How can the facility services industry harness data to meet today’s challenges and optimize cleaning operations?

by Brianna Crandall — October 3, 2018 — With data-driven technology affecting every aspect of our lives, companies are re-thinking traditional processes, and big data has made its way to facilities management (FM), points out Tork, an Essity brand and global provider of professional hygiene products.

Tork recently conducted an online survey with KRC Research of 1,000 US adults ages 18+, with the key findings underscoring that good hygiene driven by data is good for business. The company also published a white paper discussing how the facility services industry can harness data to meet today’s challenges and optimize operations, particularly cleaning.

Survey on clean public spaces and using technology to help

Key takeaways of the survey include:

  • Make it sparkle!  The cleanliness of restrooms and other public spaces are universally important to Americans across a wide range of establishments — especially hospitals and health-care facilities.
    • More than 9 in 10 Americans agree that it is important to have clean public spaces and clean, well-stocked restrooms in hospitals and health-care facilities (98%), malls and shopping centers (95%), office buildings (94%), and airports (93%).
      • Americans hold hospitals and health-care facilities to the highest standards of cleanliness, with nearly 9 in 10 Americans (88%) say it is “very important” for them to be clean.
    • Of the four types of establishments evaluated, Americans are most likely to find the public spaces and restrooms dirty in malls/shopping centers (43%) and airports (31%). 18% say office buildings could use some clean-up, and 13% say the same about hospitals.
  • Keeping it clean is good for business.  Cleanliness levels have a strong and direct impact on consumer behavior — they gravitate towards clean establishments and avoid dirty ones, so businesses have a vested interest in prioritizing cleanliness.
    • Americans overwhelmingly agree that:
      • “Dirty public spaces or restrooms in a public establishment make me question other hygiene practices at that place” (87%).
      • “I would be more likely to frequent a public establishment that has clean public spaces and clean, well-stocked restrooms” (86%).
      • “I would not go back to a public establishment that has dirty public spaces or restrooms” (77%).
      • “There are places I just don’t go because I know they have dirty public spaces and restrooms” (73%).
  • Americans are not shy about speaking up (or walking out) when they find a restroom or public space that doesn’t meet their cleanliness standards.
    • Two-thirds (67%) of Americans have taken action in response to an establishment’s lack of cleanliness.  The most common actions include complaining to an employee (36%) and/or leaving the establishment (33%).
  • Technology to the rescue! Consumers embrace technology in their everyday lives, and internet-connected devices designed to help keep public establishments clean are no exception.
    • Americans were in strong agreement that:
      • “There are a lot of opportunities to improve people’s experiences using data and technology” (83%).
      • “Technology should be integrated wherever it can improve efficiency” (79%).
      • “I would be pleased to know that a public establishment that I frequent uses internet-connected devices to ensure cleaner public spaces and clean, well-stocked restrooms” (69%).
      • “Incorporating internet-connected devices into public establishments and office buildings would help keep them clean and their restrooms well-stocked” (58%).

White paper on using data-driven technology to improve facility services, particularly cleaning

Tork’s white paper notes that today’s facility services providers must deal with such pressing challenges as low profit margins, high staff turnover and absenteeism, frequent customer churn, and rapidly changing workplaces — all while preparing for the future. The paper says that data-driven cleaning can help them meet these challenges and increase performance and efficiency.

The report points out that the Internet of Things and advanced connectivity can create value in data-driven cleaning. By using sensors throughout facilities to collect data about visitor numbers, cleaning needs, and refill levels in real time, FMs can improve cleaning operations by: 1/ driving operational efficiency; 2/ increasing quality and customer satisfaction; and 3/ boosting staff engagement.

The Value of Data-Driven Cleaning for the Facility Services Industry” white paper is available to read on the Tork website, along with information about Tork products and software available to help meet the above goals.