The Challenge: Shedding manual processes and paper records for solid waste collection
The Solid Waste Collections team in Spokane is responsible for yard waste, recycling and standard waste collection and disposal for its 88,000 citizens. The department runs more than 100 heavy-duty vehicles and employs more than 150 people.

Until recently, Spokane’s large, complex operation ran almost entirely on paper. All service information for customers was kept in a giant rolodex. City staff filled two full boxes of paper records each week, requiring them to store these records in a separate storage facility, adding another line item to the budget. In all, the city was spending a staggering $25,000 a year in printing and paper costs to print paper route sheets – not to mention the environmental impact. Erica Jacobo, Senior Continuous Improvement Analyst also notes, “A great deal of time was spent on manual processes, which was creating a strain on our resources.”

The City needed to digitize their sanitation operations. This need also presented an opportunity to find a solution that could improve all aspects of their operation – managing missed pickups, identifying route efficiencies and communicating with customers – to boost the overall efficiency of their solid waste operations.

The Solution: Paperless operations take the weight off
Rubicon provides cities like Spokane with technology to help improve waste and recycling operations. They understand the importance of a city’s waste management system and they know the vital role telematics plays in a successful rollout. As an official Geotab Marketplace partner, Rubicon knew the value Geotab could bring to the solution they were building for the City of Spokane.

The solution was simple: Place Geotab GO devices into each of the city’s waste trucks, and provide drivers with an iPhone or iPad loaded with the RUBICONSmartCityTM software. The telematics data gathered from the GO8 device is sent to an online portal allowing the operations team to effectively manage their waste collection and disposal services and integrates with the Rubicon software to automate processes to improve efficiency.

With Rubicon and Geotab providing the technology, the team in Spokane can now confirm a particular waste bin has been picked up. The technology also allows the driver to document issues at the curb, like blocked or broken bins, speeding up the City’s response to these issues. Drivers use the technology to document extra set outs, accounting for approximately $2 million in revenue each year. And the City uses Rubicon’s portal to manage all aspects of its daily collection operation, including re-assigning drivers, optimizing routes and supporting customers with disabilities.

The Results: Automated processes are icing on the cake
The joint Geotab/Rubicon solution has helped to transform Spokane’s Solid Waste Collection operation from a paper-based solution to an entirely digital one. “The savings in printing and paper costs alone are in the thousands of dollars per year, plus we’re reducing our environmental footprint,” explains Jacobo. The operation is leaner and more efficient, while also providing improved customer service to its residents.

  • The City is now saving up to $25,000 per year in printing costs.
  • Estimated thousands of hours of cumulative staff time is saved through improved processes.
  • Route optimization and integration with the City’s new billing system are estimated to save hundreds of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the contract.

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