Gap exists between waste, recycling businesses' technology desires and implementation
- The waste management and recycling industries believe more can be done to achieve a digital transformation, according to AMCS's "Digital Transformation Barometer 2018." The survey assesses the innovative progress that responding private and municipal waste and recycling entities have made — with, for example, software or digitizing collection routes.
- While more than 80% of respondents believe digital innovation is important for the success of their business, 60% give themselves a failing grade in their progress toward applying new technologies.
- The report presented three key findings: digital transformation requires leadership in change management; the "digital" part is most challenging, compared with aspects like leadership and employee engagement; and legacy systems present the greatest hurdle to successful transformation, with 54% reporting it as a barrier to optimizing processes.
The survey included both public and private sector entities in the United States, Europe and Australia. 73% were small to medium enterprises with fewer than 250 employees, while nearly 7% have more than 2,500 employees. Overall, respondents reveal a gap between the importance they place on digital advances and the actual implementation of said technologies.
The report separates the respondents into groups based on their business's level of maturity with regard to digital transformation. In addition to identifying each group's leading challenges and most frequently used digital solutions, it also outlines steps businesses can take to advance their digital transformation depending on which maturity category they fall into.
For example, the report suggests businesses just starting their journey consider cloud-based backend software — and route digitization or in-vehicle devices — to record service details. Businesses at the next level of maturity should consider additions such as digital invoicing and more advanced vehicle technology (e.g., built-in modems and RFID technology, or digital ID tags, for on-board weighing and bin identification). Recommendations at higher levels involve automated service chat bots and interactive voice response.
AMCS, which acquired Recy Systems last week, contends conditions in the waste management and recycling industries are changing rapidly due to factors such as increased attention to sustainability, China's material import bans, greater demands from customers, and higher labor and operating costs. Together, they create an environment in which "the digital transformation of waste management and recycling processes are a must" in order to achieve growth and maintain a competitive edge, according to the report.
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