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Transportation and Logistics

PROLOGA and the rise of smart waste management

Along with retail, transportation and supply chain logistics, the waste management industry is becoming increasingly complex. IT company PROLOGA uses HERE to support route management services and stay competitive.

Not everyone has the same needs when it comes to waste management. “It depends on the location. Bringing this all together and serving different needs is one of our challenges," explained Christoph Hillmann, Product Owner and Manager of IT brand PROLOGA.

PROLOGA-Waste Management-Map-Graphic

“We're seeing a strong need to automate processes in order to cope with the increasing complexity of waste control." — Christoph Hillmann, Product Owner and Manager, PROLOGA. Image credit: PROLOGA.

 

After more than twenty years in the IT industry, serving both public and private sector waste management companies, Hillmann's witnessing massive shifts in the waste control sector. In addition to digitalization, Hillmann listed automation and meeting government regulations as the three biggest challenges facing the industry today.

Not only is the industry working hard to implement smart technology and support a circular economy, but they're also facing changes in vehicle type and service strategies. The waste management industry is undergoing a revolution.

HERE360 spoke with PROLOGA's Christoph Hillmann, Product Owner and Manager, to find out what waste management will look like in the near future.

Waste not, want not

“Fleets are becoming more diverse," Hillmann stated when asked about the burgeoning complexity of waste control. “Now you have electric vehicles... and greater restrictions on diesel-powered vehicles, which can no longer go into the city center anymore. But also, for example, electric vehicles can only operate in a limited range due to battery charge. These restrictions are a huge driver of complexity, especially when it comes to planning and meeting local legal restrictions."

“Do I really need to pick up this bin every two weeks or is it fine if I pick it up after twenty days, or just when it's full? Can I save resources because I don't need to go out as often to service a bin at that location?" — Christoph Hillmann, Product Owner and Manager, PROLOGA

On top of keeping up with changing regulations, vehicle capacities, and the automated systems needed to stay competitive, waste companies are helping us move toward a circular economy where one person's waste is another's treasure. “There is a [much stronger interest] in what actually happens with waste. It's increasingly seen as a valuable material and for some companies, even as their secondary raw material. So, there is more of a need for transparency during waste collection," said Hillmann.

PROLOGA-Tasks-Graphic

The graphic above illustrates PROLOGA's ability to organize detailed data streams into manageable, and useable information. Image credit: PROLOGA.

 

What Hillmann is referring to are intelligent waste management systems that operate (largely in the private sector) via smart sensors. Instead of emptying trash cans every Tuesday and recycling bins every Thursday, for instance, sensors keep track of the capacity of the bins, sending data back to the waste management firm and directing them when to send out trucks.

Truck routing is also "smart" in that trip plans are based on these data sets, the needs of the people in specific locations, and the quantity and type of waste. It's all much more specific and user-oriented than only a few years ago. “There's a huge need to label yourself as a smart city and definitely as a smarter business," said Hillman.

The trick with smart waste management is that all that data must get integrated into what Hillmann calls the “daily flow" — and this is where automation is king.

What challenges do waste management companies face today?

  • Expanding data collected via digital twins for vehicles, drivers and containers, which needs to be integrated into existing business processes
  • Growing complexity of scenarios (fuel-powered vehicles plus e-vehicles, restricted zones in city centers, etc.)
  • Mounting need for automation to cope with complexity, missing local expertise and tough competition
  • Rising number of companies looking at waste as a valuable material and waste collection as an opportunity for their supply chain
  • Increasing importance of efficient reverse logistics to encourage a circular economy

Routing for savings

To help waste agencies meet new standards, keep up with advanced waste collection methods, optimize their trips and integrate datasets into their procedures, PROLOGA is using HERE Map data, HERE Geocoding & Search, HERE Routing, and HERE Matrix Routing (with truck attributes) in their waste management solutions.

Hillmann explains how their two core products, supported by HERE, complement each other: “Using an algorithm, we can identify not just a planning solution, but also dynamic routing based on smart bin sensor data... meaning you can reduce costs [related to truck maintenance, fuel, and congestion] and your CO2 footprint."

“If you are a waste management company, it will be difficult if your brand is in one location, and you need to plan truck [routes] for a location 500 kilometers away." — Christoph Hillmann, Product Owner and Manager, PROLOGA

One of the best things about PROLOGA's waste management solutions is they can be replanned as information changes — if a trash can is filling up unexpectedly, the truck route and corresponding schedule will change accordingly, automatically. And the “truck attributes" feature of HERE Matrix Routing ensures that big trucks won't end up stuck on or under a bridge or using a road without adequate weight capacity.

PROLOGA-Cost-Breakdown-Graphic

In this cost-savings breakdown, PROLOGA details where waste management companies spend their time and money. Image credit: PROLOGA.

PROLOGA's solutions help their clients create and maintain routes for cost-savings, Hillmann suggests, “If we look at the US, for example, over 50% of the material still arrives in landfills... Our automatic planning solution also takes that into account, identifying routes from a cost perspective, to create the best financial opportunities for the company."

Create a stress-free journey experience with a comprehensive routing portfolio for multiple modes of transportation.

*Christoph Hillmann was interviewed on December 14th, 2021

HERE Routing

Create a stress-free journey experience with a comprehensive routing portfolio for multiple modes of transportation.

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