Some of the benefits realized through installing IoT-equipped dispensers are obvious, such as better use and deployment of personnel.

“This information allows managers to create smarter, more efficient staffing schedules that implement needs-based cleaning routines and just-in-time supply ordering,” says Baynum. “Time is the new currency and by prioritizing tasks based on real-time needs, managers can eliminate redundancy, allowing time for more critical cleaning needs.”

Also helping to optimize resources is the ability to pinpoint what dispensers need tending to, which represents a significant time-saving advantage for large facilities, since this affords the ability to check on only those needing attention, rather than having to check on every single dispenser in a building whether they needed checking or not, says Robitzkat. 

Checking the analytics provided by IoT-equipped dispensers also help rein in consumable costs and improve inventory management, says Bertram. This is especially the case when janitors use the refill data.

“Many times the service staff would replace a refill with product remaining to avoid either an outage or complaint,” says Bertram. “With the predictive refill dates, the staff only needs to replace the refill when actually needed. Having this precise data also enables BSCs to right-size consumable inventory levels, opening up cash flow that may have been previously tied to higher levels of inventory.”

Having greater insight and visibility to product usage also enables BSCs to “take advantage of bulk-ordering discounts, while helping to avoid overstocking and overfilling storage space,” says Baynum.

Right-sizing of inventory isn’t the only operational aspect this technology can improve. As Bertram points out, service schedules can also be right-sized, leading to higher customer satisfaction, fewer complaints and better client retention. 

Then there are those benefits that at first blush may not seem so obvious. For example, says Robitzkat, the use of IoT-equipped soap/sanitizer dispensers can expose useful information about hand hygiene — especially important to those environments where food is being handled. In this kind of setting, a requirement might be in place mandating that a certain number of team members wash their hands a specified number of times per shift. The data will indicate if this is actually taking place and could reveal where more training is needed to bring food handlers into compliance.

IoT dispensers and the traffic data they generate can also assist in reducing pilfering, says Baynum, recalling a specific case where employee theft was uncovered.

“A manager could see how a facility employee had been taking multifold towels from the dispensers, as the dispensers would be refilled on a Friday afternoon and would suddenly be empty the following Monday morning without any indication of an uptick in restroom usage,” says Baynum. “Thanks to traffic monitoring, the problem was quickly resolved. This saved that facility manager both hassle and headaches as he/she wasn’t over-ordering supplies needlessly and distributing staff to refill supplies without cause.”

Finally, IoT dispensers not only help create happier facility clients and tenants, this technology can also lead to higher satisfaction among cleaning crews, since as Baynum says, they feel more “empowered” knowing that every trip they make is “purpose-driven” and that they’re not spending time monitoring dispensers that don’t need servicing, in many cases rushing to do so. 

Internet of Things technology enables BSCs and their staff to work smarter not harder, says Baynum, delivering “a positive visitor experience that is mindful of their budgets and staffing priorities.” 

Pamela Mills-Senn is a freelance writer based in Long Beach, California. She is a frequent contributor to Contracting Profits. 

previous page of this article:
Data Generation Helps Track Towel, Soap Supply