David Murphy, Vice President of Innovation and
Container Management. Some of you may recall last summer that Jim Trevathan and I asked a whole
bunch of field-based and corporate folks to help us understand what we should tackle next as a company.
There is still a lot to do as we transform and we asked folks for their ideas. We called it the “What’s
We received a ton of good ideas across the spectrum of the work that we perform. However, one idea was
submitted by about four or five employees independent of each other: “We must do a better job of
container management at WM.”
What does that mean? Well, it means we need to do a better job of buying them, delivering them to customer
sites, maintaining them, relocating them, inventorying them, and scrapping them when their useful life is over.
And, we need better tools and training to manage the whole process.
For example, we now have onboard computers in almost all of our trucks to help our drivers manage their busy
days and provide even better customer service. Yet, when a customer calls one of our salespeople/call centers,
those employees really don’t know what containers we have in inventory and when they could be delivered to
that new customer. We need to change that.
That’s just one example. Frankly, we need to change a lot about how we manage our containers in this company.
And, the good news is that we are starting to think about how to do that.
Thanks to the “What’s Next?” process, we have a new project team of field and corporate folks to help us change
the way we manage containers to make it more efficient, better for our employees, better for our customers and,
of course, worse for our competition.
Remember last month when I wrote about making sure that we listen to new ideas, try them, and deploy them
quickly across the company? Well, this “What’s Next” process is one example of doing just that.
Now, make no mistake, the Container Management project that I describe here is big and complicated. There is
no quick fix. And we won’t be implementing some new process tomorrow. But, we are going to figure out, in short
order, just what we might do and how it could be done over the next year or two.
Two years from now, we might have an amazing new container management process that drives huge efficiencies
and allows us to get a container to a new customer in half the time our competitors can deliver one. And, the idea
will have started in the field. That’s Transformation!