DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS: CONSOLIDATE COLLECTION ROUTES THROUGH THE USE OF GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS (GIS) TECHNOLOGY

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DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS:
CONSOLIDATE COLLECTION ROUTES THROUGH THE USE
OF GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS (GIS) TECHNOLOGY
Problem Identification:
The time required to complete the Bureau’s solid waste and recycling collection and the amount of tonnage collected per crew varies widely. Situations exist where certain routes generate considerable overtime costs while other routes are completed in less than six hours. Additionally, some routes generate twice the tonnage of others.

Recommended Action:
Utilize the City’s geographic information systems (GIS) capabilities to develop more efficient sanitation and recycling collection routes that balance workloads and enable the consolidation of the total number of collection routes.

Classification:
Cost Savings

Functional/Operational Area:
Bureau of Solid Waste

Estimated Annual Impact:
$450,000 – $810,000

Barriers to Implementation:
None

Projected Implementation:
While the initial redesign and implementation of revised collection routes could occur in 60 – 90 days, route configurations should be continually analyzed and revised as necessary.

Next Steps:
Collect, track, and analyze data related to the time needed to complete collection routes, average tonnage collected, total mileage covered, and number of households serviced. Utilize this information to identify disparities and redesign routes to promote balanced workloads and a reduced need for overtime.

Analysis:
The Bureau of Solid Waste has more than 70 solid waste and 20 recycling collection routes for which it is responsible each workday. The Bureau’s crew work on what is referred to as a ‘task system,’ meaning that once their task (i.e. – their assigned collection route) is completed, their workday is done. If the route takes less than a full workday, crew members are still compensated for a full work day. If, however, the collection route is not completed during the eight-hour workday, crew members collect time and half for all overtime hours worked. While the Bureau reports that the average time to complete a collection route is 6.5 hours, a large number of collection routes generate overtime costs. This provides a strong indication that workloads are not appropriately balanced thereby leading to unnecessary costs, particularly in overtime.

Through the use of GIS technology, the City has the capability to electronically map the Bureau’s collection routes. Coupled with timesheet records and tonnage collection information, the most costly of the City’s collection routes can be identified and appropriate route revisions can be accomplished.

Given the Bureau’s existing 90 (approximately) collection routes, a reasonable goal for route consolidation could range from 5 – 10 percent (5 – 9 routes). Assuming that each route is staffed with three people with an annual cost of $30,000 per person (salary and associated benefits costs), achieving modest route reductions could produce between $450,000 and $810,000 in cost savings. This figure, furthermore, does not include potential cost savings that would occur as a result of the reduced need for collection-related vehicles.