The Value of Service Verification

Waste haulers service our communities in a number of ways including keeping our cities clean, assisting businesses to meet sanitation regulations and helping construction projects avoid unnecessary delays. Still, our industry is rarely appreciated or noticed, that is unless there’s an issue with service. For haulers, being able to prove they’ve provided service can mean the difference between meeting contract obligations, resolving or avoiding customer disputes and receiving payment for all services provided. For haulers’ customers, it can mean proof they are meeting sanitation requirements and getting the service they paid for.

Haulers have tried a number of service verification methods over the years, but there’s never been an option that was foolproof…until now. Compology’s image-based sensors provide indisputable, multi-point service verification that, in the future, could bring about a smoother, automated billing process improving the customer service experience and simplifying hauler operations. But we’ll get back to the future, first, let’s take a look at the different service verification options available to haulers today.

Manual Verification
The most basic form of verifying service has been tasking truck drivers to record their pickups on a route sheet every time they provide service and then have an office employee re-enter that data into a computer. But like any manual process, this leaves multiple points for error, such as faulty or forgotten entries, and no way to actually prove that service was provided. If there’s a customer dispute, it becomes a case of the hauler’s word versus a customer’s word that, regardless of the outcome, can hurt the business relationship.

We get it though, technology has traditionally been too pricey and unnecessary for haulers…but things change. Today, customers demand more transparency from service providers, and with modern advancements, more efficient, reliable technology is now affordable enough for haulers. Would you still rub sticks together to start a flame when you could simply use an affordable lighter?

Truck-based GPS

Just like manual verification, the major drawback of using truck-based GPS is that there’s no way to actually prove service was provided, only that the truck was at a specific location at a specific time. Basically, haulers assume service was provided by tracking a truck’s GPS location at a certain time and seeing if it was at or near the customer location that needed service. But this isn’t always the case?—?a driver might get to a location and not be able service the container because it was blocked, too full, or simply couldn’t be found. Some systems try to add a second layer of verification by having the driver push a button to confirm service, but this brings back the same issue that a manual process struggles with: relying on a manual task to be performed consistently and without error.

Ultrasonic Sensors

As container-based sensors become the norm, some haulers are giving ultrasonic sensors, like Enevo or SmartBin, a shot at solving the service verification problem. These sensor measure the change in fill-level of the container’s contents through soundwaves. Haulers assume the change in the container’s fill-level from full to empty means it’s been serviced, but what if the reading is wrong? As we’ve talked about before, ultrasonic measurements can be faulty in larger front-load containers and don’t work at all in roll-off containers. Really, you won’t know whether the fullness reading is wrong or right until you get an actual look inside the container.

Compology

Compology’s sensors provide a multi-point service verification system for both front-load and roll-off containers.

  1. Container Tilt: An accelerometer (like the thing in your smartphone that knows when to rotate your screen) in the sensor measures and records when a container gets picked-up and put down, and uses it as just one proof point that the container has been serviced. Did we mention that when the container is tilted the sensor is triggered to take a photo of the empty container?
  2. Images: The sensor’s camera automatically takes photos of the entire contents of the container so haulers are able to verify service by comparing the pre-service photo of the full container to the post-service photo of the empty container. This foolproof image verification method can be accessed remotely from any smartphone or computer and the images can be easily shared with customers to resolve any potential disputes.
  3. Fullness level change: Like ultrasonic sensors, Compology’s image-based sensors also deliver the change in fullness percentage as a third point of service verification and also work reliably in front-load and roll-off containers.
  4. GPS tracking: Triple check not enough? How about a quadruple check? For roll-off containers, Compology actually uses GPS to track the change in location of the container from the customer’s coordinates to the coordinates of the disposal facility.

Compology’s images alone are enough for foolproof service verification, but container tilt, fullness level and GPS tracking make sure to provide back up.

Compology sensor images before and after service is performed, with fullness percentage and timestamp.
Let's Get Back to the Future

Compology sensors aren’t flux capacitors, but they are helping move the waste industry into the future.

With multi-point service verification providing trustworthy data, haulers can improve the service experience for customers. For example, we can use service verification to automatically start the billing process, and at the same time, send receipts with images and service information to customers. This allows haulers to get paid faster, reduce unpaid bills/bad debt, lessen the burden on admins, and align the waste industry with the same modern service experience consumers have come to expect.

Ordering service from our phones, paying with a credit card and automatically receiving a receipt has become standard in our everyday lives from getting a ride through Uber to ordering a pizza and tracking it through Domino’s. It makes all the sense in the world for the customer and service provider. At the end of the day, the waste industry is a service industry, and at Compology, we get excited about the opportunity to bring the same level of convenience and efficiency to the waste industry with technology our haulers can rely on. 

Jason Gates – CEO – Compology

Written By

Dave Tessin - Vice President of Operations - Compology

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