Just about everything we have always known about waste management has been impacted by recent changes in market activity and customer expectations. The positive side is that technology is also changing, allowing us to work more efficiently than ever, upping competitiveness and profitability.
Yet nothing matters as much as mindset. While you might have a positive outlook on life and your business, it’s not enough. You need to operate from a Growth Mindset vs. a Fixed Mindset. For many, the differences may not be clear.
Carol Dweck, a Stanford psychologist and author of the 2006 book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, states:
“When do people with the fixed mindset thrive? When things are safely within their grasp. If things get too challenging – when they’re not feeling smart or talented – they lose interest. In the growth mindset, it’s almost inconceivable to want something badly, to think you have a chance to achieve it, and then do nothing about it.”
For the waste management industry, mindset is everything as we encounter new competitive threats, rapid cost increases, more private equity activity, more buyouts, and the daily struggle to work more efficiently so we can build healthier margins and outcomes.
What does a growth mindset look like in the waste management industry?
First, let’s define a fixed mindset. A fixed mindset believes that your ability, skills and outcomes are fixed by the talent you have compared to others.
A growth mindset believes intellect and talent are the foundation, but that imagination, ingenuity, hard work and diligence will pay off and overcome challenges. Dweck maintains that resilience, a key characteristic of a growth mindset, is a skill, not an inherent human trait.
Harvard Business Review reviewed winners and losers from the 1980, 1990 and 2000 recessions and found that companies with a growth or “we can rise above” vs. a fixed or “we have to hunker down” mindset outperformed competitors substantially. In fact, 9% of businesses came out of the recession stronger, 80% failed to achieve their pre-recession levels within three years, and 17% failed together.
The 9% that thrived operated with a growth mindset, balancing offensive actions with defensive tactics. What they did:
• Kept and even added staff instead of letting people go
• Remained committed to marketing pograms
• Invested in assets and resources designed to help build long-term growth
Investing in resources and technology to improve efficiencies is key across all areas of waste management. Software is one of the most rapidly growing technologies driving our industry. Starlight Software Solutions alone is helping operators reduce many processes from hours to minutes, and increase revenue by as much as 30%.
As you look for a solution you can grow with for years to come, look for these capabilities.
Instant analysis of profitability metrics per business line, business unit, driver, route, service type and customer.
Being able to see which trucks, routes or even drivers are costing you the most money, and determine the ROI for each enables you to make instant changes to avoid losses impacting revenue. To do this, you will need a reporting feature that allows you to access all your data directly, design, format and run reports yourself. Starlight’s integrated Exago reporting engine provides a drag and drop capability for all your data showing you instantly where your gains and losses are occurring. And it lets you look at your business intuitively, comparing expenses with revenue in real time.
Live map-based dispatch for inventory and driver management.
Being able to see where inventory and drivers are all the time allows dispatchers to make changes to accept new orders, add special services, move idle inventory, and reduce mileage and fuel costs in real time. When dispatchers can see drivers in motion and make updates to routes and accommodate customer’s just-in-time demands, productivity and customer satisfaction go up. Starlight offers a driver app that collects data and photos at each site and supplements the customer record to communicate updates and needs accurately and quickly.
Customer mobile apps, integrated online ordering, portal access for payments.
A growth mindset is always focused on finding ways to better serve customers, and help them create better outcomes for their businesses. Visualize customers participating inside your business process, not outside of it. Design and deliver ways for them to do that. Securing technology that allows your customers to place orders directly, on channels they prefer to use, update dispatch on changes requiring new containers or early pickup, is a simple yet powerful way to improve your efficiencies and your customer loyalty at the same time.
Embracing new ways of doing old things through current technology can provide you with the kind of operational savings that allow you to further invest in your company. When you have the means to purchase more trucks, containers, drivers and management staff, you have the means to better compete and grow in any marketplace. Being able to stay profitable in good and challenging times, gives you the ability to keep growing while others struggle to break even.
Starlight has built software solutions around a growth mindset philosophy – features and functions that allow companies to scale efficiently and operate in ways that increase profit margins and capital for business investments. Customers using our robust solutions experience significant, meaningful increases in customer satisfaction, loyalty and revenue and profitability in just weeks.