitoring system helps you reduce downtime by allowing you to keep an eye on equipment controls to make sure everything is functioning as it should.

The system can show a variety of key indicators including the status of the whole power unit, oil temperature, switching controls, safety features, container connections and system operating performance. Depending on the problem at hand, oftentimes a technician can remotely patch in to solve the issue. And, if support is needed, the system can flag a technician to stop out to fix the issue in a timely manner.

A Better Understanding

With a waste monitoring system in place, you can better understand your waste spend, ongoing program statistics and service insights. This helps you ensure your program is as efficient and cost-effective as it can be, whether you have one or multiple locations.

Michael Hess is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Waste Harmonics, a Rochester, NY-based company that provides customized waste and recycling management solutions for businesses across North America. Michael leads Waste Harmonics’ team of waste/recycling, technology, logistics and customer service experts who manage waste and recycling services, which deliver significant costs savings for single- and multi-location businesses in a wide range of categories, including retail, grocery, restaurant, travel center, logistics, distribution and shipping. Prior to founding Waste Harmonics, he served as vice president of U.S. operations for Capital Environmental Resource Inc., a $120 million in revenue solid waste collection and disposal company with operations in the Northeastern U.S. and Canada. During his tenure at Capital Environment, he served as an integral part in the acquisition, startup and integration of 11 solid waste companies for more than two and a half years. Michael acquired Waste Harmonics from Capital Environment in 2001 and has since grown the business from a solely Northeastern U.S. focus to serving customers throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more information, call (585) 924-9640, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.wasteharmonics.com.