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How One Belgian City Used Data Analytics To Stop Illegal Waste Dumping

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Forget Brussels. Never mind Bruges. Ignore Antwerp. Why? Because there’s Ghent.

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It is an open secret that Ghent is a hidden gem – an often overlooked Flemish city that is home to medieval cathedrals, winding canals, quaint cobblestone streets, and an allegedly haunted castle with the oh-so-appropriate name of Gravensteen.

Now, through word of mouth and social media, even more tourists and modern-day explorers have discovered this under-the radar utopia.

Sadly, the new influx of visitors created trash, garbage, and illegal waste dumping – the bane of existence for the people of Ghent.

A modern solution to an age-old problem

Enter IVAGO, a leading waste recycling service provider. The city brought on the Ghent-based waste experts to tackle this chronic problem and clean up the city.

IVAGO (whose name, by the way, reminds me of some cool Bond character) saw this as an opportunity to raise the bar of the public waste management sector. They set out to address the increasing demand for reactive as well as proactive services that can adapt to the changing urban landscape, while continuing to serve the 281,000 residents of Ghent.

For IVAGO, this was not just another garbage pick-up and recycling job. There had been a dark cloud hanging over Ghent, to be sure, but IVAGO saw a silver lining that included:

  • Finding a solution to track how to keep Ghent clean via citizen engagement
  • Becoming a pioneer among waste management companies, not only in Ghent, but across all of Belgium
  • Using predictive analytics to make decisions proactively on an ongoing basis
  • Implementing delivery safeguards to protect the trash against any accidental spillage while enroute to a waste incineration facility
  • Ensuring the most efficient and environmentally friendly way of processing waste

Go innovative

For IVAGO, the first step to solving this growing problem was to understand the populace’s concerns. Citizens wanted a cleaner city, of course. But IVAGO discovered that Ghent, with its 21st century sensibility, also wanted a digital solution that provided an easy-to-use mobile reporting app for residents and tablets for the garbage collectors for efficient tracking.

And so, IVAGO had to go innovative by leveraging SAP Analytics Cloud for a new and integrated way of using data to satisfy its stakeholders and community.

The company and partner EY implemented SAP technology which provided IVAGO with real time operational insights. This led to better decisions allowing them to streamline waste management services and increase efficiency of its day-to-day activities. IVAGO was able to highlight particularities in certain master data objects and transactional data sets so they could make good decisions more quickly.

Fostering communication between service provider and city resident

IVAGO kept the momentum going by involving the community. They developed a mobile app so that residents could notify IVAGO if and where waste was dumped, and send a photo of the waste along with its geo-coordinates. This information is sent to IVAGO’s SAP system – which alerts the service provider to pick up the mess that was left in a timely manner.

Weathering operational growing pains

Admittedly, prior to taking on this huge assignment, IVAGO had little and scattered information about its stock volumes and operational KPIs. It was SAP technology that enabled IVAGO to house all of its information in one location, and this set the foundation for IVAGO to create its state of the art analytics solutions.

This new technology provided IVAGO fully automated solutions to analyze KPIs and key drivers. No more burning up a lot of time to manually crunch data and then trying to interpret it all as the trash piles up. IVAGO now had the tech tools to solve the problem: automated reporting, time and cost reductions, and the ability to make critical decisions in real time.

The beauty of Ghent survives thanks to IVAGO

Ghent continues to welcome travelers – urban explorers who will enjoy the idyllic beauty and tranquility of this western Shangri-la – but without the risk of running into a disheartening landscape of foul waste deposits. IVAGO will make sure of that.

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