In any business, innovation is the key to success. The cleaning industry is no exception to this. The entire industry has seen several interesting technologies that aim to take it to new levels of efficiency and success. The past two years have only catalysed the process of adopting these technologies. Today, if you’re not constantly researching and implementing new ways to provide your cleaning services and products more effectively and efficiently, you can be sure that your competitor will.
We spoke to Cindy Hermsen, CEO, Global Alliance of Facility Management Innovators, Ron Segura, President, Segura and Associates, Andrea Yoko, Head Of Soft Services, Ejadah, Pamini Hemaprabha, International Hospitality Professional and Certified Auditor and Muhammad Mustaqeem, Key Account Manager – Lower Gulf, Essity to understand different perspectives about how the industry is being revolutionised by technology.
How is technology revolutionizing the cleaning industry?
The cleaning industry has always been an industry of change. But we have to admit that regardless of where we are and where we come from, the recent pandemic has redefind the cleaning industry. Two decades back, the cleaning industry has almost no technology. Over the past 5 to 7 years, the industry has witnessed groundbreaking technologies. These years have been the best time in terms of cleaning technologies. Automation has been given so much importance. The cleaning industry has been digitalized and the pandemic has bright more thought, discussion and innovation to it. It has brought the ability to look beyond paper work, the ability to track and have proper records, the ability to qualify for multiple audits, and all of this has led to a bigger market for this industry.
Technologies like IoT sensors and request buttons are often integrated in the digital workplace management solutions. We also see IoT devices being used to track high volume mobile cleaning equipment. We also see robots being teamed up with the workforce to create super teams. There is also this trend of wearables. They are less known but help cleaners keep track of physical problems they may have. Gamification and social technologies are being deployed for cleaning workforce engagement. There is also a huge potential in blockchain technology. Blockchain is to become the most trusted enabler of smart contracts between cleaning providers and clients.
Undeniably, a lot of different technologies are tpouching the cleaning sector and it’s many different aspects. These technologies are bringing in transparency to the cleaning process. They are also improving how we monitor cleaning and as a consequence, efficiency. They are easing the cleaning processes we had in place and
The cleaning industry clearly has a bright future when it comes to technology. There is so much that can be done in terms of the products we use, the processes we implement, the technologies and equipment we have! We are really standing at the beginning of a new era in cleaning.
Facility owners resisting change?
There is a lot of change happening in the cleaning industry right now. Resistance to change has been there since times immemorial. People resist something new. That’s the way humans are designed. Traditional FM players in the market also resist change. The main reason for this could be the comfort zone. They have their standard practices and SOPs. However, it should be understood that those who resist change will also face a lot of new challenges that come with new time and situations, for example, the pandemic. During the pandemic, guest expectations from the cleaning staff increased ten folds. A higher standard of cleaning quality and frequency was required. So a lot of cleaning procedures had to be changed. This calls for more training and different solutions that what we were implementing earlier. You might have to clean more with the same costs or even less. There is also this expectation of showing evidence of cleaning. To need to show that you have adopted credible cleaning mechanisms to the government, customers and even auditors. This again calls for better reporting that technology alone can achieve.
Facility Managers on the clients side are trying to reach the highest level of user experience. Technology helps to achieve this. It is key to understand that society in general is living a convenience revolution. As a society, we want to have access to any information or an answer to any of our requests in two or three clicks on our cell phone. We got used to that under the influence of e-commerce and search engines. This trend is also affecting cleaning activities. Building users want to reach the cleaning surface in two clicks too, especially during the pandemic. For example, they want to check if a specific desk has been cleaned. This holds even for the public sector. The customer expects to raise and resolve a request in two clicks.
Digital technology is here for cleaning teams to keep up with the pace of time.
This is an excerpt from Cleaning Technology Talks. To view the full session,