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Western Oregon Waste (Recology) Captures Additional Residential Revenues and Improves Customer Service with FleetMind

Since 1928, Western Oregon Waste (WOW) (Recology) has been providing commercial, industrial and residential waste removal services to the McMinnville, Astoria, and Warrenton areas of Oregon. WOW has a fleet of more than 50 vehicles serving 16,000 residences.

Western Oregon Waste
“FleetLink has streamlined the entire operation, eliminating 1000’s of pages of route books daily, made recording extra’s simple with just a few keystrokes live in the field, and provided real-time GPS, allowing dispatch to know where every route is at any time during the day. Our drivers immediately adapted to the system and have become comfortable relying on it over their old route books. FleetMind customer service and support is there for us 24/7 always receptive to our unique needs and are always on the forefront with new ideas.”
Rich Kuehn, Operations Manager, Western Oregon Waste

The Problem

WOW had identified a number of problem areas and was seeking solutions to address the following key issues:

  • Untapped Revenue Opportunities: Joe Cook, WOW’s CFO, realized that they were missing significant potential revenue from their residential services and was looking for a way to capture it. “Imagine if we could efficiently capture one extra pick per customer per year in a franchise of 16,000 at $5 per pick up,” he said.
  • Inaccurate Billing: For years, recording extra service calls in the field and making sure they were billed accurately was a problem for WOW. “Things would get lost in the transition from the field to the office, and never get billed properly,” said Rich Kuehn, head of operations.
  • Inefficient Service Verification: WOW was also looking for a better way to track its fleet to verify service and when a truck was at a customer’s location. Establishing reasons for a missed service was also a big requirement, since redirecting a truck to a customer location for a missed pick up could be costly. “Western Oregon Waste prides itself on its attention to detail and service for our customers,” said Kuehn. “We want to know as quickly as possible why a customer may have been missed, so we can address the issue”.
  • Lack of Effective IT Integration: Lisa Rodgers, head of IT, was looking for an integrated solution that would be simple for the drivers to use and provide the necessary information to capture billing directly from the field into their back office environment.

The Solution

The FleetMind team met with WOW's management team and reviewed the requirements not only for residential but for all lines of business for the company. The complete FleetLink solution was installed at 3 locations and was fully integrated with WOW’s Soft-Pak back-office system. Direct real time communications were established using the GPRS communications system supported by AT&T Cingular.

Kuehn and his operations team quickly implemented the solution while FleetMind provided on-site mechanic training. The initial fleet was installed in a week. Western Oregon Waste quickly became autonomous in supporting their system.

The Results

Within hours on day 1 of launching the FleetLink residential solution, the WOW team began to see results. Customers who called to indicate that their pickups had been missed were immediately dealt with real-time updates to the customer service screen. In one instance, WOW customer service was able to provide verification to a customer that his bin had not been available during the scheduled service time.

WOW soon enjoyed the following benefits from the FleetMind integrated system:

  • Additional Revenues: Residential extras were captured immediately and fed to the billing system automatically. Extras went from nothing to dozens weekly because the driver was able to easily capture the information on the FleetMind screen.
  • Improved Service Efficiencies: Customer service efficiencies increased with real-time service verification, and credits and write-offs decreased accordingly.
  • 50% Reduction in Data Entry Time: Data entry was streamlined due to the direct interface with WOW’s So-Cal Soft-Pak i-Pak system. The time required to enter the requisite data was reduced to less than half, and the accuracy of the data improved.
  • Improved Operations: Operations was able to dispatch daily calls and extras for roll off and commercial business in real-time. This significantly cut down on missed call distribution within operations and kept the degree of service high.