By Jimy Baynum
From the July/August 2016 Issue
While restrooms aren’t always top of mind for the average person, it is arguably the most often used facility in any building. Patrons expect a clean, fully stocked, and pleasant restroom experience, and since restrooms reflect on the entire business, every impression counts. How can facility managers effectively and efficiently create this atmosphere without creating additional work for themselves or their teams?
Historically, facility cleaning teams complete tasks such as restocking bath tissue, refilling soap dispensers, and managing supply orders through manual checks—stall by stall. Thanks to technologies, including hands-free dispensers, high-tech restroom systems can become increasingly vital in helping building and facility managers efficiently manage restroom upkeep.
The effectiveness and design of restroom facilities can be further bolstered by a technology solution that uses sensors to transmit information from dispensers to a web application accessible to managers and cleaning staff indicating product refill levels. By helping employees navigate the challenge of keeping restrooms stocked in high-traffic areas, the Tork EasyCube system is one tool that provides real-time data to help improve overall efficiency and processes for cleaning staff. There are three distinct ways that incorporating dispensers with this type of smart technology can positively improve business practices.
- Eliminating issues before they arise. Intelligent restrooms can keep facility managers abreast of restroom traffic, alerting them of exactly when and where issues arise. Because facility staff are responsible for a wide array of tasks—many of which take priority over resolving customer complaints regarding product refill needs, it is imperative to eliminate the latter before they arise. After all, facility managers take great care in creating premium restroom experiences and wouldn’t want that to be marred by an empty toilet paper dispenser.
- Better utilization of staff. Managers can make better staffing decisions with the help of smart dispensers that generate actionable data. Because insights derived from this information shift cleaning staff from a schedule-based cleaning approach towards a needs-based method, facility managers can properly staff and direct their teams. Even when unexpected cleaning needs arise, managers can quickly deploy tasks to the cleaning staff. Once received and addressed, tasks are marked as completed, so managers are aware of the status. With Tork EasyCube and other similar technologies, facility departments can take steps towards an efficiency based business model.
- Efficient supply ordering. Data captured from restroom technology gives facility management departments a better idea of product consumption patterns that ultimately dictate the bulk and rate at which new orders must be placed. Because facilities often have limited storage space, being cognizant of the rate at which products are used help staff avoid ordering more product than their storage areas can accommodate.
- Discovering traffic patterns. Equipped with web-based technology, restrooms can help staff uncover trends, such as individual restrooms with the most traffic, within the facility. By tying these patterns back to specific offices, regularly scheduled events, and popular break times, facility managers can anticipate and dictate which areas of the building need the most attention and meet occupants’ needs.
Throughout facilities, emerging technology can serve as the backbone to improving performance. When it comes to restrooms, by understanding pain points and identifying areas where real-time data can improve processes, facility managers can work smarter, not harder to impress even the most discerning guests.
Baynum is the market development director of AfH Professional Hygiene for SCA. Leading products include Tork EasyCube and Tork Image Design.