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Seeking Solutions Beyond Borders

Rajesh Shetty,
Managing Director, Real Estate Management Services, Colliers India

When it comes to facility management, especially cleaning, there is always a need for some additional features or solutions with equipment, chemicals, tools or even softwares for that matter. This is probably one of the main reasons for increased procurement of internationally available products. While Made in India is catching up, the need for all-comprehensive technologies remains a requirement.
Rajesh Shetty, Managing Director, Real Estate Management Services, Colliers India, explains what is being sought in day to day operations to deliver quality results and the challenges thereof.

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

The cleaning equipment manufacturing has come off age, and many innovative machines have started making their way into the Indian market for heavy-duty and quick time commercial purpose usage.

Besides advancements in the routinely used vacuum cleaners, high-powered heavy-duty equipment like pressure cleaners, sweepers and polishers are becoming popular for larger office parks. Pressure cleaning machines using high-powered steam help to get rid of stubborn stains & dirt, and are ideal for cleaning hard floors with heavy footfalls. These also help in degreasing commercial kitchens.

Industrial/commercial sweepers, with forceful rotatory sweeping head located underneath the front of the machine, operated and controlled by a driver with a state-of-the-art dashboard console displaying critical operating parameters & efficiency indices are used for cleaning widespread outdoor areas like the pavement outside a huge commercial place and abutting roads.

Heavy-duty carpet cleaners having the ability to remove stubborn stains from almost any carpet especially to remove hard to budge stains are available that eliminate the need to remove or replace the carpets.

Advanced sit-on or handheld scrubbers with longer operating hours are available to clean stubborn stains from hard floored regions, these are even used for the wood or marble flooring.

Newer sit-on adequately sized polishing machines are being developed easing the maneuvering and the overall cleaning operations. These machines are very effective in turning a stubborn dirty hard floor it a brand new one! These are becoming popular in larger universities campuses and hospitals largely owing to minimal cleaning time with the least noise pollution.

Various innovatively designed end fixtures are designed and attached to the commercial vacuum cleaners, which enables one to access and ensure unreachable areas are cleaned with ease.

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

The new age cleaning equipment though heavy-duty and designed to operate for longer, need to be delicately and, more importantly, professionally handled for a superior outcome. With heavy churn in the manpower and reduced cleaning time mandating quicker turnaround time between office break or their work schedules, machines score over manpower utilization, facilitating seamless & uninterrupted office space use.

The durability & longevity of scrubbers and polishers could be sustained by being observant to detect motor-related problems and immediately getting trained professionals to attend & fix the machine than stretching and subjecting the mechanical component of the machine to further wear & tear. The soil, hair or other sticky debris if allowed to accumulate than being cleaned on time, can rip apart the squeezes, either damaging it partly or fully then becoming uneven, which further adds load onto the cleaning equipment.

Operating the machine as per the OEM guidelines is strictly recommended. Regular checks of oil & lubrication also keep floor machines running smoothly. The noise level of the vacuum getting louder is an indication of moisture or a foreign object are inside the machine! Periodic check and changing of the bag in vacuum cleaners, and filter cleaning on regular basis will sustain optimum operations yielding a higher useful life of the equipment.

Post pandemic, soaring demands for hygiene standards whilst further enhancing the health & safety standards, a better organized colour-coded cleaning process of designating colours to clean equipment in certain areas of the office space, reducing cross contaminations, germ spread and retaining hygiene standards through the day is critical. The four standard colours used and to separate out areas such as public areas, kitchen & food preparation areas and washrooms, are red, blue, green and yellow.

The cleaning equipment colours are explanatory to their area of use. For example, you would not want to clean the floors of a kitchen with a mop that has been previously used to clean the bathroom floors. Such practices guarantee proper usage of equipment eliminating workforce omissions.

With the intervention of technology, data-driven tools that are based on the Internet of Things are fast emerging. The real-time information on a dashboard detailing the consumption status of dispensers of soaps and tissue papers, ensures replenishments of supplies guaranteeing hygiene standards.

Through IoT interface, smart touch-free dispensers track hygiene levels and toilet paper technology such as biologic active tissue paper prevents organic waste from clogging the plumbing systems.

Productivity tracking through new-age tools has translated to cost savings. Time tracking with GPS abilities provides insights into the work distribution patterns & various activity time consumptions. This provision when analyzed in more detail allows one to alter work schedules, team compositions and supply requirements. As an extension, these data further help an automatic generation of cost trends & invoices, with extended provision of giving one the payment gateway links to make payments.

From a sustainability perspective, concepts and green cleaning chemicals are emerging that conform to LEED-certified building requirements. Western countries have adopted quickly on the green cleaning concepts as that contributes to their ESG scores ensuring both legal compliances & brand visibility.

Lastly customer feedback also being tech-enabled the real-time updates warrant quicker turnaround time to sustain the customer satisfaction index. On the job staff training on chemicals and equipment practices employing the color-coding program assures higher hygiene and cleaning standards, reflecting favorably on an organization commitment.

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

The Indian operating environment does bring in its variations & adds further challenges to the otherwise ideal western operating environment. The users’ behavioral attributes and its treatment (precautionary or prevention measures) differ highly in the Indian condition. And hence, in some cases considerable tweaking in the operating parameters mainly on the protocol or hierarchy of the software needs intervention, to customize it to the local operating environment.

In essence, the western software is best suited for medium to larger offices or parks with predictable or defined operating environment i.e., user behaviors, following a set prescriptive protocol. Realizing this as an opportunity, and having good knowledge of the technology platform, and more importantly being entrepreneurial in nature, there have been many local innovations and customizations encouraging or demanding promotion of the locally developed softwares.

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

With investment being an imperative challenge, the innovations are getting constrained & entrepreneurs wanting to sustain their existence, end up focusing on a few select aspects of the entire gamut of FM services. Though there has been substantial development and emerging success stories around new tech products that credibly match western demands & standards as well, the overall solutioning or offer is still fragmented.

Overall, seamless integration of all such select aspects to form a single-window comprehensive platform or program, has remained a challenge in India. It’s about time for some establishments to play an aggregator’s role to invest in developing a strong compatible and robust single stop technology solution for the Indian FM Industry.

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