Recently, The Wall Street Journal published an article about the above subject.
After the technology was described, its application was discussed with several over-the-road trucking companies.
The implications for those types of companies were simply staggering.
It’s implications for the recycling business are equally so.
The vast majority of our customers maintain their own truck fleets. These fleets are used more or less locally to service industrial/commercial accounts. This service is provided as a courtesy because local accounts usually don’t have the means to deliver material directly.
There are specialized trucks that drop off and pickup various types of containers. (i.e. roll off trucks). A lot of this work occurs very early in the morning or at odd hours in order to avoid rush hour traffic.
Some of our customers truly excel at running their truck fleets. Their trucks and containers are in top shape, and their drivers are equally presentable.
Other customers don’t run their fleets at a very high level.
In any case, our customers have setup a Dispatch infrastructure in order to manage their truck fleets. When a customer calls in for service, that call is usually routed to a Dispatcher. The Dispatcher then enters the pertinent information in their ScrapWare software to start the process. ScrapWare maintains records of Driver as well as Truck fleet performance.
Regardless of the above, all of our customers find running their fleets to be a necessary headache.
The bane of our customer’s fleets are the drivers themselves.
Examples that we have seen include: Tardiness, Not showing up for work, failing drug tests, disappearing in the middle of the day, taking material to a competitor, unsafe driving, etc., etc. The list is endless.
Our customers expend a great deal of time, energy and resources in order make sure the trucks are properly staffed.
But what if there was a means to eliminate the driver entirely? In short, take them out of the loop while using existing rolling stock?
Basis the WSJ article, that day may not be that far off.
If and when that occurs, many things would change. One or more Dispatchers could be dispatching autonomous trucks based upon service requests. Roll off trucks may originate from a leased pool of trucks, etc., etc.
Perhaps the biggest change would be that an entire cost center for a recycling business would be eliminated, resulting in increased profitability.