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Customising to Customer’s Needs

As a society, we won’t be returning to pre-Covid levels of cleaning demand post pandemic. The pandemic has fundamentally changed the way people perceive public spaces and their expectations for the cleanliness, health and safety of those spaces. Sathish Rajendren, COO-India, Facilities & Asset Management Services-Knight Frank India Pvt. Ltd emphasises the need for mechanised & automated solutions which needs to be customised for the customised needs of the customer.

What types of cleaning machines, tools, and chemicals available abroad would you like to see available in India? What is unique about their features?

Here are a few examples.

Staircase and escalator cleaner: In India, cleaning of vertical transportation systems is usually done manually which is time consuming. Mechanised cleaning of these systems will ensure that the process is effective, safe, with a better eye appeal and ergonomically sustainable.

Battery powered vacuum cleaners: Usually vacuum cleaners are noisy. Hence, the vacuuming task is scheduled for weekends or at night to avoid disturbance to employee.

Over and above that the wires that run and cause trip hazards or get stuck between furniture is another disadvantage. This battery-operated vacuum is noiseless, no downtime, ergonomic and no tripping hazard.

Cordless Electric brooms: Brooms or dry mops spread dust. The cordless electric broom absorbs dust and is easier to use than a vacuum. There might be some heavy customisations required for the humid Indian conditions, however, this would be a smart adaptation.

Robotic cleaning: The human element in cleaning has its own disadvantages: Calling in sick, requirement of supervision, effectiveness, health hazards while cleaning and many more.

Cleaning teams that have implemented commercial cleaning robots are seeing massive improvements in their cleaning performance. They increase their cleaning quality and efficiency, save time and costs, and better-allocate resources using real-time data. This is at a nascent stage in India, however domestic and commercial usage is on the increase in the recent times. This is very popular abroad as the cost of domestic help is very high. It will be some time before this will become a common scenario in India too.

Products that are designed abroad are much more robust and advanced in nature. With India planning on going Atmanirbhar, Indian solutions will have a better market at a competitive price point.


Please share examples of how cleaning outcomes can be improved with the use of some of these solutions.

With the advent of professional cleaning services complemented with tools and machines, the cleaning services will take on a professional approach with high degree of safety and ergonomically viability. An individual will feel more comfortable handling an equipment as compared to a broom or a mop. The profession, with its scope and spread, will have many more takers as compared to now and more importantly it will be a profession of choice rather than conditional acceptance.

This also will be skilled profession, with teams learning to operate simple and complex equipment resulting in better pay for individuals.

When it comes to digital FM software, would you prefer to use solutions designed abroad, or homegrown ones? Why?

One would certainly prefer homegrown solution as compared to an off-the-shelf solutions designed abroad. There are multiple reasons for the same

  • Logistics – Any product imported and executed will be economically challenging as compared to something home grown. India and Indians are looked up on as Tech Giants and the possibility of homegrown solution is appealing.
  • Customisation to Indian context and requirement is easily executable when the product is locally developed. The context is easier to be understood by the local players.
  • If we look deeply, probably the tech solutions provided by an outside player, might have had some Indian tech company/personnel at the backend.

Though the above points are very important, it is necessary to mention that the products that are designed abroad are much robust and advanced in nature, as they had an early start and it augurs well for us to look and learn the complexities that have been developed over decades. With India planning on going Atmanirbhar (Self reliant), Indian solutions will have a better market at a competitive price point.

Lastly, in what ways should these solutions be customised before being used in Indian facilities?

The software provider needs to be open to customers’ customised needs and should be able to build on platforms with quick TAT. Most important is understanding the workflow and adopting the best possible framework to build the product with real time / live dashboards that will act as a decision support system for the client.

Facilities Management is all about customising or providing tailor-made solutions. No two facilities’ requirement can be the same. Hence, the expectations and the need of the customer should be studied before offering any of the solutions.

Also, the physical location of the building, its climate & environment, the materials that have gone into its construction, skillsets of the facilities team… all need to be taken into consideration. Moreover, today’s software solutions are open ended and compatible with any platform, making the customization user friendly.

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