The word “innovation” is often feared, as it is perceived to be something futuristic and something that will replace our human abilities.
In his foreword in the ISS 2020 Vision Report on the Future of Service Management, Roy Osarogiagbon, Services Professional states “that people need services and they need the human connection that comes with it. The future of services is bright and contrary to common belief, advanced technology is not a burden, it will only complement and improve the service experience for the end-user and make us, the service professionals, more productive and less stressed.” [ISS 2020 Vision Future of Service Management White Book]
‘The word “innovation” is in part defined in Wikipedia, as a “new idea, device or method”. However, innovation is often also viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, unarticulated needs, or existing market needs. This is accomplished through more effective products, processes, services, technologies, or business models that are readily available to markets, governments and society”. [source – https://goo.gl/WBBzZG]
To those of us in the business of Facilities Management (FM), as with any other businesses, it is about achieving efficiencies and adopting best practices in our respective environment; and no more so is it expected than in the services industry. Innovation is important, as it forms part of the ‘tools of the trade’ as it were. It allows those who deliver excellent service to do so by exceeding expectations at minimal cost to the company’s bottom line and to the environment.
We have been going green for a long time, but the ecology of it is not always that simple and often times, expensive to the end-user. In the book “The Blue Economy” by Gunter Pauli (there are three editions); Pauli examines, among others, the business model in which society will shift to engage environmental issues in new ways. The book suggests that “we can alter the way in which we run our industrial processes and tackle resultant environmental problems, refocusing from the use of rare and high-energy cost resources to instead seek solutions based upon simpler and cleaner technologies”. [source – https://goo.gl/rQ1uoq]
Key life extending and cost cutting elements to consider, in benefitting society in the Facilities Management environment could for example include;
- Using bio-degradable chemicals that degrades within a short space of time and can be flushed down the normal water system.
- Eco-friendly machinery that utilises capacitators developed to use less electrical power or battery operated machinery, together with training programs designed to upskill colleagues on energy management.
- By exploring/testing superhydrophobic (water) and oleophobic (hydrocarbons) coating that offers enhanced corrosion protection while repelling water, saltwater, aqueous acids and oil-bases; and remains clean and virtually bacteria-free. The superhydrophobic coating keeps objects dry, while water and many other liquids are easily repelled. When dust, dirt or other molecules accumulate on a superhydrophobic coated surface, a light spray of water or a blast of air grabs the dust and removes it.
- Many products fail due to moisture, water, oil damage or simply getting too dirty for continued use. The use of superhydrophobic coating extends the life of electric motors by preventing the build-up of moisture on the windings, coat nuts and bolts, to prevent corrosion. This saves money, it improves safety and it creates a cleaner work environment.
- Technology-driven mops solve the problems of floor cleaning systems by combining the flexibility of a floor mop with the power and speed of industrial scrubber driers. They make it possible to clean any surface, with the freedom of movement and great ease of use – no borders or boundaries. The machine isn’t just designed for cleaning it is designed for the person using it.
- Job and colleague tracking, make it easier to drill down to a task level. Through the use of app-based systems that are geo fenced, it is possible to know the exact location of a colleague in a specific area of function. Another option, which is still in its testing phase, is to use the app to scan QR codes, which are strategically placed in the areas that are to be cleaned. The colleague will scan in the area when they arrive, complete the task and then scan out at the end of the function, however ad hoc, work can still be sent to the device when it is required.
Whilst innovation is the Holy Grail, on-site re-training is often cumbersome and burdensome to say the least, but as things change, training modules can be loaded onto tablets or smartphones, with the use of a virtual reality box.
Training can be done on-site and are site specific with all the necessary modules required for the designated tasks. Once the training has been concluded, it can be approved and signed off on the App. Reports are generated for colleagues that have completed the required training.
The operations manager can submit certificates via email to the specific contract managers for distribution to the trained colleagues. This innovative method of training eliminates misplaced paper work, is highly practical and reports are generated immediately, shortening turnaround times drastically. Reports are also submitted to the client for their records and proof of administered training. Cleaning colleagues that perform well are identified as possible leaders by the operations managers, as well as the client, and are entered into supervisory programs.
Innovation is a key driving point for all businesses and no more so, than in the FM industry, to set your company apart from others. Innovation and technological changes have a greater impact on our carbon footprint. It also helps the economy to save energy and water preservation, thus adding value to each and every client in the best way possible.