Even in a tight labor market, haulers and municipalities in need of qualified drivers have a card up their sleeves: technology. Not only do fleet automation and other green technologies solve myriad problems before they arise, but they can help attract more diverse, talented and dependable drivers to operate collection vehicles.
From in-cab tablets and computers to software-based route-design tools, green technology for solid waste does more than help the planet and keep customers happy. It also can make for more engaged, satisfied employees.
That’s because fleet automation software eliminates guesswork, empowers drivers to carry out their jobs more efficiently and effectively, and improves internal communication, which can reduce friction and frustration on the job.
A Pay-As-You-Throw Use Case
Such is the case in the the City of Loveland, Colorado, where the solid waste team uses Routeware tools for fleet automation.
The City provides a pay-as-you-throw program to incentivize recycling and the use of smaller trash carts, explained Tyler Bandemer, Superintendent, Solid Waste Division, for the City.
Bandemer presented the City’s story at a recent SWANA event.
In the past, said Bandemer, a city rule allowed trash carts to be collected if the lid was opened at a 45-degree angle or less – a hard call to make. The rule often resulted in overloaded carts, contamination, and frustrated drivers who had to make a call to pick up or pass.
In 2020 a new city ordinance that calls for fully closed cart lids changed the game.
Today drivers use Routeware truck cameras and in-cab computers to capture images of overfilled carts and excess bags of waste at the curb, which frontline office staff can share with customers in real time if they call to ask why their trash wasn’t collected.
“Routeware is a godsend for drivers because they finally have a voice,” said Crew Supervisor Nathan Rasmussen. “A lot of (drivers) don’t mind going back to collect something, but they don’t want to feel like they’re being seen in a negative light.”
10 Ways To Become An Employer of Choice for Drivers
1 | Modern drivers want modern technology.
Recruiting younger drivers can be easier when your trucks are equipped with the same kind of software and technology they rely on every day, such as turn-by-turn directions and instant messaging.
2 | Help drivers feel heard.
With green tech aboard, when drivers encounter problems at the curb, they can easily capture a photo, automatically note the location, and pass it by — knowing without a doubt that their judgement will not be called into question.
3 | Onboard and train drivers without hassles.
On-board computers that provide complete route information and turn-by-turn directions offer guidance and eliminate guesswork, allowing new and veteran drivers alike to feel confident about their work. With the use of tools such as these, driver training in Loveland, for example, has been reduced from three months to just two weeks.
“We can train a person to run a trash truck in two weeks, and after that, we can just let them go,” said Crew Supervisor Nathan Rasmussen. With on-board tools, “they don’t need to know the routes or the streets.”
4 | Provide the support and individualized coaching drivers need.
On-board technology and fleet automation not only helps drivers perform their jobs better and more efficiently, but it also offers insights for improvement. In this way, drivers get coaching that’s targeted in the area they need it, without wasting time on areas they don’t.
What if a driver feels uncomfortable about being monitored? Rasmussen says it’s wise to address the elephant in the room. In Loveland, supervisors proactively discuss the “big brother” aspect of technology, and drivers know they aren’t monitored unless there’s an issue. In addition, drivers know that photo and GPS evidence collected through onboard computers can support and protect them in case of an accident.
5 | Give drivers a sense of control and the opportunity to master their tasks.
On-board technology and fleet automation provide drivers with the tools they need to do their jobs correctly and efficiently. They make the job more enjoyable, too.
“The drivers love it,” says Rasmussen. “If their tablet isn’t working, they don’t want to go do their routes.”
6 | Help drivers foster a sense of pride and ownership.
Drivers take pride in serving their customers efficiently and effectively. They don’t want to miss a single stop.
“They take personal ownership of their routes. They have a reputation with their customers, and they want them taken care of,” said Rasmussen.
Every driver deserves to work with effective tools that empower them to provide the exceptional service they’d like to deliver.
7 | Quick — and safe — collection for every driver, every route.
Safety and fleet management go hand in hand, and digital tools for fleet automation can help with both. Not only do these solutions improve safety for drivers, but for the community, too. Automation and turn-by-turn navigation help drivers keep their focus where it should be, and route optimization reduces the time a fleet spends on the road overall.
8 | Cover absences seamlessly.
“You take the drivers who aren’t there that day and the trucks that are down, and you plug another truck in,” says Rasmussen. “In organizing the day-to-day, it’s a game changer.”
9 | Efficient workloads make for happier drivers.
The day-to-day in waste collection can be an adventure.
When helper routes are needed, Routeware helps supervisors quickly iron them out by dragging and dropping stops and work orders from truck to truck.
Without truck tech, often only senior drivers can manage running additional routes. With it, any driver can access the information they need to complete a route effectively.
10 | Streamlined collaboration means less frustration.
With communication tools that connect team members on the street and in the office, real-time collaboration and transparency get a boost. Plus, GPS helps supervisors keep tabs on trucks’ locations throughout the day, allowing them to monitor progress and manage workloads on the fly.
Leveling up tech supports drivers
Every driver deserves access to the tools they need to do a job they can be proud of.
Software for fleet automation empowers drivers to do their best, to communicate more seamlessly, and to work more effectively as part of the solid waste team.
Learn more. We can help you identify tools and technologies to help you meet your goals. Let’s talk.