Global Survey Results on Digital Transformation of the Waste Industry

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The results of a recent global survey indicate that the majority of companies in the waste & recycling industry give themselves a failing grade when it comes to the adoption of new technology. The survey, conducted by the AMCS Group polled municipalities and private sector companies across Europe and the US. The respondents included a significant number of organisations with more than 250 employees. More than half of respondents have more than 50 vehicles for waste collection.

The waste management industry is less than enthusiastic about the success of its digital transformation so far. This is especially true for the application of new technologies, with most companies giving themselves a failing grade, according to our survey respondents within municipalities and private sector companies across Europe and the US. 

Some 60% of the organisations surveyed gave themselves a grade of ‘unsatisfactory’ for their progress in the application of new technologies. Using the results of the research, AMCS developed the Waste Management Digital Transformation Model to help organisations take the next steps toward making the digital transformation a success.

More than 80% of participants believe that digital innovation is important for the success of the business. Outdated legacy IT systems, implementing paperless operations and a culture that is not open to change are seen as the biggest barriers. For the Digital Transformation Barometer 2018, AMCS designed an international survey to discover how successful companies are using technology to radically improve their performance.

Drivers of success for digital transformation in waste management

“The research shows that there are five elements that are critical to success in transitioning into a digital organisation,” says Mark Abbas, Chief Marketing Officer for AMCS. “Besides engaged employees and a management team that gives people the space to innovate, it is very important to have a comprehensive understanding of the digital trends and advancements in the value chain. It is also down to a smart application of new technology within the organisation and using (reliable) data to make decisions.”

Key findings from the benchmark

There were three key findings from the research as follows:

  1. Digital transformation requires leadership in change management – 83% of those surveyed said they had the right leadership and culture in place to be able to realize a successful digital transformation.
  2. The digital part of the digital transformation is the most challenging for 60% of respondents.
  3. Legacy systems are the biggest challenge to successful digital transformation for 54% of respondents.

What do the leaders do differently?

According to Abbas, the research results provide insights into a very interesting group of companies that have taken the lead in digital transformation. “This group approaches digital transformation in a completely different way and has very different priorities from the rest. Their operations are already very nearly paperless, they use digital invoicing systems and they have self-service web portals available for their customers. They are also more likely to already be using other digital techniques and applications, such as RFID, GPS Monitoring, Route Optimisation and in-vehicle tablets.”

The foreseeable future will be about evolving from data to information. Analytics and BI are making it possible to immediately calculate the profitability of routes and jobs. Coordination with subcontractors is optimised when information can be exchanged digitally. And investing in applications like digital invoicing and payments mean offices can become completely paperless.


About AMCS Group

AMCS is a supplier of integrated software and vehicle technology for the waste, recycling and material resources industries. AMCS helps its customers to reduce operating costs, increase asset utilization, optimize margins and improve customer service.