A changing relationship

02 July 2019

Digital innovation is not the scary prospect many in the industry first feared, but a tool to harness and enrich working lives. Jangro CEO, Joanne Gilliard, explores the changing relationship between technology and the cleaning workforce.

The relationship between digital innovation and the commercial cleaning workforce had a tumultuous start. When technology first made its presence felt in the industry, many were fearful for their jobs and were untrusting of the ‘robots and machines’ that might usurp them. When it was apparent that technology was here to stay, workers relinquished their technophobic reservations and embraced it. 

It is for this reason, perhaps, that our sector was slower on the uptake than most others, but despite this, it has changed the cleaning industry in a multitude of ways. Adoption is now rapid given the cost and efficiency benefits delivered, and those that don’t invest risk getting left behind. After all, high-tech equipment, innovative software and ‘Internet of Things’ technology (IoT – the concept of connecting everyday devices to the Internet to allow better control and automation) are all becoming increasingly more affordable for commercial cleaning companies to implement. 

This is revolutionising the way that cleaning services are delivered, improving performance and productivity. State of the art machinery and clever software are helping staff to work more effectively, making tough jobs easier and saving valuable time. Once seen as a threat, operatives would now struggle to function without technology’s helping hand. Working in partnership, they deliver a better service to the client. However, it is still the human in charge, making the decisions, and, ultimately, ‘pressing the button’.

And it’s not just the technology on the front line that is changing the industry. Operatives’ lives are also being enhanced through online training. Fully interactive, engaging e-learning software, such as Jangro’s award-winning Learning Management Solution (LMS), is optimised on all types of devices, making training easily accessible to all of its customers at no additional cost. What’s more the LMS offers a vast range of courses, such as COSHH, Health & Safety, Colour Coding and Infection Control, Washroom Hygiene, and many more. The modules have varying lengths, and because they are all online, staff are able to train remotely and flexibly, at times that suit them.

Looking to the future

The next big thing we’ll see in the industry is the widespread adoption of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) for training, development, maintenance and planning. In fact, leading companies in the field have already launched VR tools, which really bring innovation to life! 

Jangro has recently introduced its first ever VR platform, which aims to help customers from a planning and training perspective. This innovative tool allows users to view seven virtual ‘worlds’, consisting of a corridor, kitchen, reception, office, bar/restaurant area, washroom, and changing rooms. The technology, which sits within Jangro’s LMS site, enables the customer to see what products are required and how to clean that particular area. It also links to all relevant digital resources, including COSHH risk assessments, product usage guides, safety data sheets and relevant LMS modules and Task Cards.

Similarly, Jangro offers its customers the opportunity to generate their own personalised wall charts, featuring the products of their choice, via its new Digital Wall Chart creator. As well as the chart, customers receive a full health and safety compliance pack, which also includes the relevant safety data sheets, product user guides, and COSHH Risk Assessments of the relevant products. 

The benefits that technology brings, such as increased operating efficiencies and better outcomes, are critical to our development as an industry. Our relationship has changed from one of fear and doubt, into a happy co-dependent partnership. The truth is we need technology, but technology also needs human input to work most effectively.