For years the cleaning industry has been characterized by heavy competition. In the battle for new customers profit margins became increasingly smaller. How can you make the difference now? By offering efficiency and transparency. Dirk Tuip, CEO of FacilityApps in Purmerend, explains these topics in an interview in OSB Cleaning Magazine.
Dirk Tuip knows the cleaning industry very well. He once started a holiday job as a cleaner at Succes in Volendam and subsequently gained wide experience with calculation, tenders, marketing and commerce. More than five years ago, he started working with two partners, tailor-made software company FacilityApps. The focus was originally on the development of an app for cleaning company Succes. But other companies also showed interest. FacilityApps now works for cleaning companies, green management and facility management. FacilityApps is one of the market leaders in the cleaning and green management sectors.
Digitize cleaning processes
Entrepreneurship identifies opportunities and responds to them. Dirk and his colleagues saw opportunities in the digitization of cleaning processes. ‘Digitization was already deployed worldwide. We saw that this would take a decent flight through the use of tablets and smartphones. So we jumped on to this business.. We noticed that a huge paper shop was created in the cleaning department, particularly at managerial level, in order to meet all kinds of quality requirements. They work with time sheets, schedules, logbooks, DKS forms, reports and so on. All these documents and forms are physically stored somewhere and managers can not consult them at any time. By making all processes digital, you have less hassle and you save a lot of extra time. At a managerial level, the time saving is as high as 15%.
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Clients in cleaning and facility want transparency
But the most important advantage is transparency. The cleaning company’s customer wants to know what happens, when and by whom. Those requirements to be informed have become increasingly difficult and in digital tenders digital reporting is now a fixed chapter. This is really alive in the industry and the Netherlands is leading the way. There is still a lot to be gained on efficiency. Cleaning remains human work and 80% of the costs are personnel costs. Through the app we developed, managers can always view all relevant data in real-time and coach and manage cleaning staff remotely. They therefore have to be present on the work floor less often. The lines become shorter, also towards the customers. If, for example, a specific Critical Performance Indicator is not met, or there is a complaint, the supervisor can immediately respond to it. The entire process of complaint handling can also be recorded and monitored in the app. ‘
Mobile Workforce Management
To make the most of the advantages of the cleaning app, it is important that the cleaners also have a smartphone with the app. They can then check in and out, view tasks and guidelines, indicate that stock needs to be replenished, etcetera. But that is not yet common practice. For the time being only the cleaning companies in the front line dare to do this. What prevents the other companies from implementing this method? Dirk Tuip: ‘Of course there are also disadvantages. Consider the costs of purchasing and maintaining smartphones and tablets. How do you manage the issue from intake, especially with the different employees that cleaning companies have? How do you deal with private use during work and the costs for internet data? We can unburden companies with mobile remote management, where you determine for each employee which functions a person can and can not use. This happens more and more. We maintain close contact with customers to hear what they are encountering. That way we keep improving the app and to offer new solutions. ‘
Revolution or not?
Whether the revolution of the mobile as a tool and innovation for cleaners continues, is still the question. Especially the smaller companies can switch quickly, Dirk notes. ‘The lines will be much shorter and the investment in the app will be quickly earned back because the cleaning company can show its distinctive power compared to competitors. We prepare the system, take care of the implementation and offer support. After an instruction of half an hour, end users can already work with it. Companies that take that right, win customers. The app is always tailor-made and the customer only pays for the functionalities he uses. “Dirk Tuip believes that the cleaning industry will continue to experience other developments:” I expect a revolution in “internet of things” that has everything to do with it with smart sensors and other methods of data collection. A sensor that indicates when a garbage container is full or how often the toilet is visited. This is going to have a big impact on daily cleaning. ‘