The ultimate waste management software guide
There’s a revolution in waste management, and software that delivers efficiencies, increases profit and supports the circular economy is critical to success in the industry. So if you’re looking to implement, review or upgrade your software (or if you just want to know more about it) you’ve come to the right place! You’ll find everything you need to know in our Ultimate Waste Management Software Guide.
Software helps you to run your business more efficiently. For years, waste and recycling companies have just bought the software that they need for particular tasks. Bit by bit, they’ve introduced multiple software solutions to their businesses, resulting in a fractured approach and a reliance on systems that aren’t really up to the job. Now, it’s time for dedicated waste management software that’s designed for purpose, simplifies the whole process and is easy to manage.
The waste industry has specific needs, and standard, off-the-shelf packages don’t meet those needs. That’s why companies are now removing legacy systems and switching to bespoke software solutions that cover all critical tasks and help businesses to run more efficiently.
The way the software works for you will depend on what type of waste management challenges you have, and the focus for your business. Route optimisation, metal recycling, hazardous waste, fleet management and weighbridge software are just some examples of typical point applications a good integrated waste management solution will take the place of. Find out all you need to know below.
Everything you need to know
The waste management industry is facing a range of challenges, which we’ll explore in more detail in this guide. In order to remain competitive, companies need to be using not just the latest technologies, but technologies that actively support them to increase operational efficiency and make the most of the opportunities available to them with the advent of the circular economy.
More importantly, companies will be legally required to make certain changes and to meet regulatory targets. Legislation and compliance regulation varies from one country to another, but as governments step up to tackle climate change, they are starting to impose obligations on any business or organisation involved with waste disposal.
This will eventually impact all businesses, and waste management companies are starting to see the effects, because they are being asked to prove how they reuse, recycle, resell and dispose of the waste they collect.
The TCFD has been established by the Financial Stability Board, an international body that monitors and makes recommendations about the global financial system.
The TCFD currently targets larger businesses – estimated at around 1,300 in the UK, 49,000 in Europe and about 100,000 worldwide.
These businesses must now report their climate-related activity, based on recommendations from the TCFD. These recommendations include emissions that come from the business’s core activities – and requirements that cover the supply chain – both upstream and downstream in the supply chain.
That means waste and recycling companies, and those companies need better software if they are to support their key customers. The requirement for businesses like yours is to prove to your customers that you have the right processes in place to operate sustainably and responsibly.
The best software addresses the challenges of the industry. As always, the driver for better technology comes from changes in operational requirements, regulatory requirements and the way that your end customers – the general public or the businesses you work with – are using and demanding your services.
That means that the best commercial waste management software needs to address a number of key industry issues, and deliver a comprehensive, supported solution that companies know they can rely on. Changing to a completely new software system is a significant investment, so businesses need to know they are making the right choice – and why it matters.
Keep Reading: The best software for waste management compliance →
As waste companies grow, they need more software to help manage tasks. In most cases, software is bought to manage a specific task – invoicing, payroll, route management, vehicle tracking. Each solution is designed to manage this one task. But it’s not set up to talk to other software, and so businesses lose sight of what’s happening around them.
The longer this continues, the more compounded the problems are. Software becomes unsupported by the original seller. It can’t manage growing demand. It doesn’t work with the software of the company you’ve just bought. You can’t access the data you want to – and even if you can, it’s not the right data anyway.
This causes a range of problems:
- No integration across the business
- No ability to interrogate data
- No visibility or reporting
- No getting away from doing some tasks manually
- No consistent training
All these things hamper business growth. They also put a spanner in the works when it comes to bidding for new business – customers want to see evidence of a business that can report on its work, make changes based on up-to-date data and provide a reliable service administratively as well as practically.
Businesses that are ready to grow, that want to pitch for more valuable work and that want to move firmly into the 21st century need to ditch legacy systems and invest in integrated waste management software.
There’s a reason companies buy software. It speeds up business processes, makes them more efficient and precise and saves time and money.
For waste management companies, though, it also helps them to comply with regulations, demonstrate their effectiveness and give them the reporting they need to win new contracts. For that reason, you should expect software for waste management industry specialists to deliver:
Complete integration – one system, one business. State-of-the-art software integrates all the key functions across the business. So you can manage your route planning, organise and monitor the safe disposal of hazardous waste, run second income streams from reselling metals, electronics recycling or other secondary market activity.
Easy reporting – instead of having to manually run reports on various platforms across the business, which often result in slower reporting and inconsistent data, a good waste management software solution allows businesses to run comprehensive, fast and accurate reports across all functions. This means better, more reliable data and more informed decision making.
Lower costs – investing in brand new waste management software might seem like a ‘cost’ – but it’s nothing compared to the cost of continuing to run old systems that don’t deliver the performance or business intelligence you need. With just one system to manage and one provider to work with, not only are your ongoing costs lower, but the whole process is easier and more cost-effective to manage.
Not all waste and recycling companies are the same. Some handle all types of waste, whilst others specialise – that’s particularly the case for companies dealing with hazardous or liquid wastes, for example.
So the best waste management software has to take the range of businesses in the industry into account and be able to tailor the platform to the organisation’s specific needs.
For that to work well, you need a single solutions provider that has built a solution that can be modified to deliver what your business needs, and can do it without having to bring in any other software vendor.
This allows you to have complete confidence in the software, and in the supplier providing it. Instead of buying an off-the-shelf waste management software product that may not have the capability to manage all your business issues, you can access an easy-to-use bespoke package that’s fully tried and tested and lets you get on with running – and growing your business.
Successful organisations grow. And that means they also outgrow. They outgrow their processes, their facilities and their software platforms.
Often, growth in the waste management sector comes through merger or acquisition activity as well as organically. And that can lead to efficiency issues – especially where current software is not able to integrate with software used in acquired businesses, or where it’s not able to scale for user growth.
So ambitious waste and recycling management companies need to be ahead of the game. And that means selecting waste management & recycling software that is going to support growth, not hinder it.
Businesses – data is your friend! For your business to be as efficient as it can be, you need clear and reliable business intelligence. And you need to be able to access that intelligence at any time and from anywhere.
That’s what smart businesses are looking for in a waste management software solution for recycling: the ability to interrogate data, produce unified and consistent results and be able to analyse that data to improve processes and services.
There’s no useful data without effective software. No way to accurately report your progress or to design new services. And no way to demonstrate to customers that you are making a commitment to circular economy-style waste management and are able to support them to do the same.
So upgrading to waste management software that’s designed to support better business processes means you can put your organisation at the heart of the waste revolution.
Keep Reading: How to choose the best Recycling software for your business →
Traditionally, waste management has been a linear industry – waste is collected and disposed of. Today, however, waste and recycling companies are expected to resell, reuse and recycle as much as they can – from food waste to plastics, and liquid waste to electronics recycling. This is where metal recycling software options, for example, can come into their own.
In many cases, legislation is already in place to make sure that certain waste is not taken to landfill. But the circular economy is about more than compliance with legislation – it’s about doing what’s right. And that presents an opportunity for waste companies. They can realise additional income streams by selling certain materials – such as metals – in secondary markets, and they are fundamental to ensuring that other materials go into a proper reuse and recycling cycle, significantly reducing the amount that is just thrown away.
The answer to metal recycling software is to find a solution that supports waste specialists to transition their business to a circular economy model and to manage the individual processes and income streams efficiently. This includes revenue reporting, invoicing, route planning, individual secondary market streams and more.
Waste transport optimisation is one of the areas that is key to efficiency for waste companies. Route optimisation software can help to manage transport and route planning which in turn can help to reduce fuel bills, manage teams more effectively, improve customer service and extend the life of your vehicles.
Route optimisation is usually a key component of integrated waste management software, because it drives a critical part of the business. So when you are looking for your next software solution, make sure that this is part of the central package.
This applies equally to waste haulage software, which helps haulage companies to plan drops and collections easily and accurately. Having up-to-date systems in place will help to improve operations and give you the control to run your business smartly.
Weighbridges are a central part of the waste management process. It’s vital not just to have accurate methods of measurement, but to be able to capture, store, interrogate and report the right data.
Dedicated waste management weighbridge software is integrated across the business, so it allows for better planning, greater efficiencies and better experiences for the businesses using the site. Making the weighbridge operation more efficient helps to support growth, boost profitability and reduce stress levels – a win all round.
Key to managing waste services for organisations of all sizes, waste brokers need to be efficient, transparent and deliver cost-effective services.
In today’s data-driven world, maintaining a competitive market position means investing in the latest waste broker software. An integrated solution will help brokers to offer real-time, data-driven reports to both customers and regulatory bodies, optimise their services, deal efficiently with suppliers and ultimately put their business in the best position for growth.
The construction industry produces a significant amount of waste. And that waste has to be handled in a variety of ways. Some items – like glass, metal, plastic and wood, for example – can be recycled or sold into secondary markets. Others – like hazardous waste or contaminated liquids – must be dealt with according to the relevant regulations. To deliver high-quality construction waste management, software needs to be integrated across the business, giving better visibility and easy reporting options.
Instead of running a number of separate software systems, why not investigate how a single, dedicated platform can support your business goals?
Electrical and electronic recycling is both good for the environment, and commercially viable for waste management companies. By using the right e waste management software, organizations can turn this area into a valuable income stream, and have a positive effect on the environment.
E waste is a growing issue, as consumers continue to upgrade devices, buy new equipment and use labor-saving products. Countries around the world are introducing legislation to manage this problem, encouraging consumers and companies to reuse or recycle wherever possible. Waste management companies play an important role in this process, and can take advantage of the opportunities in secondary markets to help reduce the amount of e waste ending up in landfill.
It’s vital that hazardous waste is recycled or disposed within the rules set out by your relevant legislative body. Using specialist hazardous waste management software improves reporting and visibility and delivers more confidence in your operation.
If your organization already deals with hazardous waste, or is considering entering the market, you will need to be sure that you can meet these regulatory and legal requirements, and produce the reports that both your customers and the regulatory bodies require. The best way to ensure this is to use dedicated software that supports your processes from end to end.
Food waste is a significant contributor to climate change. Left in landfill, it releases methane into the atmosphere – so recycling this waste so that it can go back into the food production system or be used for fuel is a much better option. This also represents a commercial opportunity for waste management companies who have the set-up and capabilities not just to collect the waste, but to either manage recycling or work with third parties to ensure the waste is properly treated.
It’s important to look at the value of software for food waste management that’s designed specifically for waste management organisations helps businesses and householders to make a greater impact and reduce waste.
Liquid waste must be appropriately managed and recycled or disposed of. For companies specialising in liquid waste management, software that makes it easier to oversee this process will help to improve efficiencies and help businesses to grow.
This is particularly important because of the traceability requirements for liquid waste management. There needs to be clear and accurate reporting so that businesses can prove they have managed liquid waste responsibly and in line with legislation. An integrated software platform delivers visibility across all your functions and gives you access to accurate data and reporting when you need it.
Plastic use is one of the biggest challenges facing the planet today. Plastics recycling is about reusing as much plastic as possible, reducing the need for new plastic production. In many countries, plastic recycling is part of the way of life – governments support kerbside recycling and businesses are encouraged to use less plastic and, if they have to use it, use recyclable plastic where possible and give consumers the opportunity to recycle.
Plastic recycling software, like Waste Recycling One from ISB Global, helps waste management organisations to have a clear view of their processes from start to finish. This supports better reporting, improved efficiencies and a more competitive operation.
We all need to move with the times. Introducing smart bins to the waste management industry could transform the way you work. Using the latest technology, and designed to solve some of the industry’s biggest challenges, smart bins are the future of waste management.
Bins are where our waste chain starts. Smart bins actually track waste and recycling, helping to avoid the contamination of potential recyclable waste, and giving waste management companies and their customers valuable commercial data on what’s going where. Expanding the way we use technology – often referred to as the Internet of Things – smart bins can help us to change waste management effectiveness for the better by dramatically improving operational efficiency in waste collection and waste transport optimisation.
Managing your finances is essential to maintaining good cash flow and being able to operate your business successfully. Billing schedules often vary from one contract to another, so you need a system that can manage a range of requirements at the right time, to ensure you get paid on time.
A clear schedule lets you see immediately where monies are outstanding, and holds all the information you need to manage your billing processes. You can also see other useful information, including work orders, so that you have clear visibility across all the related functions in the business, and can provide accurate reporting at any time.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) helps your growing business to take the next steps. It supports integration across all your functions so that you are more productive, more efficient and more cost-effective.
Using the latest technology and designed specifically for waste management environments, our approach to ERP is founded on our understanding of the many functions in your organisation and the best way to help you manage them. It will help you to streamline your processes, remove dependence on legacy software systems and put you in a more competitive place.
Good quality data is at the heart of today’s successful businesses. Where you are running disparate, separate software systems, you simply can’t generate the quality of data you need to analyse your operations and report on progress.
With increasing regulation and legislation governing waste management, companies need to be able to access up-to-date data so that they can produce accurate reports based on reliable data. An integrated software platform allows you to see what’s happening across the organisation, allowing you to generate internal reports for your own planning, and external analysis and reports that support your customers.
Managing relationships with your customers and stakeholders allows you to build a stronger business. Customer Relationship Management systems and Stakeholder Relationship Management systems are designed to help you see exactly how you have interacted with existing customers. This helps your team to work more collaboratively, supports you to manage new campaigns and ensures a consistency of service that improves your overall customer satisfaction.
A first-class waste management software platform integrates these functions, allowing you access to reliable, up-to-date data that helps you build better relationships, see how you can work with those customers to increase business and manage issues quickly and positively.
The more closely you can work with your customers, and the more value you can give them, the better your relationships will be. That in turn gives you a commercial advantage, both with existing customers and when bidding for new work.
A customer portal allows your customers to have instant access to the latest information about their account. It enables them to make payments, see past invoices, view contracts and service plans and make enquiries. It’s a valuable connection between you and your customers, giving them confidence in your service levels.
Why leave your suppliers out of your technology offering? They are essential to helping your business run smoothly, and to delivering great service to your customers. So our waste management software includes a vendor portal, which gives your suppliers access to their account. This means they can view their contracts and services, bid for new opportunities, change their details if necessary and manage their relationship with you.
Easy to use – on desktop or mobile device – this is an added value service that cements your supplier relationships and reinforces a positive attitude to partnership.
Busy waste management companies have crews completing a wide range of tasks over multiple contracts every day. This means a need to manage work orders so that you have a clear idea of scheduled work for each day, week and month, for example. You can also organise your work orders by contract, region or crew, giving you the flexibility to manage your schedules in the way that suits you best.
With the ability to add individual details, and to run reports that help you manage efficiency and productivity, a good quality work order manager is essential to commercial success.
Creating, updating and managing contracts is a key administrative task. Embedding this task in your waste management software means that you are delivering a consistent approach to each contract. Build your contract with the relevant services and commitments, so that you are confident the contract covers all the service offerings.
Once created, your contracts are securely stored and completely searchable. Use this function not just for your service contracts, but also for any agreements with third parties.
Waste management companies deliver a range of services – often several services to a single customer. Having dedicated waste management software that can manage your service planning allows you to have complete oversight of your offering across the business.
This allows you to manage services by customer, by region, by country and by contract type – so you can see exactly what you’re offering and who to. It also gives you a mechanism to upsell or cross-sell your services, and to easily put together service updates or improve your service levels at contract renewal.
Managing the day-to-day operation of your waste management business efficiently can improve your margins, make life easier for your people and help you deliver great customer service.
Plant operations include weighbridge, plant control and materials management. Data from these parts of your operation can be integrated with your service, billing and stock management modules, helping you to have complete visibility across all your business functions. Everything you need to manage plant operations smoothly is available through our waste management software.
If you’re ready to upgrade your software, grow your business and gain a competitive edge, you’ll need to choose the best waste management software for the way your business works.
What makes the best software for your business? Talk to us today about your business and how it works, and we’ll help you see how integrated waste management software could transform your business operations and boost your growth plans.