Case Study: Re-Deploying Staff Labor Through Robotic Floor Machines
The communities of Frederick County, Maryland, have grown and thrived over the past 25 years. As the area’s leading healthcare provider, Frederick Health has been continually expanding to keep pace with the needs of this burgeoning area. The health system’s flagship facility, Frederick Health Hospital, recently underwent significant renovations — a strategic improvement to help Frederick Health fulfill its mission of creating a simply better healthcare experience and positively impact the well-being of the communities they serve.
Don Moody, environmental services (EHS) director at Frederick Health Hospital, noted that his team had been experiencing challenges with their owned fleet of older manual floor scrubbers. These older machines struggled to deal with obstacles within the hospital, left behind significant water after cleaning, presenting slip-and-fall risks, and required high maintenance and repair costs just to keep them in a usable state.
Moody, as a forward-thinking EHS Director, recognized that the hospital renovations presented the perfect time to upgrade their floor cleaning program. Michael McLane, Frederick Health vice president of Support Services, wanted to ensure that the new and improved hospital spaces remain clean, safe, and looking their very best — and Moody says they were already onboard with investing in innovative technology to enhance their facility cleaning program.
As a self-described early adopter, Moody says he’s always seeking to leverage new technologies. ”I’ve been closely watching the advancement of robotic floor scrubbing machines for several years, seeing them in action at local businesses and reading about them in industry publications. I was looking for ways to improve our operations — and to fit with our brand reputation here at Frederick Health,” he says. Moody had even earmarked capital for cleaning equipment upgrades, “But I was waiting for the right time and the right equipment,” he explains.
“The cleaning crew is able to spend more time on other things — disinfecting rooms, patient engagement, cleaning bathrooms more frequently, moving furniture and actually taking a break once in a while — all while the robot is still cleaning the floor.”
Moody went to Greg Andia, his long-time Tennant commercial manager, for advice on selecting the right robotic floor scrubber for the hospital. After giving Moody a basic overview of the Tennant T7AMR robotic scrubber, “Don was immediately confident in the Tennant technology,” says Andia. Moody knew it was the right time to invest in a robotic floor cleaning program, “and he fully trusted Tennant’s reputation for innovation and quality,” says Andia.
A comprehensive T7AMR product demo only cemented that confident first impression. Moody, along with his Assistant EHS Director, Michael Dowdell, and a few other members of the EHS team, were in awe of the sophisticated robotics technology — from the intuitive BrainOS software to the real-time alerts and notifications. Complete with automatic updates for continuous improvement. “We were just as blown away by how well the machine cleaned,” says Moody. They watched as the T7AMR picked up nearly 100 percent of the water and naturally navigated around obstacles and people with ease. The unique ability to run in both autonomous and manual mode was a major differentiator from other manufacturers, allowing staff to manually operate the machines in particularly difficult areas. “It’s like two machines in one,” says Moody.
Following the demo, Moody said he was easily able to get buy-in from hospital leadership. “They saw that I was convinced, and they understood how the innovative technology fit with the Frederick Health brand,” explains Moody. The Frederick Health EHS team worked closely with Tennant’s dedicated deployment and service support teams to bring the robotic cleaning technology to life within the hospital. “Greg was great with training our operators and helping us understand the daily usage reports,” says Moody.
Immediately Surpassing Expectations
Moody says the Tennant T7AMR machine immediately met — and frequently surpassed — their expectations. “This machine has the best water pick up I’ve seen in my 30+ years in the business,” says Moody, “The machine is also much quieter than the average scrubber, so it’s a good fit in the healthcare setting.” The EVS team is currently cleaning an average of 20,000 square feet of floor space every day using the robotic floor scrubber. Most of this floor cleaning is done in the machine’s autonomous mode, “Being able to run in both autonomous and manual mode has been key,” says Moody. This enables the EVS team to clean more floor space and get more value out of this versatile equipment.
Doing More With Less – Effectively Re-Deploying Labor
The robotic floor scrubber allows the Frederick Health Hospital EHS team to accomplish more tasks with less effort. “The cleaning crew is able to spend more time on other things — disinfecting rooms, patient engagement, cleaning bathrooms more frequently, moving furniture and actually taking a break once in a while — all while the robot is still cleaning the floor,” says Moody, “Maintaining such a clean environment while also reassigning labor has been a huge win for both Frederick Health and the community we serve every day.”
Protecting Staff & Patients
The health and safety benefits delivered by the robotic floor scrubber go beyond ensuring a foundation of clean, safe floors. During the COVID-19 pandemic, deploying the T7AMR robotic scrubber has minimized exposure risk that would normally be involved in manual operation. Plus, the machine is providing a better, more consistent clean.
A Badge of Honor
Moody jokingly notes that they’ve put signs on the robotic scrubber, so patients, visitors and staff know it’s not a “runaway machine.” But he says staff throughout the hospital have quickly recognized the value of this innovative technology. “My employees are proud of the robot - they see it as a badge of honor,” says Moody. After just a few months with the robotic scrubber, Moody already sees a powerful return on the investment in this innovative Tennant technology: “It’s adding value back to the hospital - value in cleaning performance and value in the relationship with patients and staff.”