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The unique challenges and solutions

Angad Rajain, Global CSO and IFM Head, Tenon Group, provides a bird’s eye view of the wide scope of airport FM, and a glimpse into a successful project.

100% uptime: Airports function round the clock; managing absenteeism becomes the most challenging task. Flight schedules may change daily; this necessitates the continuous rotation of housekeeping staff to ensure that the region with the highest footfall is managed efficiently at all times.

Employee productivity: This matters in the industry we operate. In the wake of the pandemic, there is an additional cleaning load on housekeeping staff, to cover large areas in the least possible time.

Technology implementation: Counting sensors in the washrooms help us understand the frequency of cleaning required against the footfall. Supervisors and housekeeping staff need to be trained on our tech-enabled solutions.

Data analysis for key area identification: Footfall data is especially important around the terminals, building entrances and boarding gates. These data points are utilised to analyse which areas require more attention and robotic cleaning to enhance efficiency.

Passenger forecasting: The dynamic Covid situation has made flight schedules and routes erratic to some extent. Constantly changing cleaning regimes based on passenger flow further affects facility maintenance operations.

Boosting performance with technology: Our rich data combined with IoT technology can shift planned maintenance towards predictive, proactive maintenance, reducing risk, predicting possible failures and ensuring uptime.

Implementing IoT-based cleaning: We have implemented green checklist automation using IoT that optimises cleaning efficiency due to its evidence-based tracking methodology. It also tracks utilisation of cleaning consumables, thereby optimising their refilling and restocking.

Real-time alerts allow for full supply utilisation by eliminating early roll changes and reducing unnecessary trips to remote restrooms. The best part? The simple 30-second installation can be handled by the same cleaning staff. With smart cleaning, airports can save up to 35% on supplies.

Optimising costs: Enhanced cleaning and disinfection associated with the pandemic come with a significant cost attached. We have focused on increasing labour productivity by resource allocation and reallocation. We have been contemplating on optimising facility operations through the introduction of cleaning robots or auto scrubbers.

Autonomous cleaning machines and robots: They enable the housekeeping staff to focus on high-value tasks such as detailed cleaning of railings or food service areas. Cleaning machines and robots are easy to deploy in high-traffic areas and offer good ROI. They come with Big Data and AI, giving deeper insights into cleaning performance with cloud-based dashboards.

Tier I vs Tier II city scenario: Tier I cities require a superior level of cleaning, done with the help of advanced machines. In Tier II airports, we are yet to see the appetite to absorb the cost of robotic cleaning processes; manual cleaning is the norm, combined with tech-enabled monitoring. This will evolve into the Tier I approach in the near future. Tier II cities need a different approach than Tier I cities because of cost sensitivity and scope of services required. We have a set of parameters that govern our SOPs for each airport facility, and have a customised approach.

Sustainability: Implementing a green cleaning policy requires SOPs such as a fully approved and audited green cleaning regime and policy, and acquiring eco-friendly products including chemicals, garbage bags, machinery and hygiene products.

Hygiene stewards: They carry out Quality Assurance through frequent checks and technology-based testing, and promote practices to ‘nudge’ and guide passengers, e.g, remind them to wash and sanitise their hands, ensure they maintain social distancing etc.

QR code-based complaint redressal: QR codes are pasted in every important area, especially washroom areas/passengers areas, which can be scanned to raise a complaint. These complaints go to the help desk management system, and appropriate action for closure is taken by coordinating with the ground team.

Case study: Indira Gandhi International Airport

Tenon employs more than 650 people at this site. Our plan is to embrace and adapt the four aspects of cleaning quality – technical, functional, aesthetic and process quality, in order to deliver world class safety required at airports.

The deep cleaning schedule requires coordination between the cleaning staff, supervisors, admin team and operations staff to understand the distribution of flights in the different sectors of the airport in order to avoid any passenger finding a closed washroom. We have invested in additional housekeeping and sanitisation crews to clean and disinfect high-touch areas, and procured new cleaning technology such as misters and electrostatic sprayers.

We have also aligned our cleaning schedules with the flight schedules so that our work doesn’t affect the passenger movement in any possible way.

Footfall data is especially important around the terminals, building entrances and boarding gates. These data points are utilised to analyse which areas require more attention and robotic cleaning to enhance efficiency.

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