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If we were to say that people have become more aware about cleanliness after the Swachh Bharat movement, yes, they have. If we were to say outsourcing cleaning to professionals has increased, yes, to an extent. If we were to say, mechanized cleaning is now being readily accepted, well, not exactly… “Even today, the maid with a mop is much preferred to trained and uniformed cleaners,” says Vinod Nair, MD-Ocean Unicare Facilities Pvt. Ltd.
Ever since its inception in 2010, Ocean Unicare Facilities has been offering mechanized cleaning services to different sectors. “We are at present working in corporate offices, malls and education institutions, where we provide complete facility services,” states Vinod Nair.
However, even today the company is pursuing to get contracts in the banking sector. “We prefer to works with banks, mainly because we can ensure timely payment to our workers and make sure the ESIC requirements are met, unlike other private sectors, where payments are deferred.”
Cost is a determining factor when it comes to deciding on the kind of cleaning being opted for or when it comes to releasing payments. Elaborating on these points, Vinod says, “The maid is preferred even today because it is much cheaper. Clients are not interested in trained manpower, especially in these sectors. All that matters is that their place is getting cleaned regularly. This would be manual cleaning as they are not ready to pay for mechanized cleaning either.”
Even though the awareness for cleaning has increased, awareness of outsourcing, engaging trained professional and mechanized cleaning is yet to catch up.
Ocean Unicare Facilities is servicing in 23 sites with a workforce of 450 and is engaged in providing MEP and cleaning services. “Over the last six years, we have witnessed strategic changes in the approach to facility services, the kind of services offered, the education of staff and safety among others.
“The SLAs and SOPs or procedures and operations have evolved. Take training of staff, for example, there was no focus on training. Operators were hired locally and put on the job. We are focusing on training and grooming of the workers, including soft skills and behavioural & communication skills.
“We also take care of smaller details like compulsory identity cards which the workers have to wear all the time. The card not only carries information of the person but also the details of his blood group. This is as part of the safety measures that we have included in our practices. The roads today are not safe and when our boys are travelling to the site, they are at risk. The information on the id will at least ensure that they are getting immediate first aid.
“As for professional skills, we have a trainer who visits every site once a month and engages workers in use of machines and maintenance. This not only ensures proper use of machines but also cuts down on maintenance expenses.”
Ocean Unicare Facilities uses mostly Taski and Eureka Forbes cleaning products. Again cost plays a role in the choice of cleaning products. “Clients insist on using chemicals that are less expensive but are the best. We offer them an equally effective product, Klik from Rossari Biotech. We are servicing clients like Shoppers’ Stop, Blue Dart, Jabong, Central and others.
It is mainly housekeeping services that we do here but on sites like Radisson and other hotels, our staff are engaged for utility services in the F&B section. While, there is no specialised training in this category, we train them on personal hygiene and upkeep besides behavioural etiquettes.”
Most of the sites where Ocean Unicare Facilities is servicing are in Madhya Pradesh and it plans to explore Gujarat and Rajasthan in the next few years.