The Clean India Mission launched by the Prime Minister of India on 2 October 2014, had been the most important and large-scale cleanliness campaign spanning across the country. The movement involved various stakeholders from the government as well as private organizations of different scales of operations to initiate cleanliness initiatives. These activities would focus on promoting sustainable sanitation and hygienic environment. The conduction of the annual nation-wide survey on cleanliness created an unprecedented awareness about hygiene, cleanliness and demand for waste collection. Indore had been bagging the first position in the survey successively since the inception of the cleanliness initiative.
Waste management involved the entire set of strategies and practices deployed from the generation till the disposal of waste. Hence, it encompassed the tasks of collection, transportation, storage, segregation, processing and disposal of waste. These activities were regulated by a centralized framework that was followed throughout the nation. The waste management sector in India had a growth rate of 7.17% and was expected to be a USD 13.62 billion industry by 2025.
This case study underscores an operational concern faced by Praveen Vishwakarma, the Senior Manager — Operations at Eco Pro Environmental Services in Indore, in January 2020, pertaining to the daily waste collection in the city.
Headquartered in Indore, Eco Pro was a growing firm that specialized in providing consulting services to the civic administration on pollution control and environmental services. The logistics planning by Eco Pro was becoming less effective and cost inefficient. The waste collection vehicles were moving in haphazard routes in busy hours causing violation of timelines and did not even reach certain destinations. The company was also incurring huge monthly costs. The company had been investing a sum of ₹170,000 per month, with a fleet size of 14, in the daily waste collection of only two wards. As the collection routes were random and the variability in the street dimensions, as well as the traffic was high, the collection trips often were delayed. Besides, the firm was suffering from constraints in capital, challenges in waste segregation, poor scheduling of collection vehicles as well as undesired socio-political interventions. The case revolves around the firm’s multi-faceted decision making on redesigning the logistics practices so that it would be able to perform waste collection for the two wards effectively and cost-efficiently with the existing set of collection vehicles and no major investments. The case introduces heuristics-based approach for solving complex optimization problems.
Through active classroom discussion and analysis of the tables and case facts, the case can be used to accomplish the following learning objectives:
• Understanding a large-scale waste management context in reference to the challenges, operational functioning, economic and socio-political dimensions.
• Understanding of a vehicle routing problem and its variants.
•Significance and application of a heuristic to solve optimization problems such as the vehicle routing problem.
•Understanding of the Clarke and Wright Savings Heuristics and its execution.
The case highlights the key decision making which involves redesigning of the collection routes through an optimization problem and uses a practical solution approach to resolve the multi-faceted dilemma. The case study is helpful for civic administrators and players involved in waste management by providing actionable guidelines.