Blog #9 May 1, 2020 www.wastelinq.com
Best Business Practices for ESCs: A Single Source for the Truth
Data, Data Everywhere. . .
Today, 500 million tweets and 294 billion e-mails will be sent. The amount of data created in one year would fill 37,000 Libraries of Congress. The amount of data consumed by one person alive today is as much as a person living in the 1600s would have consumed in a lifetime.
We live in a world that is awash in data, and the amount of data will only grow over time. In fact, the World Economic Forum estimates that by 2025 we will produce enough data every day to fill 212,765,957 DVDs!
No industry is immune from this data explosion. Every environmental service company (ESC), for example, produces, stores, maintains, and updates hundreds of pieces of data each day. This data includes generator information, profile information, logistics schedules, invoices, bills, drivers, disposal relationships, and training records, to name just a few. All of this data is critical for running an effective, compliant, and profitable ESC.
. . .But Where is the Information?
Most ESCs fall short of leveraging the data they produce into a tool for achieving effectiveness, compliance, and profitability. Unless data can be stored, sorted, and maintained such that it can turn be converted into actionable information, the data that an ESC produces is more likely to contribute to chaos than to business optimization. Sadly, most ESCs participate fully in the data explosion that characterizes our time but have failed to join the information age by utilizing tools to consolidate all of the disparate pieces of data into a cohesive whole. Indeed, any ESC that really wants to improve its business should consider investing in a tool that replaces scattered spreadsheets, databases, filing cabinets, and post-it notes with a single source for the truth.
Five Benefits of Data Consolidation in a Single System
Today’s processes are characterized by specialization. This means that the person who sets up a generator is likely not the person who completes a profile. Likewise, the person who bills an order is probably not the one who completed the service. If information is spread among many systems and tools, it is difficult to ensure that all of these specialists have access to the latest and most accurate information. That means that validating service for a client requires endless discussion and is marked by fears that something was missed. A single source that unites all data under the same umbrella provides a guarantee that everyone involved in the value chain is working from the same data. Additionally, any updates or changes to the data in the system are immediately communicated to everyone involved in the service.
When data is spread among many systems (and a post-it note is a system. . .even if the system is archaic), every business process is slowed. Not only do people have to remember where the data is warehoused, but also they have to maintain access credentials and search protocols across multiple platforms. Every incremental step slows the cash cycle, which means it takes longer for the ESC to get paid. The classic response to this sort of problem is to hire more people, but that is an expensive way to fix a structural problem. Investing in a software platform that consolidates ESC data reduces churn and saves money as compared to adding overhead.
When data is dispersed across numerous platforms, specialization grows around knowing where data is located and how to access it. This is okay if nobody leaves the business or the business isn’t growing. However, such “tribal knowledge” can be devastating for an ESC when a key player leaves the company. Further, learning multiple systems increases the amount of time it takes new employees to get up to speed. With a single source for all ESC data, the learning curve is made more manageable and the ESC doesn’t run the risk of shutting down business when one employee is no longer available.
Service errors and failures have both customer and compliance implications. With several potential service providers competing for generator volumes, customer service is paramount. Any errors can mean the loss of important revenue streams. In addition, state and federal agencies can levy expensive fines and other penalties if data is missing, inaccurate, or incomplete. A single system that maintains data integrity mitigates against the risks the errors pose to topline and bottom-line results.
Analysis and Planning
Many ESCs wait weeks and even months before various bits of data can be consolidated enough to show how the business is performing. In many cases, this delay means that the information produced is no longer actionable. Reviewing January’s results in March tells the ESC nothing about how the business is doing at that point in time. Additionally, efforts at analysis and strategic planning are hampered by a lack of ready access to accurate, timely, and consolidated data. This means that many ESCs never fully understand how the business is performing today and are woefully unprepared to make the key strategic decisions that will sustain the business into the future.
WASTELINQ is Designed to be the Single Source of ESC Truth
WASTELINQ’s fully functional ERP consolidates every bit of data generated in every part of the value chain in one easy to use platform. That means that generator information, profile information, schedules, orders, invoices, equipment, drivers, training logs, documents, and more can all be available to every part of the organization in real time. Everybody works from the same information and benefit from access to the same information. When employees leave the company, the knowledge they have remains in the system, and new employees can be quickly trained on one platform. Additionally, a robust suite of reports, and newly available ad hoc reporting, means analysis and planning are possible at a level not usually experienced by an ESC.
Turning Clay into Bricks
In Sherlock Holmes the hero says, “Data, data, data. . .I cannot make bricks without clay.” Many ESCs are attempting to build a business without bricks. Access to data that can be transformed into actionable information is key to achieving breakthrough business success in any enterprise. In an industry as data rich as the environmental services space, a single source of timely and accurate information is mission critical.