When it comes to servicing restrooms, checking dispenser levels is a time-consuming job. Furthermore, an estimated 90 percent of dispensers are checked unnecessarily. Factor in the time it takes to check each dispenser — an estimated 30 seconds — and the task adds up to wasted time that could be spent on more important cleaning matters.

Fortunately, internet-enabled dispensers can help end users address this problem by eliminating unnecessary dispenser checks and — at the same time — optimizing the custodian’s workflow.

“Historically, cleaners service buildings by starting from the top and working their way down, or starting at the bottom and working their way up,” says Shavonne Williams, senior brand manager for Smart Solutions, Kimberly-Clark Professional. “They may do that up to three times a day, opening every dispenser on their route to see if it needs refilling.”

According to Williams, the company’s smart restroom solution allows janitors to access dispenser status information on their mobile phones, taking the guesswork out of which ones need servicing. They can then use this data to map out a more efficient route — and use the time saved to address high-touch points or value-added services.

In addition to eliminating wasted time, data collected from IoT dispensers can be used to eliminate product waste.

“Traditionally, when frontline workers open a dispenser and find a roll that’s 40 percent or 50 percent full, they have to make a gut decision: ‘Should I replace it now or wait and risk the product running out before I have a chance to come back?’” says Williams. “More often than not, that half-empty roll is discarded and a new one put in its place to avoid complaints from high-profile tenants.”

With the smart restroom system, distributors can work with operators to customize product thresholds and notify janitors when the dispenser’s level is low by their own standards.

“The system can be set to alert the custodian at different percentages,” Williams explains. “For example, when 10 percent of the product is left, the system will send out an alert. So not only are end users getting better utilization of the product and reducing waste, but they’re saving money.”

In addition to monitoring dispenser levels, IoT technology can save customers time and effort that traditionally has been spent diagnosing dispenser problems. “The system will let you know if someone put sanitizer in instead of soap or if the pump house isn’t working,” says Bertram. “It takes the guesswork and maintenance time out of the equation so janitors don’t spend 30 minutes trying to figure out what’s wrong with the dispenser.”

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