“Bartec have transformed our waste business... they’ve built upon our ideas and delivered software solutions that work... I don’t think we’d have got this from another organisation.”
Nigel Harris – General Manager – Lichfield and Tamworth Joint Waste Service.
Faced with the harsh realities of today’s economic climate, Councils are having to think about their waste activities more as a business operation - one in which they can collaborate with other Councils to reduce costs, but also one where customers are equal partners to create a win-win situation.
Tamworth Borough and Lichfield District Councils are believed to be the first to have merged their waste services, with the two areas setting up a Joint Administrative Board in July 2010, when waste services were also moved completely in-house. The Board enables both Authorities to drive service delivery, placing day to day decision making in the hands of Council employees, rather than an external waste management company.
Combining working practices, employees and organisational structures can be difficult in any sector, but doing this under public scrutiny can be even more daunting. However, Tamworth and Lichfield Councils have made it work, already saving in excess of £700,000 by merging waste collection services and going on to win an MRW National Recycling Award as Local Authority Team of The Year.
The new joint service included a combined fleet of 23 trucks, 72 front line operatives and a small management team, covering some 140 square miles of predominantly rural and some sub-urban landscape, serving a total of 73,000 households.
An influential part of the efficiency plan was to introduce a real-time, paperless solution from Bartec to optimise vehicle and operative movements across both regions, providing near instant tracking and reporting on waste collection from households and businesses. The Waste Collector back-office operations management software and in-cab technology, originally supplied to Tamworth Borough Council in 2005, was extended to cover the new joint waste service.
Waste Collector was synchronised with the existing CRM system (Lagan), providing instant feedback to the customer call centre to immediately answer any householder queries, such as rejected bin collections. This had a real impact on educating customers on recycling initiatives and the service found that their residents were far happier to work with them if they had an immediate explanation.
Cost benefits and efficiency savings were quickly identified with:
As Nigel Harris, General Manager of the Joint Waste Service at Tamworth and Lichfield, puts it:
“Communication is fundamental to our success. We can monitor progress of our fleet by maintaining an overview of how much of the round has been collected at any point in the day and re-directing vehicles where necessary to complete more difficult rounds. However, there is also total synchronisation with our existing CRM system, providing instant feedback to our customer call centre to immediately answer any householder queries, for example rejected bin collections. We don’t underestimate the impact that this has had on educating customers on recycling initiatives and we have found that they are far happier to work with us if they have an immediate explanation”.
In 2017, the joint service set about transforming its waste services to support digital self-service. Starting with a new chargeable garden waste service, the council embarked on an ambitious journey to transform its service delivery within incredibly tight timescales.
A new self-service e-forms system, Jadu was implemented to replace the previous CRM system. The decision was also taken to upgrade the existing ‘Waste Collector’ system to the more powerful and feature rich ‘Collective’ system ahead of the new garden waste project.
It was imperative that automated processes were put in place to streamline the customer garden waste sign-up process. Working in partnership, Bartec, Jadu and Lichfield D C delivered a modern, fully integrated and automated digital platform.
The Jadu online forms allow users to select the number of bins they wish to subscribe to and request any additional bins to be delivered. This feeds automated processes within Collective, getting rid of hours of administration and allowing customer services to support residents through this transition.
Furthermore, additional automated processes allow customers to log bulky collections, missed bins and bin deliveries online which feed automatically into collective. Jobs are automatically allocated to crews, with any potential issues flagged to back office staff so that they can be dealt with immediately. The solution went live on 15 December 2017, and has enabled the service to:
Nigel Harris, General Manager Joint Waste Service, states…
“We have been using the Bartec data transfer and vehicle tracking system for more than a decade and it has certainly transformed the way we manage our business. In particular the system allows seamless two-way communication between the crews, the back office and the customer contact centre. This has allowed us to improve our business efficiency which has been very important in times of austerity and the system is also a vital cog in the delivery of our recently launched chargeable garden waste service. It would now be very difficult to provide waste collection services to our residents without the system.
“My sincere thanks to you and your team at Bartec. I think we have got a service we can all be proud of.”