In the last few years, Bain Public has worked closely with Wastack, a company combining hardware, AI, IoT and SaaS to automate landfill operations. From bird control to early fire detection, Wastack has worked hard to transform their business, improve efficiency and cut operational cost and risk.
The goal for Wastack has been to automate landfills where software and robotics fill the place of human workers. They want to improve wildlife management efficiency, centralize data to make better decisions, increase landfill life expectancy, mitigate operational hazards and risks (e.g. methane, leachate, fire, safety) and create a positive public perception in the waste management industry.
Originally known as LockBird and starting out as a simple tripod with a camera and a laser to deter birds, with the help of Bain Public, Wastack has been able to combine the best of all tools and humans into an intelligent platform that can perform multiple tasks. Today, as our partnership together continues, Bain Public has helped them significantly streamline their product review and approval processes as well as refine their vision and help them bridge the gap from strategy to execution.
How our work together began
A few years ago I was a mentor at Founder Fuel and led a workshop for Julien Chosson and Mathieu Hamel, the co-founders of Wastack. We had some insightful discussions and they confided the challenges they were experiencing regarding their product development.
"While we were at Founder Fuel with Paul, it was the first time we were challenged on why we do what we do, and how we do it. From there we were able to completely reshape product development at Wastack. We can now better explain everything that we do and what to plan for the future. It makes a huge difference." Mathieu Hamel, Co-Founder
One of the things we try to do at Bain Public is to prevent companies from making decisions randomly or by gut feeling. It’s about being rational about the decisions we make and being able to prioritize. You need to figure out the order of which products to develop first, which are critical or unimportant, and which ones are going to make you stay alive, make money and prosper.
One of their challenges was people kept referring to them as a bird mitigation company, but they wanted to be much more than that and figure out a way to innovate using the current hardware at their disposal.
They had a vision of building a world-class company that helps landfills automate their operations to increase their efficiency while reducing their risks and impact on the environment. It was this AI-enabled vision of automating every vertical which motivated us to partner and help. We studied the landfill market and realized Wastack was on to something big. By collecting data on the field, they can rethink business models, improve processes, speed up production, increase services potential, and design exceptional products.
They wanted to insert themselves across multiple landfills and significantly reduce humans, making landfill management a lot easier. Their bird deterring technology would simply be one product they could offer. We helped them through the process of becoming a company that automates landfill operations through a series of tools and drones.
Automating bird control and fire detection with Wastack
Using the hardware they already have on the field, we were able to leverage the data in the equipment and go after multiple issues that are faced on landfills, including bird control, fire detection and air space optimization. According to Julien, these were the low hanging fruits they could harvest.
"The best thing you can do is solve multiple problems with one tool to provide more value. We are able to think horizontally across the multiple issues we can solve in our field of expertise. This is an approach that is revolutionary in the way the industry is operating." Julien Chosson, Co-Founder
For instance, in their original tripod to control birds, they were able to add an extra thermal camera which then enabled it to detect fire. Because this technology was already on-site, it is now able to automate two operations rather than one. Next, they could add a weather station to the tripod which would let landfill operators know what is happening and whether action needs to be taken depending on the weather conditions.
It was about maximizing what Wastack had in terms of their hardware and how to generate value out of it in order to become a thriving force in the landfill industry.
Continuing our work together
By removing the human element and automating landfill operations, it now allows for 24/7 coverage, protection and faster response times in case of emergencies. Some of the best results came from their bird control technology - landfill sites went from seeing thousand of birds daily, to now maybe a dozen.
There will always be more opportunities than there are resources. It’s about looking for guidance and finding clarity of knowing you’re strategically hedging your bets in the right product. Through working closely with Wastack, leading their product efforts, helping to refine their vision and define their product roadmap, we’ve been able to accomplish a lot, and hope to continue our work together well into the future.
If you wish to know more about our partnership with Wastack, feel free to contact us.
Bain Public is a Product consultancy that helps companies make smart decisions, and ship top-notch products that captivate customers and achieve business objectives. We help ambitious organizations create new value by establishing company-wide product-related processes. Our group of experienced Product Managers works closely with CSuite leadership teams removing friction from all touchpoints of the digital consumer experience to deliver product-market fit allowing companies to operate at scale. For more information, visit bainpublic.com or call 514-442-8487.
Thanks to Loren O’Brien-Egesborg for reading drafts of this article and overseeing aspects of its publication. Also, if you have any feedback or criticism about this article then shoot us an email firstname.lastname@example.org.