The No. 1 tenant complaint stems somewhere between the walls of the restroom. Having IoT-equipped devices in one’s cleaning supply arsenal to alleviate those grievances offers a powerful value-add for distributors, says Chris Johnson, director of sales and customer success at GP PRO, Atlanta. 

The building management industry is dealing with new challenges related to densification in the office space, says Johnson. Companies are moving away from traditional areas in favor of collaborative workspaces, and have twice as many people on floors as before — which means twice as much traffic in the restroom. 

“Buildings want to offer employees the best experience, and custodial teams have persistently struggled with complaints and outages,” including soap and tissue supplies running out, says Johnson. “And when it does, it causes a real headache for the site. All of a sudden, distributors get this data and analytics that can help them truly understand the challenges their customers face and can offer customized guidance. It gives them eyes into the restroom.”  

For distributors’ customers, the data provided by sensor-enabled soap and tissue dispensers also provides an opportunity to review usage trends and optimize cleaning operations. It’s the next iteration of data-driven cleaning, say manufacturers. 

First, real-time alerts remove the incentivization for cleaners to restock products ahead of schedule, says Mowbray. 

“Typically, a [janitor] is driven to satisfaction,” to avoid restroom complaints, he says. “They are incentivized to pull it out at 30, 50 percent. They are going to check each dispenser, unlock the key, and change that out because they won’t be back for five hours.”

Second, by only focusing on the devices that need changing out, janitors can shift their focus from more tedious cleaning tasks to highly focused ones. 

“By doing what is exactly needed, when and where it’s needed, eliminating unnecessary cleaning tasks and allocating staff to where and when they are needed, companies using [IoT enabled devices] can save time and effort,” says Anna Konigson Koopmans, marketing manager for new business concepts at Essity Professional Hygiene North America LLC, Philadelphia. “The freed up time can be used for additional, and more thorough, cleaning, increasing the quality of services provided.” 

Manufacturers say the technology may save as much as 20 percent in cleaning hours, and fewer cleaning rounds, overall — resulting in significant reductions in consumable waste. 

“With [IoT], you can reduce up to 75 percent of complaints and work orders,” says Mowbray. “If you’re reducing consumable waste, you’re increasing sustainability in your facility — and keeping tenants happier at the same time.”  


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