Dear Whitetail Customer & Neighbor,
Back on March 24, 2020, Mike Schmidt the President of Whitetail Disposal (WD) reached out to you concerning the pandemic and WD’s initial response to the COVID-19 virus. Your safety, and the safety of our employees continues as our primary concern. The actions implemented by Mike back in March remain in place. WD makes available industrial nitrile gloves each day to all employees. We utilize disinfectant throughout our facilities each day and require the wipe down of all truck cabs and handles at the start and end of each shift. We stay informed and practice all suggested protocols by the CDC. I’m happy to inform you that as of today, the efforts begun back in March and practiced over the last 100 plus days since have resulted in WD’s family being blessed with good health.
Today, I feel it’s important to give you an update on how WD is preparing and planning to meet any possible course COVID-19 may take between today and the end of this year. Over the last three months of dealing with COVID-19, we have experienced, dealt with and overcome many unexpected side effects of COVID-19. Some larger examples include the quarantining of employees when a team member isn’t feeling well, we then must confirm the health of the team member before the team can work again. Supply chain disruptions, or issues and delays for truck parts due to the shutdowns stopping or slowing manufacturing causing long back orders. For example pre-pandemic, a part ordered today we’d normally have delivered next day may now take a week or two weeks. In fact, we have many parts ordered months back that still have not been delivered as of today. The good news. We’ve come to understand these challenges and have learned to incorporate those lessons into our daily operations.
One unexpected side effect from the mandatory lockdown, and stay-at-home orders is trash volumes rose over 20%, and recycle volumes approached increases of 50%. This significant change in volumes happened overnight. The high volume levels of trash and recycle have not abated as of today. Over the last 100 plus days, I was hoping for a cure of COVID-19, or for it to depart our lives. We now must plan for any course the virus might follow.
Beginning on July 1, 2020, WD began an ambitious, and I might add once in my lifetime re-route of our entire service area to address the possibility of whatever course COVID-19 may follow. Among the many benefits, the re-route would allow for smaller routes to account for higher volumes, allow support vehicles to better service bulk and extra services by focusing in one area each day, and allow for route tracking to switch out vehicles when experiencing any delay due to mechanical issues or volume issues. In early April, we invested a significant amount of money in new route software, created and trained a route team, and built a route room to implement the system. In addition, we installed GPS and cameras on every truck. We have expanded our local call center to 15 team members who could handle call volume of 1900 calls and 500 emails per day anticipating many questions.
Today, we have just finished the first full week of the new routes. We’ve had our challenges, but I’m confident this re-route decision will benefit us both in the near-term and prepare us for tomorrow. I’m very proud of our employees and I know we learn very quickly. I’m seeing daily improvements on every route as our drivers are learning where and how every low weight bridge effects their route, where that tricky back down maybe and the house facing one street but the driveway facing another street. Alleys, hills, curves, and of course the many roads and streets with no identification. Over in our call center and mostly due to the re-route both calls and email volumes are heavy. Beginning tomorrow, we’ve expanded the call center adding three more team members (18) to help shorten any wait times and provide quicker reply times for emails. Every employee at WD is committed to improving our new routes each day.
Finally, I believe by preparing today for whatever course COVID-19 may follow, we’ll be positioned to provide you and your family the best waste service today and long into the future. Thank you for your business and patience with the re-route. May God Bless you and keep your family safe.
You have my regards,