Using the latest smart technology could radicalise the way the FM industry manages reactive services, Jason Mohr, creator of a slick on-demand waste collection model tells Sara Bean
One of the biggest headaches in FM is managing any kind of reactive response, whether it is organising an engineer to fix an urgent maintenance breakdown or arranging for the collection of unscheduled waste. For those in need of the latter, rubbish collection business AnyJunk offers an on-demand collection service for bulky waste. So far so FM, but the concept is intriguing: the firm uses smart technology to offer an Uber-style network of local waste carriers who together provide a nationwide, on-demand service.
Jason Mohr, founder and CEO of AnyJunk, believes that the company’s technology and operating model have the potential to transform the FM industry’s approach to reactive services. He wants people to consider how their service capabilities and costs would be transformed if they completely digitalised their processes and created their own Uber-style network of overlapping local service providers.
Says Mohr: “We provide man and van teams nationwide to remove bulky waste from homes and offices across the UK and take it to commercial recycling facilities. This includes everything from builders and repairs waste to furniture, appliances and fly-tipped rubbish. Clients are mainly from social housing, real estate, building repairs, home improvement, and FM.”
The model is slick and straightforward, offering same-day collection in most major cities and next day guaranteed nationwide. All the collections, which can be ordered online 24/7 via a desktop or smartphone, are sent to the most local teams from a base of approximately 350 operators, all connected to a Uber-style platform. This results in on-time collection rates of more than 99 per cent, something that Mohr claims was impossible to achieve using a traditional waste collection model.
“Previously we had about 40 trucks, with the equivalent of around 100-plus teams and 10 depots around the country, servicing typically business to business customers. We would spend a lot of time getting the jobs in and trying to match them up to areas via their postcodes. This would help us ensure we could get as many collections done by one van with the least fuel miles.
“On a really good day we would maybe do seven or eight jobs, so this might be job, job, job, go to the nearest tip and back to fill up the truck again. In this way you’re trying all the time to sweat the assets efficiently. That’s the issue with reactive bulky waste. You don’t know the exact amount of stuff you’re going to manage until you get there, so you don’t know how much waste you’re going to be stuck with – whether the vehicle is half empty or if the rubbish takes up twice the capacity of the van, which means extra trips to the tip.”
The other issue was man management, for as the firm expanded it became more difficult to manage people remotely. Staff spent much of their time out on the road and were rarely at the depots. Given all these challenges, Mohr’s solution was to recruit an in-house tech team and build an Uber-style app that would monitor service and location, capture collection and disposal data, and update customers in real time. All of the depots were closed and replaced by a network of hyper-local small waste carriers, all with established trading records, many of whom were former employees.
Carriers, who will typically operate one to four vans, don’t pay anything to join the network but do go through a rigorous sign-up and qualifying process. This includes an interview, references, DBS checks, health and safety compliance, insurance and licence checks. The app monitors their compliance documentation, and if it’s due to be renewed prompts them to take action (if left unchecked the app will automatically suspend them once compliance documents expire).
When operators join, says Mohr, “they’re free to do their other day jobs, and we don’t follow the traditional model of giving them a set territory because we have multiple operators in every territory. For example, in London we have over 60 or so, with fewer in rural areas. When we get a job in from a client we offer that out to all those waste carriers who cover that region, so when they join us we ask them where is their comfort zone for areas covered and give them a set price list.”
For the customer, this keeps costs low as they’re not paying more for a prompt response. To order a collection they can estimate how much waste will need collection using a volume guide on the website. The request is sent out to all the carriers who’ve opted to cover that area, and if they don’t take the job within 15 minutes it is gradually offered out to a wider network. When someone takes on the job it is added to the list of jobs that appear on their app.
In this way, argues Mohr, carriers can sweat their day and maximise what they are doing by going to the dump with full vans and carrying out jobs within the same area. This equates to lower mileage and reduced labour costs, which means prices can be kept lower and promotes a more sustainable solution. As Mohr points out, “Our drivers don’t need as much income to make the same profit, which is key to the whole thing.”