Today we’re talking with Bjarne Kallesø, IT and Development Leader at Herning Municipality. Bjarne has over 20 years of experience working in the municipal waste sector and is a pioneer in applying new innovations and technological advances to waste management processes at Herning Municipality.
Bjarne, you’ve been working with WasteHero for several years now. Could you tell us about the challenges that you were experiencing at Herning Kommune that led to your collaboration with WasteHero?
There are two main challenges, firstly our glass containers were emptied far too often at around 30-50% fullness, or when they were empty. We wanted to install sensors into our glass containers to analyse and understand waste generation patterns to improve our route scheduling.
Secondly, we had challenges with our existing CRM system. We were open to moving away from our own developed CRM system if we could find a better solution.
Why did you choose WasteHero over other providers to help you solve these challenges?
We knew about WasteHero from the very beginning. The municipality had an interest in helping new local companies, especially if founded by students. From here, Herning discovered that what WasteHero were developing was very interesting.
The openness of the WasteHero solution to third-party system integrations was a big value point. When trying to collaborate with other partners, Herning usually has to fit into their box, rather than being part of the actual development to help design the box. Working with WasteHero allowed Herning to have an influence over the solution.
Furthermore, we believed there was not enough competition on the market for CRM systems for the municipal waste industry, and those that were there weren’t very attractive in terms of modernization and digitalization.
WasteHero also had many good ideas – they helped Herning get into the EU project, leading to our involvement in various EU projects on smart cities afterwards.
Finally, the WasteHero platform is more up to date and programmed in accordance with new standards, both for design, functionality and security.
How has WasteHero helped you solve these challenges?
Herning has a clear expectation that driving time will be reduced. WasteHero’s sensor technology and increased waste insights helped us achieve this, as this data is not currently available from the external hauler.
Data becomes more easily available with the WasteHero solution. Does it make sense to move containers around in the city if they’re not being used much? We have the insights to answer these questions now.
In terms of the CRM, the team is pretty satisfied with Herning’s existing in-house system. However, new requirements for GDPR and cyber security are getting more difficult to meet, this is where WasteHero can help us.
What have you been most impressed with at WasteHero?
I’ve been particularly impressed with the development of the CRM system, as well as the implementation of new features pointed out by Herning.
Our EU project, although not 100% successful, was impressive due to how much progress WasteHero made in just 6 months. Herning’s ideas were exported to other cities, while we also learned from other cities.
I’m impressed that they don’t quit when facing hard times. Our collaboration has been a development project which comes with expected challenges. Of course, there have been some aspects that weren’t perfect, but the persistence in face of challenges has been very impressive.
Now let’s talk about the present day, what do you view as the main challenges in your daily work life?
Legislation. New laws possibly coming up lead to the municipalities not being allowed to control as much, there will have to be a lot done by private businesses. The processing of waste will also have to be handled by private actors. The innovative approach of the municipalities will disappear if this goes through. Herning fears this will land on the citizens.
What about the municipal waste management industry as a whole – what do you view as being the biggest challenges here?
Still legislation as above. This might lead to the only task remaining with the municipalities being creating the tenders. They will lose daily control over operations.
Which technologies do you think will be most crucial to solving challenges in municipal waste management?
Establishment of more advanced facilities to separate waste with automatic robot sorting. This should be as close to danish borders as possible – preferably within. It’s important to note that these facilities require large volumes as we attempt to increase recycling rates. We need to ensure high recycling rates and reuse of waste in a way that makes it easy for citizens, especially for those in apartments where this is a major problem.
What are your plans for your collaboration with WasteHero in the future?
We expect to move forward with full-scale implementation of the CRM system and route planning.
Would you recommend other municipalities to work with WasteHero?
Yes! And we’ve done so many times.
If you could share one key message with your peers in the municipal waste management industry, what would it be?
The waste industry is under constant development so we must follow the technological development closely. We, as an industry, need to make sure new processes are adapted to constantly improve. We won’t ever be done, it’s an ongoing process.
If you’d like to talk further with WasteHero about your needs for a municipal waste management solution, contact us today.
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