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Home > Interviews > Interview with: Raja Mukherjee, Forbes Pro Academy of Cleaning Sciences Creating Skills

Interview with: Raja Mukherjee, Forbes Pro Academy of Cleaning Sciences Creating Skills

Cleaning is a science and one has to be qualified to do mechanised cleaning. In an exclusive interview with Clean India Journal, Raja Mukherjee, National Head-Training and Technical Services, Eureka Forbes Limited explains the importance of training and the formation of Forbes Pro Academy of Cleaning Sciences to facilitate the creation of skilled manpower.

Training keeps employees updated on the process and new methods in the industry…right solutions can be offered only through process knowledge.

The ForbesPro Academy of Cleaning Sciences (FACS) has expanded to various cities ever since its inception in 2011. “We have a team of 14 people working from six regions across India – R1-North covers Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab; R2 covers Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh; R3-East covers West Bengal, Orissa, Assam, Bihar and Jharkhand; R4-West covers Maharashtra and Goa; R5-South Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and R6 covers Tamil Nadu and Kerala.” These six geographic regions are equally divided market-potential wise. The Western side has more concentration of different markets and “we have five Engineer Technical Services (ETS) operating there. They conduct the training programmes for customers and also chargeable programmes at their locations. As an Academy and a Centre, we have only one in Delhi and we are planning to launch one in Bengaluru and then subsequently in Mumbai.”

These trainers are part of the academy…

Under the umbrella of Eureka Forbes we design all the modules, parameters and training requirements. All the reports come here and we collate it to set future course.

Kinds of candidates in the academy

We conduct both internal as well as external programmes. Internal programmes are basically for our team and external ones are for customers. Internal is like a training calendar and ideally everyone is trained. Ever since the academy has been setup, it has been made necessary for everyone to go to through the internal training programme. We have divided all the training into modules – Level One is for those who have an average of one to one-and-a-half years of experience in the company. There is also Level Zero for induction providers and fresh recruits. Level Two is more advanced programme and probably on a product category. Level Three is a train-the-trainer programme. Training is related to equipment, process, etc., for example, on how to operate the equipment, the chemical to be used and its dosages, measures if there is a breakdown and how to complete a particular work.

Why is training important?

Training keeps employees updated on the process and new methods in the industry. We also do an analysis, which tells us how better our product is and how we can make it better to satisfy the customer needs. These sessions also include brainstorming sessions.

Training programmes are required even at the advance level. I have got people with 12 years of experience who wish to be part of the faculty. It is a process of learning and unlearning; training is based on that concept. The part of unlearning is difficult and we do it here through different methods. We have visits to our sites to learn the actual applications of the machines.

Process knowledge is important so that right solutions can be offered.

In the industrial range, one product can be used for a variety of applications. For example, a wet and dry vacuum cleaner can be used in hotels, hospitals and even industries. There is a need to explain the processes rather than the product itself, as it is all about applications. While designing the content of the programme, we do an analysis first to understand the level of the people. We also send them the agenda of topics and welcome any addition to the programme. We do the same for the customers as well.

The Reserve Bank of India has been our client from the very beginning. Before the programme commenced last December, we visited their site to understand the impact the previous session had on the trainees. Training programmes have to be need oriented, otherwise the connection is lost while giving or receiving training.

External Training…

In RBI itself, the janitors who were permanent employees had the general tendency to hold their job in low esteem. We did a motivational programme to boost the esteem of janitors. In spite of the machines being present, they were not using them. We had regular onsite training programmes for them and then asked then to come to our academy. Academy is a place where people get to feel different products, chemicals and knowledge from different regions at one place. They get an overview of the industry itself. We keep literature regarding cleaning at the training.

We had recently concluded a training programme at the Delhi Institute of Catering, where many of our machines are operating in the laboratory. While they had to be taught how to run the machines, we posed them with the question as to why they needed cleaning machines. The full day training programme designed for them consisted of part theory and part practical sessions, which were highly appreciated. We have come to an agreement that, every semester, the institute will be sending 20 odd students for a refresher course on housekeeping concepts.

How receptive are these students…

It is part of their curriculum and an obligation. So we are trying to make it relevant to their ambitions. Our main idea was to make them see that what they study in books was not very different when applied to real situation. We are trying to get them started on being process oriented and replicating that in programmes for other sectors as well.

Housekeeping gives an eye to cleanliness…

It is absolutely correct. Because anywhere we go, it starts and ends with housekeeping. In between, there are a lot of different processes like laundry or any specific applications. It is a complete cycle on which the industry is based on.

How many training programmes so far?

We have conducted around 200 to 250 internal and external programmes, excluding the mandatory ones conducted on site. We have trained approximately 8,740 people this year itself covering almost 1500 different accounts around the country in the mandatory training programme. The programme for customers who buy our products is conducted by the technical services team across India.

Training modules differ from commercial to industrial equipment…

We have different modes of approach as the processes, applications and target audience are different. In a commercial complex it is more about aesthetics, as they require the look and shine. In hospitals, it is hygiene and sanitation. In industries, it is about keeping the place dirt-free to prevent accidents and is mandatory in the Kaizen/5S approach, and for cost reduction. Spillage management is coming up in a big way and can be done only by using cleaning equipment. It is a new foray for the industry. Even the seminar in Clean India Show had a topic on dust extraction that had people asking about it at our stall. It was a positive response, people accepting that vacuums can do a great job. We do have different approaches to different sectors.

Your modules are special?

We do not follow a textbook or use Google data for presentations. Even for our sales team as well as customers, it is mandatory that a hands-on training is done. Our module has a session on leadership skills, even for the housekeeping members. We ask them to send a supervisor along with the team, so there is unison and everyone knows what his/her deliverables are.

So, when I am talking about 10% dilution, the supervisor is also talking about the same; these can be understood if all are sitting together. This is the main ethos of our training system. This is what is followed everywhere, chargeable or not chargeable. One of the USPs is that a regular training programme of housekeeping has different players. Chemical training is more product-oriented. In our chemical oriented programme, the type of dirt, on which layer it is, which chemical to be use, etc., are explained.

The concept is about the orientation and the process for the training. We are getting good reviews and appreciation letters from trainees. Our clients include Tata Motors, JCB India, BVG group, Forbes Facility, ISS, DTSS, Impressions, Loins Services, PSIPL, Hotel Leela, Hotel Westin, Medanta Medicity, Columbia Asia, Fortis, Cambay, Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys Cognizant, Wipro, Pune Municipal corporation, BSF, Indian Navy, to name a few.

We have a programme for ride on machines operators who are given certificates at the end. It is like Eureka Forbes authorising them to ride this machine.

Future Plans

We aim to make FACS synonymous with the industry cleaning standards and best practices that would lead to the enrichment of the trainees in terms of knowledge about systems, processes, cleaning techniques and equipment knowhow, operational parameters, ROIs, etc., which results in value addition to the industry.


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