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Let's focus on waste - It's all about the rubbish!

Previously we published a blog talking about how we review business processes to improve service delivery and identify savings. In this blog we focus on waste processes, as they are perhaps the most visible of council services, with the liveried trucks out on the road visiting every property weekly or fortnightly.

Waste bins in a line

by Nicola Ratcliffe, Transformation Consultant at GOSS Interactive

Back in June, I published a blog talking about how I review business processes to improve service delivery and identify savings. This outlined the approach that I use both with customers and internally at GOSS. In the past few years, I have spent a lot of time working with customers on their processes; reviewing them, redesigning them and generally improving them for customers and to save money for organisations. I have looked at processes ranging in scale from service-wide to processes that impact just a few people a year - and everything in between. When it comes to the different services that I have looked at, it's the variety and differences between organisations that are so very interesting. 

Waste bins in a lineIn this blog, I am going to focus on waste processes, yes, I know a load of rubbish - but we all generate it and, for many customers, it can be the one of very few services that generates a very emotive response! It is perhaps the most visible of council services, with the liveried trucks out on the road visiting every property weekly or fortnightly.

Within waste, there are a number of different processes that I have had the pleasure of reviewing with council teams: bulky waste, missed bins, new and replacement bins/bags and so forth. From undertaking these reviews, the key changes that are commonly identified are:

Improving communication by ensuring that the website provides clear and accurate information. Then ensuring that customers know that they can interact with you online, there's no point in creating a great service if you don't tell people that it is there!

Automating the process from end to end. Allowing customers to report a missed bin or request a bulky waste collection online. By ensuring that there are the right checks within the process, customers are able to make their request direct to the back-office system or team.

Supported by a responsive online form that collects the necessary data and validates it to provide the correct information to the waste teams. A key part of this for bulky collections is ensuring that customers understand what can be collected and what cannot. Aligned to this is ensuring that the correct charge is made for the items according to the local arrangements.

Ensuring the provision of assisted service, offering the same service, provided by phone or in some cases face to face, to those customers who cannot or will not use automated services.

Many of the reviews considered the use of in-cab technology as a way of improving communications with the waste team. This allows the crews to have up to date information about the collections or deliveries that they need to make. It also means that they can record what they have done to provide real-time updates (subject to signal availability) to the office team and to the customer. Being able to attach photographs to customer records has also been seen as a way of evidencing what the crews experience when they make a collection.

Ensuring that customers are kept informed and have the information that they need in a timely manner so that they do not have to chase information or check that something is going to happen. This includes confirmation that their request has been received, providing reminders, and confirmation that the waste has been collected or that it was not collected and why. Automating this communication reduces the time wasted by both staff and customers in chasing updates.

Offering customers an online account where it will be of benefit to them (note a benefit to the customer and not the council!). An online account should provide the customer with added information and access, so in the case of waste-related services, it will enable the pre-population of name, address and contact details, it will enable tracking information. Customer accounts should not be mandatory in this area as it will often mean that customers choose to phone or visit instead.

The chart below shows the average savings found:

On average, savings of 66% on the current process cost was identified. This has translated in to an annual saving of £57,630 a year for a single waste process.

Has this piqued your interest?

Would you like to see how much we can help you save in your waste processes?

Get in touch now and let us help you achieve savings and improve customer service.

Process Improvement Steps

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About the author:

Nicola is an experienced transformation consultant and has worked with many organisations to review and design business processes. She created the GOSS approach to ensure that the needs of customers were considered along with the needs of the organisation and that staff were involved in the reviews.