BSCs can prove invaluable to facility managers trying to take their operations to the next level via IoT technology. It makes good business sense for them as well, since staying abreast of the latest technology is essential for maintaining their competitive advantage over other service providers.

“A BSC should be bringing innovation and best practices to their client base in an effort to gain efficiency, cost-savings and better outcomes, and as a vested partner, should fully engage in the planning, decision-making and installation process,” says Grawert.

This comprehensive role doesn’t stop once the IoT system goes live. For example, ABM had ongoing meetings with restroom staff, some of whom needed additional help becoming comfortable with the app, says Smith. 

Once this was accomplished, the BSC held contests between the attendants to see who was able to clear their alerts for their specific restrooms in the shortest average time, with monthly winners receiving gift cards.

BSCs must also be ready to address the concerns expressed by facility managers, such as costs and ROI.

“There’s an initial [outlay] for sensors that aren’t usually associated with traditional restroom cleaning programs,” says Gallo. “Proving the value of improved client satisfaction and/or a measurable ROI can be challenging as every facility is different. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, sometimes even in the same facility.”

Grawert agrees facility managers are frequently hesitant about costs related to IoT deployments, but says he’s never found where they haven’t been able to offset costs specific to the janitorial industry via gains in efficiencies and reductions in product waste — although he says much of this is regionally influenced, for example, because of collective bargaining agreements, wage rates and other factors. Still, restroom IoT technology will typically result in a 12 percent savings on waste related to toilet tissue, paper towels and batteries.

The move towards IoT-enabled restrooms will only accelerate as more and more facilities adopt the technology, says Grawert, something he sees happening quickly as the cost-savings and improved client outcomes become widely known. 

“IoT technology empowers facility managers to change the game when it comes to their restrooms, turning them from source of user complaints to a source of user delight,” says Smith. “It’s truly transformative technology.”

As more facility executives embrace IoT technology, BSCs should become knowledgeable about these systems, their capabilities, costs, maintenance required and operational ease, in order to prescribe the right fit for the facility’s needs. They should also be prepared to monitor the solution to see if it’s achieving the client’s goals.

Smith encourages facility managers and BSCs to climb aboard. 

Pamela Mills-Senn is a freelancer based in Long Beach, California. 

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