While housekeeping and technical services in public infrastructure spaces like airports is known to be a high frequency and tedious task, the integration of technology tools has played an integral role in increasing efficiencies and transparency with set processes, writes Pradeep Lala, MD & CEO, Embassy Services Pvt Ltd (ESPL).
Gone are the days where an abundance of paper and time was used for collating data and reporting it for further procedures. With the new digital ecosystem of unified dashboards bolstered by IoT and Cloud technology, the role of managing large facilities like airports has moved toward a data-centric and analysis-based practice. A plethora of tools can be assessed at a macro level, with more subdivisions to provide specific data.
Inventory management tools
A key aspect of facility management is planning. In order to do so, keeping track of the inventory with broad elements like diesel, sanitisers, PPEs, cleaning chemicals, dusting cloths etc. is extremely crucial for smooth FM operations. At ESPL, we have developed a highly detailed inventory management tool that enables real-time tracking of our inventory.
Let’s take diesel for example: we procure this in extremely large amounts, and it passes through a series of channels before it gets filled in the Diesel Generators (DGs). This huge and long supply chain comes with the challenge of tracking spillage and actual consumption.
By using sensors and IoT devices, we can now track the exact route map of the diesel and even analyse where we might have had some spillage, if any. This makes the maintenance of technical assets like DGs extremely efficient, as we can benchmark precise outputs and further study where we might be losing out.
Workforce management tools
A common challenge with managing cleaning and housekeeping personnel is the inability to monitor and track the completion of their checklists and duties. To overcome this issue, we have integrated a workforce management tool called Beacons Workforce Management. This tool completely digitises and automates the housekeeping process using Near Field Communication (NFC) and Bluetooth devices.
Upon entry to his designated area, a janitor will automatically receive a checklist and will have to upload visual proof upon task completion. This brings in great transparency and efficiency to the system, as we can now provide data on hands-on tasks such as cleaning and enable a very transparent system for auditing. Since everything is integrated to the Cloud, administrators can conduct real-time checks on their facilities from anywhere across the globe.
A common sight in traditional facility management is taking down readings of equipment performance. These readings are extremely critical as it gives data required for billing, helps understand the health condition of the equipment, and provides the basis for maintenance schedules. With our digital logbook, the entire process is digitised.
The technician only has to scan his NFC tag with the sensors placed near the machine and the data automatically gets uploaded to the Cloud, and the supporting departments can pursue their tasks with this data. Apart from obviating the use of paper and allowing for remote maintenance of technical assets, it also provides 100% accurate data which is usually not the case when it comes to manual entry.
Smart Restroom Management
IoT and Cloud technology offer massive improvements in the way we manage restrooms. Since these are usually high traffic spots and require constant and immediate interventions, using technology has allowed us to foster a predictive and preventive approach to restroom management.
Right from tracking dust bin capacity levels and the indoor air quality of the restroom to occupancy rates and inventory levels of basic consumables like tissue and soaps, a set of tools makes the information available on a real-time basis, so that facility managers can easily manage restrooms with high traffic.
We are actively researching the latest technologies in this field, as it’s a long-term investment which is often high in value. One such innovation is the ability to convert regular sweeping/mopping machines to smart machines, using just an additional part. This is going to be a gamechanger for the industry and will transform the way FM is pursued in a digital ecosystem.