Customer Story

Streamlining HR, Training, and Safety with Mobile: ACE Disposal’s Success Story

Revolutionizing Employee Training and Communication with Mobile Solutions: Insights from ACE Recycling & Disposal’s Success Story

In a recent webinar, Engage by Cell teamed up with ACE Recycling & Disposal to showcase how mobile technology is transforming employee communication and training. The session provided invaluable insights into leveraging mobile solutions to enhance operational efficiency and employee engagement. Find the transcript and time stamps below.

[00:00:00] Dave Asheim: I'm Dave. I run engaged by cell, have been doing that for 16 years or so. And Ashley has been with us for two or three years or so, but her company has been around a long time.

Ashley, tell us a little bit about yourself, what you do there. And tell us about ACE.

[00:00:19] Ashley Dennis: Hi everyone, my name is Ashley. Currently right now I'm the Assistant Operational Maintenance Manager for ACE Disposal. I started my journey here as a diesel mechanic and moved up to whereI'm at now. 16 years with the company, still family owned and an independent waste hauler. Currently right now we have about 11 locations, 3 transfer stations. We're operating about 550 pieces of equipment. And we're about 430 employees now.

[00:00:42] Dave Asheim: And one of the biggest on the west coast that are independent.

[00:00:46] Ashley Dennis: Yeah, that's right.

[00:00:47] Dave Asheim: It's amazing. This company Engaged by Cell. Everything we do is cloud based. We've been in business a very long time in the mobile space. We work with lots of folks on the waste side and the manufacturing side, but also helping with marketing and training and outreach. Most of the ways we work with Ashley are for internal engagement and communication.

And, um, Ashley, anything to add to this? I think we probably covered that. There's Ashley in front of one of their 200 big red trucks.

[00:01:24] Ashley Dennis: Oh, you covered as well. Thank you. Pretty nice job. Pretty nice picture right there.

[00:01:29] Dave Asheim: Pretty nice picture. I love it.Um, the services that we're going to talk about today boil down to two different services. Ashley's company uses both of them. One is a text messaging platform. People can text in, join a list, you can upload lists, so if you folks are thinking of this from a client point of view, piece of cake.

They can scan a QR code or text in your clients to join the list, and then you can push out messages about issues about whether about delays, whatever you like, and then on the right side, we see a portal. And later on, Ash, he's going to show us, he's going to screen share and we'll see her own dashboard.

This is just a way that you folks can store content. And forms and quizzes and polls and Ashley uses this for internal purposes and she'll show you her site really kind of an HR training safety vibe, but you could also use it on the customer side. So it's all your content, your design using our technology.

All right, uh, everybody that's on the call. Do me a favor. Take out your phone. Either text demo to 56512. Or scan that code, it'll pop up your texting and then hit send, and then you'll join our list. Anna, who is monitoring this and is our marketing director, she's going to send you a few text messages that kind of replicate some of the ones that Ace Recycling is using so you'll get a kick out of seeing that nothing better than to see how this works on your phone.

So imagine you're an employee and you're and you've been asked to join the list or you're a client and you're asked to join the list. So text messaging, we give you a 10 digit code, or you can use our five digit short code. You get approved by the carriers. You pay a couple hundred bucks a year to the phone companies to have your own number. You pay us a little hosting fee, and then you have access to this dashboard.

Once you have access to it, instead of you pushing text messages in a group to employees or to clients, you're logging into a dashboard and you're doing it. So you're not eating up your own personal phone and people don't know your personal cell phone number.

So I think from a usability, wouldn't you say, Ashley, there's almost nothing better than sending people to text these days. What's your view about text versus email or anything else?

[00:04:23] Ashley Dennis: Yeah, I find, you know, especially in our environment, it's a little bit easier text message wise. Everyone has their phone. Um, I love to say technicians are great at paperwork. They're really not, they're not great with their email. So they, they prefer texts. They can click the link and everything pulls up right in front of them. So on our end, it's been extremely helpful to have it in one place, a simple text message.

[00:04:45] Dave Asheim: Yeah. Through a, through this dashboard. Okay, great. This second service is a mobile web app. So you just drag the icon, drag it down, up pops, whatever you want to load on that page.Could be a video, could be a quiz.It could be any kind of text you like, and that's how you build out this content. So it's kind of change on the fly store content or store quizzes, surveys, Ashley, do you do much testing or polling, or is it mostly kind of videos and, and text?

[00:05:22] Ashley Dennis: We do some of both specifically maintenance, my department. We do a lot of videos with just super easy questions. Did you find this information helpful? So it's, it's a shorter type of quiz. We do have other departments where they're going to list out a few questions, multiple choice, and then they can answer.

[00:05:39] Dave Asheim: Okay, super. Well, let's dive into the meat of this. I'm going to interview Ashley a bit.Before you were using Engage by Cell, Ashley, what were the issues you faced and probably the issues that many of the folks that are on the call today might be facing and just how did you go about it, communicating with, with folks?

[00:06:03] Ashley Dennis: Face to face, you know, we did multiple different group text messages where each time you had to send a new message, you had to start the message over to add a new person, a lot of emails. We tried slack teams, there was just so many places we were sending messages. There are points in time where you really couldn't remember what group that message was in.

So we found, you know, kind of switching our thought process.How do we get our messaging into one place? The great thing for us is on your platform, we have the ability to go back. So if I send out a training video, maybe, you know, we had a new hire on board and we want them to see that video. We go back to that one place and it's accessible for everybody. It's been very helpful. One place you have a dashboard and you can see what you've already shared.

[00:06:49] Dave Asheim: Any pushback from rolling out text messaging?

[00:06:54] Ashley Dennis: Uh, not necessarily. I think at first some people were under the impression that it was spam. So we used a lot of communication. We had department supervisors get with their, their team and they said, pretty much, 'Hey, this number that you're going to get texts from save it as the ACE Disposal,' everything, phone number to send out, like we do a lot of season tickets to sporting events, so we send it out.

So that really engaged people, ironically, like, Hey, we can win something. Of course, I'm going to save this number. It's not spam. So they save the number and since then it's easy. It's always the same number that sends out. And there's been no pushback. It's more convenient now.

[00:07:31] Dave Asheim: Yeah, that is so smart that you incorporated some kind of a game or a reward. Because who doesn't want to get two or four tickets to a concert, a game, or whatever? So, yeah, I will make sure that that's in my contacts because I don't want to miss the text that comes in if I happen to win it. So that was really, really smart.

[00:07:53] Ashley Dennis: Yeah, a lot of people didn't block us either, so it worked out pretty good.

[00:07:55] Dave Asheim: So sneaky, Ashley. So you're using texting to kind of tap people on the shoulder and say, Hey, check this out. And my guess is you're including a link. To something on the mobile app.

I'm guessing that half of your messages probably have some kind of connection. Back to the mobile app. How were you using that and what are the employees think?

[00:08:25] Ashley Dennis: Yeah, it's kind of all in one place, right? So if we send a text message and there's a link, they click the link, whatever that link is assigned to on the dashboard, whether it's a training video, a maintenance video. They click the link and it just pulls right up for them. I've noticed, especially people don't like a 10 step process to try to get information. So they know that that's our text message. It's our phone number. They click the link. It goes right to what we need them to go to.And you can attach a quiz at the end of the video. It's not like they have to click another link after that. It's an all in one.

[00:08:59] Dave Asheim: And you're finding whether it's a diesel mechanic, like your former job or a driver, Or an admin person. It's universal across the board that for the most part of people are participating.

[00:09:13] Ashley Dennis: Oh yeah. A hundred percent. We have, we have sales, IT, HR, and then we've developed the platform for each little sub department as well. So maintenance uses it specifically for something safety HR. And then we have the ability to select multiple departments when we send out the message. So maybe you have a select route set up for maintenance. You can just send it to maintenance personnel, but maybe you want to send it company wide.

You select everyone in the company and it goes to everybody. So it's, it's convenient that you can set up pretty much an interface for certain things and then company wide, if you need to.

[00:09:46] Dave Asheim: When I was at Waste Expo and you stopped by and saw us at our booth, quite a few company would stop by and say, Oh, I don't think my drivers or my mechanics, they're not going to want to participate in this kind of technology , like texting is only for people of a certain kind of job. I don't know. What's your response to that?

[00:10:08] Ashley Dennis: I have technicians on the floor older than 60 and then 18 year olds. I find the 60 year olds are doing pretty well with it, they usually just come in and say, hey, Save this number for me so I can click that little thing on there and get the bees tickets.

And so they do it and because it's kind of just, it's the same thing, right? Every single time, same number. That's been super helpful. Once we got past it and the word was out there that, Hey, this is our number. This is our stuff. I mean, we've had great success with it. There's a lot of things we can see who watches the videos for how long they watched it.

So that way, you know, also maybe you're getting the people that are kind of procrastinators and they're not clicking on the link right away. You can continuously send it to the people that didn't click them, almost forcing them to watch the video. So that's been great for us. It's just a simple click of the button and keep saying, Hey, watch me. Your company is going to keep annoying you until you watch this.

[00:11:05] Dave Asheim: Oh, that's fun. So in summary.Some work involved, handholding, communicating, it's safe, it's okay. Don't worry. It's a good thing in the first 60 days, 90 days, you've been with us fora while. So now my guess is it just kind of runs.

[00:11:27] Ashley Dennis: Oh yeah. It's organic now. It's very natural. Everyone knows, our HR actually made it part of onboarding. They have the employees now kind of save the number right on onboarding. We add them at their phone number. So it's set up from the moment that they walk in the doors and then that's how it is.

You know, if there's a quit or termination, it's easy just to remove them and then they don't get any company information after that.

[00:11:50] Dave Asheim: What a smart way to do it. When I come through onboarding, I'm filling out all these forms and the HR persons says, Hey, add this number to your contacts. Of course, they're going to do it. Then they get a text and it's from ACE.

[00:12:06] Ashley Dennis: Yeah. It's been good initially too. When we subscribed, we did like, Hey, the first 10 people to text back.Yes, I saved this phone number. It gets like a 25 gift card. And that was like the fastest I've ever seen a seventy-year-old texting before.

[00:12:18] Dave Asheim: That it's so good. These are good tips, everybody. Encouraging participation. It sounds like it's just kind of, like you said, organic. Everybody, every new person is part of the program and you use some games and contests, et cetera, to get people to participate. If you had to kind of summarize where you are what would you say in terms of how people are liking it and, kind of the future of using these kinds of tools?

[00:12:50] Ashley Dennis: Yeah, it's definitely made us more efficient in areas. We used to have an in person once a month safety meeting. We have 11 locations, 430 employees. So it's either the safety department traveling to these yards, which halts production, right? Everyone has to come in, sit down. We have the safety meeting.

Now we found was sending this out. They watch it on their time, maybe on their lunch, they pause for a few minutes, watch the video, they can go back to it if something comes up. So it's definitely made us more efficient.And the fact that you can go back. In person meetings, if you're not a good note taker, maybe you remember everything, maybe you don't, but we have the ability to go back and see the video, see what the safety meeting was about.And now we do quarterly in person just to kind of keep You know, faces that maybe don't get to see each other all the time, but we went from once a month, once a quarter. And for me specifically in maintenance, what's been a really, really good thing is we all have problem areas in the shop. Some of the trials we face during summer is overheats. Garbage trucks just do not like to run very well when it's hot.

So we spent the time making these videos. We send out a overheat video. It's a walk around the truck, basically explaining to the drivers, hey, this isn't overheat. This is how you have to deal with it. Well, the videos there, the content is the same. So every summer we have the ability, hey, it's almost overheat season.

We send it out instead of having to create like another video or, you know, other ways of saying, Hey guys, this is what happened. We just send it. And everyone that's subscribed gets the video.

[00:14:24] Dave Asheim: Everybody go ahead and feel free to tap the little red play button for the May safety meeting, Ashley, tell me how hard it was for him to record that and who got it?

[00:14:33] Ashley Dennis: Sorry. I was so excited to seeJeremy's video that I, I'm just kidding. I already watched it because I am subscribed. So , yeah, he just put his phone in front of him, took his notes,And then uploaded it, copied the link and then sent it out to everyone that he needed to send that video to. So it's pretty easy. Same thing in maintenance.We actually took a day with, kind of like a film crew. We have a marketing guy here. He's pretty good with it. Came out in the shop with his camera, made a bunch of short videos, sent them to us.And then every so often when I want to send out a new training video, I just upload it and send it to the people of my choosing on my list.

[00:15:12] Dave Asheim: Got it. Um, well, you, I think we're going to log into your dashboard just to show folks how you segment lists and what the, what the mobile site looks like from your perspective.

[00:15:27] Ashley Dennis: . Perfect. Yep. So this is our dashboard here. If you have like the mobile app downloaded on your phone, you see this right here specifically here in maintenance. Here's our training videos that we work pretty hard on.

So we have just a couple different things like you can play these videos. This is how to do like an actual walk around inspection on your truck and you can make them as long or as short as you want. This video is 10 minutes. We have someone here that are three minutes, two minutes. Um, so it's pretty much, you know, whatever length you feel I found the shorter videos are actually easier for people to watch.

Maybe they get bored of listening to me. I don't know. That could be another reason. So you can have like quizzes at the end on this particular one. I said, Hey, I want to see your first name and last name. And then you can build report reports in here. And then you go back to the report and it says, okay, Ashley, Dennis logged in. She watched the video for 10 minutes, which is great because that way, if they're clicking on the link, anybody can click on the link, but how do you know they're actually doing what the link is asking them to do? How long are they watching the video that you're sending out? So, yeah, it's pretty cool.

If I want to send this, I have a couple of different text options in here that we have like schedule texting. This is the list of, you know, all of our employees, all of the different groups that we have.

[00:16:50] Dave Asheim: Oh, yeah.

[00:16:51] Ashley Dennis: Maintenance in our can shop. So you can see that I have 96 subscribers here, 47 here, 10 here.

In total we have 424. So pretty much everyone, right. I said we had roughly 430 employees. Almost everyone is signed up. And then just the different groups, right? We have select supervisors where maybe something internal happened or we need to get a message out quickly.

We can send it to everyone, every supervisor, you can restrict it to managers. It's kind of the thing I love most about it is. You build it the way that you want it.

[00:17:26] Dave Asheim: Mm hmm. Yeah, that's great to see all the different lists because I see sales people and IT and so you can have as many lists as you like.

[00:17:35] Ashley Dennis: Oh yeah, this is safety.There's all of their training videos that you guys saw, you got your text, this is, you know, some areas during winter where we're showing the drivers how to put snow socks on.

[00:17:54] Dave Asheim: If you didn't have that or this platform, how would you get that information to those drivers?

[00:18:03] Ashley Dennis: Yeah, back to that once a month safety meeting. So, you know, if we had four or five things that we needed to talk about in a month, say all four or five things would take, you know, an hour or two to talk to each different department about.

[00:18:15] Dave Asheim: Yeah.

[00:18:16] Ashley Dennis: So we, we love it because it's in one place. We can go back. Yeah. We've pulled other videos from likeYouTube, um, how to deal with heat related emergencies, you know, when the temperature starts to change.

This is Paul. This is actually one of our trucks out on route where they were teaching how to do a daily tire inspection, PPE and safety gear. I think this is Jeremy again, talking about, Hey, how do you drive safe during the winter? So yeah it's pretty neat. It's like I said, interactive and you can, you can decide what content you want to use, what you want to share.

[00:18:54] Dave Asheim: So you're using this once a week, maybe?

[00:18:58] Ashley Dennis: Yeah, yeah, at least once a week, it may not be a video, but I thinkHR uses it to say, hey, send me your benefit packages. Hey, we have concert tickets, pretty much anything and everything. We're, we're getting the message out. And this is our one form of communication that we use to do that.

[00:19:15] Dave Asheim: Awesome. What questions do any of you that are attending today have for Ashley? Okay. how does this help from a marketing standpoint?

Yeah, I think from a marketing, what some folks are doing is they're putting a QR code on every trash bin, every truck, and every client is encouraged to scan that code and sign up for text message alerts.

And then they are getting text messages, not only about route changes or whatever, but, I know at ACE you have many different services other than just daily trash pickup. It could be special kinds of things or recycling.So, if you have other services you're trying to push, trying to sell, what a great way to do that is to weave a text message in one time a month, two times a month to, um, encourage folks to consider using you for other kinds of services.

Uh, so I think, uh, just like text messaging is being used in a retail fashion, there's no reason that you couldn't use this exactly. Uh, in the same way. We have a question. I see the platform has templates. Can you create templates to save within the platform? And the answer is yes.

Um, we have about 20 different templates already built , but should you want a different kind of look and feel, you can make it as customizable as you like. Most of our clients like, Ashley's company. Are happy with picking one of those templates. It's for internal purposes.

You have your colors. My guess is Ashley, you didn't feel a need because it was all internal focus to make it anything really special , and to get it down to the pixel, but it's possible that somebody wanted to do that. So you can, you can really match your branding. Should you want to do that. Good questions.

[00:21:07] Ashley Dennis: Yeah. Thank you, Dave. Thanks for having me. Have a great day, everybody.

[00:21:10] Dave Asheim: Bye everybody. Thanks so much.

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