Routing and scheduling software helps HIPPOBAG service get greenerFebruary 27th, 2015
- Reducing the cost and carbon footprint of a complex waste recycling service
- Planning lorry routes that were never the same from one day to the next
- Dealing with multiple pick-up and drop-off points on the same journey
- Completing the scheduling optimization quickly to ensure a responsive service
The system minimizes journey times, reduces our carbon footprint and helps us improve our customer service.
The HIPPOBAG™ system provides an environment-friendly national domestic and commercial waste collection and recycling service. Users place waste in special, heavy-duty purpose-built recyclable polypropylene bags, which they leave outside their premises for collection by HIPPOWASTE™, the trading name of Waste Management Systems Ltd.
A nationwide fleet of vehicles operating from a network of depots collects the bags and transports them to the most convenient waste transfer station, where typically over 80 per cent of the contents enter a recycling stream, and the bag itself is also passed on for recycling. Domestic users buy the bags at a range of retail stores, while commercial customers obtain them directly through HIPPOWASTE.
The company wanted to streamline the job of planning routes for its vehicles in order to minimize costs and reduce the carbon footprint of its operations, but found that the software it originally tried was inadequate for the task. It could take up to nine hours to finish its optimization run, and it only allowed the company to view one route at a time.
Part of the problem was that the call points were never the same from one day to the next. Additionally, the system had to cope with multiple pickup points and several delivery points on each journey. Both these requirements can present major challenges for less capable scheduling systems.
- The TRUCKSTOPS routing and scheduling system from Mapmechanics
- Implementation support by Mapmechanics during the roll-out phase
Once we’d got Truckstops fully bedded down, it worked exactly as Mapmechanics said it would.
The company turned to Mapmechanics, whose Truckstops system has a reputation for handling complex scheduling tasks. “We had heard that Truckstops was widely used in bulk milk collection operations, which can involve picking up from multiple location points and delivering on the same journey,” says chief executive James Bennett. “It sounded like exactly the kind of problem we have to deal with.”
Truckstops is in fact designed for this kind of application, and has also been deployed widely on operations such as parcel services and home deliveries. The Truckstops version chosen by the company included Geoconcept, the mapping and geographic information system, and in support of this Mapmechanics also supplied various digital data and mapping products from suppliers who included the AA, Andes, GeoPlan and Royal Mail.
Routes for all the HIPPOBAG collections are now scheduled centrally every day at the company’s head office in Fareham, Hampshire. Collection orders placed up until midday are passed to Truckstops from the company’s order-processing system. The delivery rounds are then ready by mid-afternoon, and are sent out to the relevant depots and drivers.
- A reduction in transport operating costs
- Lower vehicle mileage, and hence a reduction in carbon footprint
- Later order cut-off point for same-day scheduling
- Improved customer service
HIPPOWASTE is now able to schedule operations much more quickly and efficiently on a least-cost basis. “The system minimizes journey times, reduces our carbon footprint and helps us improve our customer service,” James Bennett says.
Truckstops gives the planning team plenty of opportunity to fine-tune individual routes to take account of their local knowledge, and it also leaves them scope to prioritize urgent collections manually when required.
James Bennett pays tribute to the support provided by Mapmechanics during the implementation process. “They were honest about what Truckstops could and couldn’t do, and once we’d got it fully bedded down, it worked exactly as they said it would.”
In the original implementation, the routes prepared by Truckstops were delivered to depots and drivers by various traditional means, but the next stage of streamlining planned by the company involves transmitting the information wirelessly to the drivers, using handheld computers.