» max emrich - hodge «

Tracking trash


Building a treasure tracking system for Hodge, an organics collection and reuse service for restaurants, improving pickup speeds, data collection and data transparency together with a data science consultant working on business intelligence.

» Hodge «

Picking up 30l buckets from restaurants to collect, redistribute, and reuse their organics, Hodge was working on a system of manual data entry of numbers on their bucket, hindering their growth. Our journey began with firsthand experience, joining 4 AM collection routes to understand the system's limitations. We identified three critical pain points: long pickup times, including a slow learning curve for new employees to get up to speed, significant time spent on correcting data entry errors, and a lack of adequate documentation. These issues not only slowed down operations but also impeded Hodge's growth and service quality.

With all these points in mind, we quickly prototyped and iterated on a QR code scanning and data processing tool using Apple Shortcuts and the API Platform MAKE and tested it on their routes to refine data collection needs. We ended at a process in which drivers scan a QR code at each location—either displayed by routing software or situated on the restaurant door—capture photos of the collected or delivered buckets and scan the QR codes on each bucket to streamline data collection.

Faced with the challenge of improving Hodge's system within a tight three-month timeframe, with no time for software development and a limited budget, we leveraged existing technologies to create a robust solution. Recognising the need for a more sophisticated solution, we transitioned to a more advanced software tool that enabled faster scanning and data entry and iteratively built a custom scanning solution for Hodge.

Using already developed software also allowed us to focus solely on the data collection and user experience. The end results spoke for themselves, with a 50% reduction in pickup time, a steep learning curve for new employees and a reduction of data cleaning from 4 hours a week to virtually none. All that at a cost of 50$ a month.

A notable innovation was the extension of QR code functionality to engage the community. By scanning the same QR codes used for collection, passersby and restaurant guests can now access insights into the restaurant's organic waste reuse efforts and the journey of each bucket.