CIO50 2021 #16: Stephen Vidulich, EnviroNZ
The waste and recycling industry is going through a transformation that is driven by regulatory changes, causing companies such as EnviroNZ to turn to technology for new solutions to enable the required changes.
Head of technology Stephen Vidulich says in July the company went live with the first phase of its the ‘new branch concept’, with the aim of improving data flow but between the company and five councils — Tauranga, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Timaru, Waimate, and Mackenzie. This involved setting up service request web portals, mobile apps, workflows, data integration, automated billing, routing and scheduling and fit-outs for 65 truck and business analytics.
The data integration allows for data to flow from the councils into EnviroNZ’s systems. This includes kerbside address information and services (refuse, recycling, food waste, glass and green waste), as well as service requests, either entered by the service request portal, mobile app or directly in council CRM, that are work flowed for approval by council to EnviroNZ and third party subcontractors. Data from the kerbside database generates the delivery of bins, which then gets added to the trucks route.
The mobile app developed for Tauranga City Council and Waimate Council has several features that are new to the industry, including service notifications reminders, service requests from residents, the ability to track the trucks in real time and FAQ’s about which bin to put waste into.
In the backend, Vidulich says they have created Power BI reports for service request information, billing, weigh of service at weigh bridge and analytics about each of the service, which is then shared with the various councils, along with a Teams group, allowing the organisations to share other information relevant to the contract.
“We will also soon deliver analytics directly from the trucks, including presentation rates (count of those that put out their bin and a percentage of actual service), contamination (including images) in near real time,” Vidulich says.
New branch concept being extended
Vidulich says as they have embarked on the new branch concept, they have realised more opportunities to streamline their processes and have worked with the various councils to implement these. “We have two more new councils to implement by the end of the year and will next year look to retrofit this back into our other councils that we are currently servicing,” he says.
“Although integration and workflows are not uncommon in other industries, for this industry we believe it is unique and sets a new standard in what our customers are provided. The combination of workflows and Power BI reporting allow us to manage information flow to the right people at the right time. We have a lot of plans for what we want to do with the information and drive efficiencies throughout our business.”
The mobile app also provides for a greater level of visibility and connectivity with the residents in Tauranga and Waimate. And it opens up opportunities to provide services and interactions, for both councils and EnviroNZ.
“We are using Flutter for our app development and this allows for very rapid changes and updates. The initial build took less than a month and this is really only the first phase of the app, we have a number of innovations that we are currently looking at especially using machine learning,” he says.