Michigan was largely closed down in the spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but even with MCM Disposal’s roll-off operation at half its normal levels for March and April, its annual revenue grew by 28 percent thanks to its implementation of waste hauling and transportation software from Denver-based Starlight Software, the company says.
MCM Disposal is a Byron Center, Michigan-based roll-off company that has been servicing the greater Grand Rapids area since 2003.
MCM Disposal owner Chad Arp started the business after coming across a truck with eight containers for sale while working with his family’s concrete and recycling business. He purchased the truck and cans and began servicing the area with the hopes that he would learn the business as he went. Today, Arp runs 15 trucks and manages 700 containers.
Before using Starlight, Arp says the dispatcher and the drivers at MCM Disposal used pen and paper to record order information.
“Dispatch would radio the drivers regarding orders that were called into the office. The drivers would need to pull over and write down the order on a legal pad in the truck. It was ridiculous,” Arp says.
He knew that the antiquated systems his company was using weren’t working, and the outdated methods of operation often created more hurdles.
In 2019, he began looking for software to help manage his business. Arp and his team searched for a solution that was purpose-built for its operations. This included partnering with a company that understood what tools it needed to improve dispatching, track inventory and equip its drivers with the resources needed to get the job done more efficiently and professionally.
“Some other software systems try and fit roll-off, but Starlight is the only software that is made for roll-off without adjustments or customization. It is ready to go,” Arp says.
In 2020, Arp made a direct correlation between the company’s increased revenue and profit and the adoption of Starlight. Overall, MCM achieved an increase of 25 percent more container moves and 28 percent more revenue from May 2019 to May 2020. MCM did not add any additional trucks to the fleet but did add some containers.
The year-over-year differences demonstrate that even though the company was not operating at full capacity for a few months in the spring, running the business with the new software created demonstrable improvements in business and operational efficiency. “It’s about working smarter with the resources you have,” Arp says. “Before we used Starlight, if we didn’t know how much inventory we had at a site, we would send someone down there with a piece of paper to record a tally.”
Now, MCM is able to use the software’s inventory recording system to gauge what assets are deployed where.
The improvement in inventory tracking is only one of the functions that has proven beneficial for the company.
“With the driver app, everything is systematic. The drivers have to follow the flow of the dispatcher to move through the work orders. Before we had Starlight, sometimes our drivers would go rogue. They didn’t do things in order, so we had upset customers. We are now able to give the customer more information and the system will even text them automatically when the dumpster is on its way,” Arp says.
With Starlight’s dispatching software, Arp says MCM can create efficiencies that were not possible before. Starlight’s dispatch system provides a bird’s eye view of all of the work scheduled for the day in a certain market. The dispatcher can then make decisions by seeing the real-time status and location information of all of the drivers, the containers and the jobs, choosing to assign and reallocate work continuously as the day progresses to take advantage of efficiency opportunities.
“The visual dispatching piece with the drag-and-drop ability to map out switches, drops and pick-ups is a game-changer,” Arp says. “Our dispatcher now fits orders together for the driver to have a seamless operation that gets rid of unnecessary trips going across town to pick up a can for the next project.”
This spring was a challenging time for many businesses, as business slowed down across the country. Arp and his team were concerned about the impact this would have on MCM’s business, but by using the new software, he says MCM was able to come out ahead.
“The state was shut down in March, we were at half speed, and once they opened up, the construction industry opened up, as well,” Arp says. “And we were ready to handle it. We have the ability to take on more and that is what has made our revenue grow. With Starlight, we can plug and play to make it work and take on all the orders we receive in a day.”