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10 Jul 2020

Technology helps to anticipate growth opportunities after COVID-19

The turmoil caused by COVID-19 and subsequent restrictions have caused waste and recycling business models to change instantly. "Technology can provide assistance, but companies really need to review the entire process,” according to Evan Schwartz, vice president of solutions engineering at the AMCS Group. ”Operating in the COVID-19 environment calls for not only investing in technology but analysing and digging into data to ensure those investments are helpful”, he said during a presentation held at Recycling Today’s 2020 Virtual Trade Show which was featured in Recycling Today.

Read more at Recycling Today.

Collecting and analysing data to position for the new normal

Schwartz's presentation showed that companies immediately came up with alternatives when the crisis broke out enabling the work to continue. “As the global waste industry started shifting their office workers to at-home locations one thing that caught many companies by surprise was the 'dependency on paper'. Although companies bought tablets or laptops to replace desktop models, they overlooked the fact that they had these very dated paper processes”, he said. “Thus, even though people working at home had the [tech] tools they needed, they couldn’t follow the process.”

Also, other factors come into play if companies do not survive not just the COVID-19 restrictions but also not the current economic crises, he clarified. "In some cases, the companies pockets were not ‘deep enough’ in many other cases the business was ‘not positioned’ for the new normal." Collecting and analysing data may be the way to build this much need positioning, according to his presentation. "Industry-specific software and IT systems can help collect data but to draw conclusions the company must ‘drill-down’ into the numbers", Schwartz said. He stressed that companies should look at analytics every day. “There are areas where we might see growth opportunities. Get ahead of that. Make sure your offer is first at the table.” 

Automate tasks to streamline processes

During his presentation at the Recycling Today’s 2020 Virtual Trade Show Schwartz also spoke about the workforce which would likely to be reduced in numbers. “Employees are learning new jobs and tasks and those tasks need to be as easy as possible. One of the metrics the AMCS Group likes to use is ‘onboarding time’, or the time it takes an employee to learn a new task.”

The question is what tasks the industry can automate to streamline processes, adding intuitive tools and designs to make it easier to learn to accomplish that same task. "Companies that have generalists who are good at a number of things are thriving.” With technology, they can not only fill the training gaps but also make an expert out of the generalist", becomes clear from the story Recycling Today published in response to the presentation by Evan Schwartz.