UPDATE: Deffenbaugh Industries has promised residents across Kansas that it will improve its services since a slew of complaints about missed pickups have been received. The company recently told KMBC that it hired 30 people at its June job fair, and it is working to get drivers on the ground to complete missed trash pickups.
"Thirteen of those people that we hired are in some stage of an 8-week training class at this point," said Paul Howe of Waste Management to KMBC. "We released two of those people to full-time driving positions last week. We’ll release three more this week."
As a driver shortage plagues in the industry, Deffenbaugh is among a number of companies that are feeling the pressure of missed collections. Waste Dive will continue to look into this issues and examine how companies, like Deffenbaugh, can increase recruitment efforts to increase support and employment.
- Residents in Johnson County, KS are complaining that hauler Deffenbaugh Industries has missed multiple pickups.
- Some say they haven't seen a truck since July 5 and are becoming concerned about health risks from waste sitting out in the heat and potentially attracting vermin.
- Deffenbaugh took "full responsibility" for the issue in a statement to KSHB, but said residents may not be aware of changes to their collection schedules. The company said it had sent trucks out to collect the missed stops.
This issue was raised last month when Deffenbaugh and Town & Country Disposal were both called out for collection issues in the Kansas City area. At least one local government decided to send out its own trucks to catch up on collections. Other companies have also begun eyeing new business in the city of Prairie Village where Deffenbaugh's contract is up for renewal soon.
Waste Management purchased Deffenbaugh for $416 million last year, but the company has said this transition wasn't a factor in collection issues. Instead, they cite an ongoing driver shortage as the main problem. The company is reportedly offering between $40,000-$60,000 per year for skilled drivers with a $4,500 signing bonus. They held a hiring event in Kansas City last week.
The ongoing driver shortage is an issue for many fields and has had effects throughout the trucking industry. Both Mack Trucks and International Truck have attributed it to limiting sales growth and are working on new features to enhance the driving experience in their vehicles. Last year, the American Trucking Association estimated the shortage was near 50,000 drivers and projected that number could grow steeply in the next 10 years due to retirements and other factors.