By David Murphy, vice president of innovation
and business optimization
Over the last few months in this column we have discussed many big projects we are rolling out now across Waste Management
— things like Service Delivery Optimization (SDO), Procure to Pay (P2P) and Transfer Station Mining. Others we will likely
introduce in the years to come, such as Maintenance SDO. But, we are also working behind the scenes on projects that are less
noticeable. I want to talk about two of them.
Two teams are defining our “Truck of the Future.” One team, led by our Supply Chain and Fleet departments, is working on the
physical truck and how it will function. This team is focusing on things like chassis and bodies with an eye toward improving
overall costs, reducing weight and improving reliability.
The work of this team is similar to how other world-class logistics companies have changed their fleets. Take UPS for instance.
UPS has spent decades refining their trucks. They added skylights so drivers can see packages better. They changed the shelving
inside the truck. They improved steps and lighting and much more. Now, WM is starting to do the same with our trucks.
A second team, led by the Innovation and Business Optimization department, is creating a road map of new technologies we want on
a truck. If you are a driver you know the following is true. If you are not a driver, consider this: The cabs of our trucks are loaded with
lots of equipment — onboard computers, DriveCam, external cameras, Snapshot cameras (in some cases), alarms and buzzers for
mechanical items. Long gone are the days when a driver only had to look at his dashboard or under the visor.
As we add more information technology to the truck, we must be sure, though, that it’s thoughtfully integrated and it helps our drivers
be more efficient and safe.
So, we are building a road map. We are defining, for the first time at WM, our truck of the future and how/when/if we will do it. Once
we have a draft, we will sit down with our drivers of the year to ask for their opinions.
Perhaps you have already figured out that what I am talking about is continuous improvement: thoughtful, long-term, continuous
improvement. These behind-the-scenes projects, along with all the big projects like SDO, are how we are transforming WM from
a very good logistics company to a world-class logistics company. It won’t happen overnight, but it is happening and it’s happening
now. Little by little. That is Transformation!