A More Efficient Network
Beyond reducing tailpipe emissions, we can also reduce the footprint of our fleet by ensuring that every Waste Management vehicle completes its service route in as few miles as possible, and that our entire network of assets operates efficiently as parts of an interconnected whole. Digital network optimization limits the time our vehicles are on the road. Daily dynamic routing improves the quality of information about our individual customer locations, helping to improve the quality of our service. Sophisticated data analytics also helps to maximize efficiencies associated with the location of landfills and transfer stations in our network, reducing time on the road even as routes change and traffic conditions vary.
The premise of efficient logistics is simple: a more efficient route means fewer miles traveled, which translates into reduced fuel consumption and associated emissions. Since 2017, Waste Management’s fleet has reduced miles driven by 2%, which equates to an approximate 8.9 million fewer miles driven a year. Optimizing routes not only reduces our environmental impact, it also increases the quality of our service: we miss fewer stops for commercial and residential customers.
Credit for much of this progress goes to our Service Delivery Optimization (SDO) initiative, which helps streamline routes. Under a “Safety, Service, Savings” motto, 95% of collection vehicles are SDO-certified. SDO technology, a component of the WM Way program, includes DriveCam®, a video recorder mounted on the windshield of collection vehicles that is automatically activated by sudden movements. Where appropriate as part of the SDO process, managers watch videos with drivers to coach them on fuel-saving driving techniques, such as proper acceleration, deceleration and efficient speeds. We’ve also instituted an anti-idling program to reduce fuel consumption. Through this program, all collection vehicles built after 1998 can program idle shutdown timers to five minutes, in accordance with the American Transportation Research Institute’s Compendium of Idling Regulations.
In 2019, we transitioned several programs into one entity, which allowed us to teach, train and coach consistently across our model dispatch, SDO and maintenance SDO (MSDO) functions. We quickly saw the benefits of this approach when each MSDO-certified route averaged 30 minutes less downtime than its noncertified counterpart, contributing to an overall weighted efficiency improvement of 1.1%. Of routes certified, 93% were able to maintain, and often improve, their expected level of performance, while meeting our Mission to Zero (M2Z) safety expectations. Currently, 50% of Waste Management routes are MSDO-certified, and we hope to have 100% of routes certified by the end of 2021. Learn more about Systems Training at Waste Management.
Mobile technology is an important enabler of progress. Our mobile app allows fleet managers who are responsible for multiple districts to:
- View real-time shop operations
- Communicate with shop technicians and get updates on standard repair times
- See the number of trucks needed and available to service customers
- View and mitigate possible downtime risks
Meanwhile, drivers can access logistics support, route optimization and direct dispatch support throughout the day. Replacing multiple communication devices with one device for the driver and dispatch teams makes for a safer, more streamlined operation.
In another example of GHG reduction from optimizing service, Waste Management’s Bagster® service offers compact containers for sale at more than 4,000 retail locations across the United States and Canada, eliminating the need to send a truck to deliver an empty container. Bagster is strong enough to hold up to 3,300 pounds of debris or waste, and when customers are finished with their projects, Waste Management can collect up to 15 full Bagsters on a single, efficient collection