We all know the amazing technology advances that are happening across every aspect of our lives.
For facility teams and commercial cleaning companies, the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices are facilitating major shifts in how teams and businesses can operate and prosper.
Mobile work forces are easily connected on inexpensive platforms that can capture data for service improvements, analysis and customer retention.
The convergence — smartphone or tablet syncs to the cloud and stores data — is driving down technology costs.
Data is, and continues to become, much cheaper to gather, store and ultimately reuse for the purpose of improving your operation and your customers' experience.
Communications options are also inexpensive, both the devices and the variety of connectivity plans, and some like Wi-Fi are even free.
This significant shift allows any contractor, regardless of size, to compete more effectively, improve operational delivery, enhance the employee experience and meet the needs of the most demanding customers.
Effective selling is at the heart of any well-run company, and with cloud and mobile platforms, sale teams are now in a position to compete more effectively and win more business.
The days of the big guys having service advantages due to technology are gone.
Sales departments can manage their pipeline in the cloud, track activities, complete a walk-through while capturing building specifications and client needs on a tablet, sync the tablet to the cloud and turn it all into a customized bid.
Customers will see the value; buildings specification data is captured at the point of bid and available for future use.
Cost and pricing is calculated using data from prior workloading and cost standards.
For operational improvements, inexpensive communication platforms allow tracking of resources across all cost centers.
Tablets can be used to count and order supplies, check equipment statuses and maintenance history and inspect facility quality.
Time card entry can be accomplished on mobile phones with GPS tracking or using a facility kiosk or a tablet; time card entry can be very inexpensive when leveraging the Internet.
Gathering and storing this data will facilitate budget analysis for existing and future jobs.
In additional to operational advantages, your customers will reap the benefits of improved customer service and with more transparency.
Providing customers data on their facility can change your role from vendor to consultant.
Presenting supply usage reports, budget to actual productions rates, etc., allows them to make decisions going forward.
As cloud and mobile platforms evolve, many opportunities exist to benefit the industry by driving down costs to improve margins while enhancing the customer experience.
As an example, an area that is just beginning to heat up is communicating tasks and service corrections directly to the cleaning crew.
By doing so, we can reduce the cost of supervision — not replace, but reduce.
Supervisors managing 10 facilities, as an example, can manage 20 facilities by efficiently communicating to their crew without walking the building and pointing out corrections or explaining work order requirements.
This cost savings opportunity requires a solid service process and management commitment.
There are often obstacles with communicating directly to cleaning staff: Language and devices.
No company wants to spend the money on smartphones and data plans for their entire staff.
Even if we could, in many cases our staff may have difficulty using the device or reading the instructions in English.
The good news is most employees have a cell phone and software can be developed leveraging translation services.
With built-in text messaging and translation services, management can send daily instructions to teams or individuals.
In addition, if the facility warrants, a kiosk with a wireless network connection can be installed and used to communicate to team members in their language.
This technology provides several cost saving functions including time keeping, service correction requirements and work order instructions.
The data is assigned to crew members on the cloud platform, translated to their language when they log in and closed out when they have completed the assignment.
The data is then stored for future reference.
As a side benefit, employee skills are being upgraded with the introduction and use of technology.
They are more productive, no longer spending their time interpreting instructions and the mood of their boss.
With today’s low-cost technology, companies of all sizes can significantly enhance their business processes and have tangible impact on costs and margin control.
All aspects of your business can easily leverage cloud and mobile tools.
In a crowded marketplace, differentiating your company with smart, low-cost technology has never been more readily available and easy to get up and running.