The janitorial business, like many other businesses, has become a hotbed of new technology. From people processes to floor cleaning equipment to janitorial inspections and more, it seems more and more of our business is becoming automated or at the very least, directed by the technologies we have come to depend upon. Technology in commercial cleaning has grown so quickly that we often forget where we started back in the mop and bucket days.
While there are always some downsides or adjustments to emerging technologies, innovation is so integral to both the growth and professionalism of our industry and managing costs and quality for our customers. Technology has driven efficiency, cost savings, even safety and enhanced compliance. While talk of robots may seem farfetched or the stuff movies are made of, technology will take us there eventually, perhaps much sooner than we think. Some of us are slow to change, often to the detriment of our businesses and our customers. While others of us reach and grab at every new shiny toy, which isn’t often the best long term strategy. So how do we find the middle ground when we live in a period with such dramatic, rapidly advancing technology?
First, we must focus on technology for solving problems rather than technology simply for technology’s sake. Floor care has, for example, made incredible leaps and bounds in terms of automation and required labor hours. This fine tunes the service and cuts long term costs. Small advances are continually reshaping an entire industry. Likewise, as some janitorial companies were struggling with issues of consistency and communication in their janitorial inspections, smartphone applications, like QualityChex were created to manage this problem by creating consistency through accountability and then communicating findings to everyone that needed the information. A great use of available technologies to create an easy process to manage a vital element of service.
Another issue? Janitorial budget cuts meant a great many of our facility managers just didn’t have the dollars they once did. They still needed solid maintenance so between Smart Cleaning processes like zone cleaning and janitorial equipment efficiencies, we were able to help them get closer to their hard numbers without their overall maintenance slipping beneath an acceptable level.
The reality is that even though technology is changing our industry so fast it can feel tough to keep up with, as an industry, we must realize the vast benefits technology has to offer. Those companies on the forefront of it will be best poised to over their customers convenience, efficiency, cost saving, value and results now and in the future.