In the third decade of the millennium, merely employing cleaning machines is not enough. The astute facility manager will want to monitor what he has invested in by tracking the position, battery, usage, efficiency and more of his machine fleet.
Wilson Selvaraj, Senior Vice President & Business Head – Industry and Manufacturing Segment, ISS Facility Services India Pvt Ltd writes about the many ways in which tracking cleaning machines can aid in facility management.
What are the advantages of employing robotic cleaning machines in FM?
Since these machines are largely AI-driven, you can track the cleaning efficiency in real time with a click of a button on your mobile or laptop. You can program these machines to send alerts about daily activities which gives you better predictability on the working hours, areas covered, consumption pattern etc. You can deduce the cleaning pattern over a period and program the equipment based on the area and requirement.
Most companies are offering both Capex and Opex with an affordable maintenance plan.
What are the parameters of a cleaning machine that are monitored by the tracking system?
The following parameters are monitored:
- Battery Life
- Battery levels (usage and charging time)
- Working hours and Idle time
- Areas cleaned
- Water consumption
- Fleet monitoring
What happens when a machine is moved beyond the designated area?
The system uses geofencing, which incorporates GPS technology to create virtual geographic boundaries, enabling the system to trigger a response when a machine leaves the designated area. The robots are designed to manage no-go zones in any premises they work in. In the event the robot enters a no-go zone, notifications go out to the on-ground supervisor via SMS and an email alert is sent out to the Facility Manager along with notifications on the dashboard.
“The battery levels of multiple machines become critical to assign tasks to each machine; tracking battery levels increases the chances of a clean floor at all times.”
Does the system record operational time and downtime of each machine? How is this helpful for facility managers?
Yes, it does. This helps in improving productivity and operational efficiency. One of the biggest pain points of facility managers is machine downtime due to service and maintenance. Cleaning as a function cannot stop; therefore additional machines are kept on site in case of exigency.
With robots, the health of the machine is evident on the dashboard to tell us:
- Operational Time
- Time for the next preventive maintenance
- Life of the different connected parts inside the machine (e.g battery)
How does monitoring battery levels of multiple machines in real-time optimise fleet performance?
By monitoring battery levels, we can understand the number of times intermittent charging is done (intermittent charging reduces life of machines). We can educate and train cleaning teams about the same and reduce downtime of machines. The battery levels of multiple machines become critical to assign tasks to each machine; tracking battery levels increases the chances of a clean floor at all times.
Can a tracking system help in on-time maintenance of machines?
Yes, the tracking system is designed to notify the original equipment manufacturer of the service and maintenance schedule of the machine. Preventive maintenance always helps. The data on machine crashes also helps in this respect.
Does this system alert you to negligent use of machines, if any?
Data on crashes, idle time, improper use, multiple use and negligent use of machines is loaded in the machine, and recorded by the system. This triggers two responses: Auto-stop with machine screen lock and notifications via SMS/Email to on-ground teams.
What are the different kinds of reports/analyses generated by the system? Do you get an analysis, or data points that you have to analyse yourself?
Data interpretation and analysis can be done further by the FM team. The system shares data as below:
- Cleaning time
- Battery usage and charging time
- Battery life (Thereʼs an onboard battery management system to monitor each cell inside the battery pack and the overall health of the pack)
- Area cleaned (In sq m and sq ft)
- Area not cleaned along with reasons for not cleaning
- Productivity of the machine over the week, month and year
- Water consumption
- Fleet monitoring
All reports (which can be customised to a certain extent) are available to give a coherent picture of the operations and therefore would not require further analysis. The dashboard is designed to work for multiple permutations and combinations needed by clients. CSV files can be shared if clients require the same.
Overall, how does such a tracking system help FM managers save on operational costs?
In the following ways:
- Lower downtime
- Better visibility
- Lower intermittent charging
- Consistent performance
- Manpower optimisation for different shifts
- Dynamic cleaning across different days (For e.g Deep cleaning on weekends, parking lot cleaning on Sundays)
- Reduction in electricity costs and water consumption