Commercial cleaning is far more complex than residential cleaning. In fact, the scale and complexity of commercial operations depend on the scope and nature of the business. For instance, undertaking cleaning services in a university campus like United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), Al Ain, which has an approximate footfall of 18,000 per day, demanding a regular cleaning programme, can be more challenging.
Currently, Khadamat Facilities Management, founded in 2007, manages a wide range of soft and hard services for UAE University. The university, which is known to have the largest student population in the Gulf region is designed to accommodate 16,500 students and 2,500 faculties and staff wherein Khadamat manages the entire facility of 448,741.59 m².
Additionally, there are around 3,000 students occupying the residential buildings, which also require efficient cleaning services. There are around 1,500 events every year including the student’s graduation ceremonies attended by royal dignitaries and other VVIP’s; international and national seminars such as medical conferences and also international events such as Jiu-Jitsu championships and chess competitions. All of these events attract a large number of visitors to the campus and demands appropriate cleaning and maintenance without impacting the day to day operations and disrupting the teaching pattern for the students.
“Khadamat’s strategic plan focuses on integrated and bespoke innovative facilities management services that are of worldclass quality through efficient operations and demonstrable best practices, which are designed to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction,” avers Archana Aravind, Cleaning Services Subject Matter Expert, Khadamat Facilities Management.
The company has deployed a robotic floor scrubber at the university. Robotic machines are known for eliminating human errors while delivering better and consistent results. Archana Aravind adds, “Robotics and automation is still a challenge to implement because of the readily available and affordable manpower in this region. However, we considered the costs of supervision, rework and quality while considering robotics and decided that the self-monitoring and reporting system incorporated within the system, along with the guaranteed high quality of finish, which is not always the case with a manpower based solution, was worth it.” The machine features an easy to use portal that generates automated realtime varied cleaning reports and trend analysis by depicting area covered, productivity rate, water, and chemical consumption with no direct supervision required.
The machine comes with an onboard recycling system that reuses the water and reduces the amount of water consumption by 56 per cent and chemical usage by 75 per cent, saving time by 82 per cent and consumes 49 per cent less electricity compared to traditional cleaning methods. The cleaning result is much better as the areas require no further burnishing, which is another benefit of reduced chemicals use. This is a safe and intuitive process with obstacle avoidance features built into the robotic machine and despite running unmanned for more than five hours a day in public areas had no accidents.
“For this robotic machine, each supervisor is given detailed training on the basic features, the water and cleaning materials and how to monitor and review the self- generated reports, which are delivered to their mobile phones and PDA’s and how to charge and change the battery pack. No further training is required throughout the life of the machine,” explains Archana.
Best practices involved
Khadamat has implemented a fully comprehensive green cleaning programme for the UAEU at par with world class cleaning practices. Besides, the facility management company demonstrates real-time inspection of quality standards, reporting and recording tailored to KPI and SLA by adapting IT-based technology across operational outputs. It has also adapted hybrid specification of work output and low environmental impact cleaning policy by using green seal standard products and smart cleaning machines such as vacuum cleaners, which capture 96 percent of particulates, 0.3 microns in size and operate with a sound level less than 80dBA. They follow the steam cleaning method of disinfection, which is extremely efficient and environmentally-friendly cleaning alternative to traditional methods. The company is also compliant with International Cleaning Industry Management standards.
“Khadamat demonstrates its commitment to the environment in many ways in the day-to-day business of the company. We use hot water extraction equipment for deep cleaning carpets that remove sufficient moisture and dries the carpets in less than 24 hours. We have automated scrubbing machines with variable-speed feed pump, which optimise the use of cleaning agents and employ active microfiber techniques, which are used to enhance cleaning chemical performance on various surfaces. Our ergonomically designed power equipment minimises vibration, noise and user fatigue and is equipped with rubber bumpers eliminating the further risk of potential damage to the building surfaces,” informs Archana.
Training the cleaning team
Since cleaning is the most critical part of the UAEU like any other institution, it is crucial to train the cleaning staff to ensure that they follow the best practices and maintain standards. “It is also necessary to train the cleaning team on the job and conduct a refresher training to give us the reassurance that they are capable of performing the day to day job in a manner that is to be expected in a safe, consistent and efficient manner. The training is given beyond statutory health and safety practices such as green cleaning procedures; to meet OSHA, IOSH, JCIA, ISO, CMI standards; develop soft and leadership skills, customer engagement, different specialist floor care cleaning, etc,” explains Archana.
KPIs and the challenges
Cleaning services ensure deployment of skilled, experienced and trained resources such as BICSc, IRATA, IPAF, PASMA certified personnel, while the pest control team consists of qualified entomologists and field experts. “We believe that KPIs are metrics that target organisation objectives – both tactical and strategic to measure its efficiency and effectiveness and service operation status. We invest in the training, development, and well-being of the staff. We do have staff rewards and recognition schemes as part of our motivation and retention plan and more,” adds Archana. Lastly, the group also organises a proactive customer engagement programmes and conducts satisfaction surveys, conducts stringent cleaning quality audits using latest inspection software for analytical and reliable auto reports for both corrective and preventive actions.
As concerns about health become more prevalent and people become more aware of the harsh effects of cleaning chemicals, Khadamat has engendered greener ways to clean without compromising the quality. “By signing up to the certified green cleaning programmes, we ensure that we provide a healthier university with safer products that lead to a healthier environment with improved air quality throughout the facilities and also offer value for money services,” says Archana.
The cleaning programmes follow methods to avoid energy wastage in its activities by the right choice of smart machines, reporting of maintenance faults, auto dispensing chemicals, switching off lights when not in use, installing bottle-free water dispensers in cleaner’s welfare spaces. Khadamat strongly believes that cleaning in an environmentally sound way helps to reduce the risk of sick days for its customers and the risk of fires and hazards of cleaning chemical spills.