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04 Dec 2020

How to improve route safety and decrease driver churn

AMCS Guided Navigation contributes to efficient waste collection routes and cost reduction

Mobile Workforce

How do you reduce driver churn? This is a question faced by so many waste collection businesses, often affecting up to 15 or 20% of driver workforce. According to pre-sales consultant Michael Nijland, the answer lies in Guided Navigation, which accompanies drivers en route with turn-by-turn navigation and safety warnings. “On top of that, Guided Navigation also increases both driver safety and route efficiency”, he says in a Guided Navigation webinar, part of the sustainable residential waste management series.

For waste companies, continuity of the waste collection operation and maintaining a high level of customer service are two of the major challenges they face. Key in tackling them is consistency. The goal is collection routes that are executed smoothly and efficiently – day in and day out. Too often, this route knowledge is stored in the heads of experienced drivers and, as a consequence, not directly available for temporary or inexperienced drivers .

One of the other challenges Michael Nijland mentions during the webinar is customer satisfaction. “Unexperienced drivers may miss bins or containers which can lead to unsatisfied customers. Since a re-run must be planned to empty the missed bins, in the net result is inefficiency and higher costs-per-route.” Something else that should be taken into account according to Michael is the time and cost element of training temporary or new drivers. “And also of major importance, routes driven without the right knowledge and instructions may lead to accidents, especially with temporary or unexperienced drivers.” 

Visual and spoken route guidance aids driver en route

Building Guided Navigation routes starts with importing the GPS trace, explains Michael. “These can be either a pre-recorded route or an imported route from AMCS Route Planner, which has a seamless integration with the Guided Navigation software. After importing the trace, the software will analyse the route and plot the GPS trace over the chart material.”

In the next step, with the map editor, streets can be added or changed. After the analysis, the system will automatically add the turn-by-turn instructions like ‘go left’ or ‘go right’. No manual labour is needed, only to add any additional instructions or safety warnings. Once a route is assigned to a vehicle on the in-cab mobile device, the driver is assisted by visual and spoken route guidance, including restorative guidance after taking a wrong turn. The solution also has an offline capability, which guarantees continuity of the guidance even if network signal is lost.

Seamless integration with AMCS Mobile Workforce and AMCS Intelligent Optimisation

Guided Navigation is an in-built functionality of AMCS Mobile Workforce, one of the six solution pillars of AMCS Platform, which also includes Route Planner and Fleet planner for state-of-the-art route optimisation. Routes optimised in AMCS Intelligent Optimisation can also be loaded into the Guided Navigation software to improve the waste collection efficiency even further.

Optimising both planning and routes substantially improves operational efficiencies by reducing mileage and waste collection time and increasing the productivity of each vehicle. That cuts costs for both vehicles and drivers with the added benefit of lowering the environmental impact of the route – a major contributor to the enhanced sustainability of waste collection businesses.

Fewer bins missed contributes to significant cost savings

An increase in safety is another one of the benefits that waste collecting companies can achieve with Guided Navigation, a topic that is also covered in the webinar. As Michael Nijland puts it: “The extra instructions and warnings - such as ‘school ahead’ - will improve not only the driver’s safety but other road-users too. We also see an increase in efficiency mainly because there is less double-manning, when an experienced driver has to accompany new or temporary drivers, which saves both time and money.” 

“Sharing the knowledge of experienced drivers through the pre-loaded routes also contributes to efficiency,” he says, “since the inexperienced driver will drive the same efficient routes as their more experienced colleagues.” One of the other significant benefits of Guided Navigation, according to him, is improving customer service. “For two important reasons. First of all, because of the improvement of the predictability of the service. Secondly, because fewer bins are missed, which with a 45-euro price tag per missed bin, positively contributes to cost savings.