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Many would argue that we are currently living in an age where technology rules; it has already transformed our

lives in countless ways, and there’s no doubt that it will continue to do so. It has affected and enhanced many areas – from medicine, to transport, to entertainment, and much more – and it has also contributed greatly to the development of the contract cleaning industry.

Despite performing such an essential service to society, cleaning still gets a relatively bad press. Those that unfairly regard it as menial and fi rmly rooted in the past would get quite a shock if they took their blinkers off and actually spent some time with the forward-thinking cleaning companies of today.

While the robots haven’t taken over – we are still unashamedly a people business – technological advances

I think it’s quite clear that we are an early adopter of technology. The industry fi rst started to embrace it certainly several

years ago with the use of PDAs, but since then, it has grown considerably with the use of facilities software.

Clients expect technology to be used throughout company workings; they expect it onsite to monitor areas on a daily basis, and they expect to be able to access it wherever and whenever they feel necessary. Clients want to see progression, and here at Principle Cleaning Services, we’ve taken that on board by using the dashboard facility, which monitors specifi c areas of a building so that a client can physically see what areas are being cleaned, or need cleaning, the cleaner speed, and so on.

There is a risk, though, of this going too far. We must never forget that our business is still about people, about people who work


are helping to improve service delivery, motivate staff and achieve better results. A good example of this is the cleaning software section of the industry, something that has emerged over recent years to create its own niche. Smartphones and tablets, featuring tailored cleaning management apps, are helping companies streamline their processes, manage their time more effi ciently, and give clients greater transparency when it comes to monitoring progress at multiple sites.

Then there are advances in the design and manufacture of cleaning equipment and products. Technology is helping manufacturers to produce machines and tools that need less water, energy or chemicals to clean, while also allowing operatives to clean more quickly and effi ciently, tackling a greater number of hard to reach areas with ease. Ergonomics and human factors are also playing their part, contributing to the production of cleaning equipment that puts less stress and strain on the

very hard every day, putting in the elbow-grease hour by hour. While technology may be a fantastic aid, we must always put staff at the top of the list as our main priority.

In the old days, there were a lot of clipboards, a lot of paperwork, a lot of loose sheets of transfer paper in order to make multiple copies for clients of receipts and contracts – if I may say so, it was a pretty foolproof process, but I certainly think that it’s a good thing we’ve progressed, if for no other reason than it is what the client wants! However, the one area it has proved to be an invaluable tool is in the area of training.

We can fi nally do away with the need for many people to congregate in one area – all the training materials can be downloaded and made available at any time, no matter where you are, as long as you have a device to view it on (which most people do). This has been particularly useful for colour- coding and good health and safety practice too, given that large amounts of information and regulations which

This month we ask... Is an early adopter when

body, enhancing the well-being of the cleaning workforce.

I see the cleaning industry as one of the best examples of the marriage between tradition and technology. It continues to uphold the ‘traditional’ values of providing exemplary customer service in its truest sense, but also embraces new ideas and technology to enable it to carry on doing so. Who knows what the next few years will bring?

Ceris Burns Managing Director, Ceris Burns International

may seem daunting at fi rst, can be accessed regularly and continually, making excellent references and support for our staff.

Ultimately for me, our major asset is still the people – we must never forget that we are a people driven industry, so if technology helps them, it helps us.

Douglas Cooke, Co-Founder of Principle Cleaning Services

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