Job Scheduling in the waste industry
Within the waste and recycling industry there are lots of different job scheduling software packages. However, many of these are pitched at the Enterprise market and are not cost effective for smaller companies or social enterprises, and you need to come up with another approach to manage your day-to-day collections work.
There are a number of approaches you could take:
1. Use of whiteboards – these can give a visual display to the whole room of what work is current at the moment. You may also be able to display recent history and the next few upcoming days. For instance you might want to show a single week or a fortnight. You cannot schedule regular jobs or see any history in detail. This does not hold data about your customers, it only shows collection information.
2. Use of diaries – this can give you a better historical record, as you don’t have to wipe and start again each week. However, only one person can access this information at once and again you cannot schedule regular jobs. Also, like using whiteboards it only shows collection information.
3. Use of spreadsheets – this is a quick and easy way to store much more detailed information about your customers. With large complex spreadsheets, using linked sheets you can start to store more complex information. You can even use the date function to use a spreadsheet to schedule your jobs. However, they have not been designed with accessibility in mind and you will need to remember that ultimately you are using a spreadsheet for something it is not designed for. Microsoft have now created a new suite of packages called Office 365 for online collaboration and sharing.
4. Use of calendar software – this will allow you to generate regular appointments and assuming you never delete or edit the cycle, you can keep a historical record of activity. It is presented in a much better way than a spreadsheet, but only shows the job schedules, rather than more detailed information. There are online calendars which will allow you to share information easily. In addition, there are programs which work with Google docs (a suite of online programs including a calendar) which will allow your customers to book in their own jobs online.
5. A database can be created in-house with a certain level of background knowledge – MS Access has been designed with this in mind. However, unless you are certain that the person who wrote it will stay at the business this could cause problems in the long run, as you will need to consider how to maintain it and what you would do if you wanted to update or improve it.
6. Implementation of web-based software. Sometimes called cloud applications, or Software as a Service, these kinds of software have allowed software developers to provide software to you at a much reduced cost. Google Docs and Office 365 are examples of this. However, there is a wide range of software of software out there which have been designed with specific jobs in mind, so you can be sure you will be able to find software that will suit your requirements for a low cost. Usually, these software deals will give you a free trial so you can see whether their software suits the way you work.