run out. They can also offer real-time functionality by monitoring at the touch of a button, which not only enhances a workplace management strategy but also from a customer perspective.

“Service companies can use apps to help with staff management and

monitor usage of dispensers so they need never run out.”

But investing in these technologies and managing them are two different things. How are hygiene companies or FM managers set up to manage this new technology? Many of the devices used are multi-platform, and as such are accessed via the web, iPad, or by using mobile iOS or Android apps. Does a contract cleaner have the skill set to use this technology effectively, or are they able to access sufficient training to enable them to now do their job? Does a service company have the resource in place to manage employees to ensure they utilise the digital tools they are given?

With an increase in tablet and mobile usage, and apps needing Wi-Fi connection, there are questions to be asked over whether an organisation’s internet or Wi-Fi is acceptable to do the job in hand. There are some simple

solutions to device management problems that can be overcome with the addition of products or management processes, which can actually increase productivity even further than just what is achieved by just using the actual technology. A device management programme is becoming (and now should be) an integral part of management plans.

For example, if you wanted to ensure tablet devices are fully charged and ready for use at all times (which can be particularly challenging when you have huge multiples of people all needing tablets to do their jobs) you could invest in a device charging station, which not only charges multiple devices simultaneously, but also syncs them. Investment in technology is expensive and means people want digital devices to be kept safe, especially when stored overnight. Not only does this solution help with the task in hand (charging iPads, Chromebooks etc.), but it also saves time and provides a security aspect as they can be locked away safely.

“80% of companies believe they deliver a superior customer experience, but only 8% of customers agree.”

With reams of legislation and codes of conduct, and recently with the introduction back in May of the new GDPR regulations, it has become even more imperative to ensure data is held and stored safely and securely in any sector. iPads are password protected, and along with similar tablets provide encryption of data on storage and transmission. This minimizes data leak and security violations. If stored overnight in a suitable tablet storage cart, which is properly locked and secure, the chance of theft is also reduced dramatically.

There is also an increasing focus on the world becoming sustainable and looking towards products and services that are environmentally friendly and green. Replacing paper with tablets can offer monetary savings of up to 10 times the purchasing costs of paper, through reducing the cost of storage, toner, printing, labour, postage and disposal. With 500 sheets of paper also using 6% of a tree, this also cuts down on the environmental impact.

Another option is a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) scheme, as more individuals are taking to their own devices, instead of using those provided by the company. Some organisations are therefore implementing these schemes, integrating these devices into the main IT infrastructure of the business, so as they can work from anywhere in a more streamlined manner.

The future in a world with technology is bright. But with an estimated 21 billion connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices in use by 2020, all industries, including that of the cleaning, hygiene and FM sector, need to put management processes in place to ensure that technology enhances their offering, rather than hinders it. FEATURE | 35

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