Embracing smart tech to improve the washroom experience

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The washroom is easily one of the most important areas in a high traffic facility. A top priority for facility managers and cleaning staff is overcoming large venue challenges in order to make the washroom experience better.

“Gone are the times a paper log is enough for a high traffic venue to rely on,” said Kunle Samuel, director of client services at Dexterra. Dexterra was one of the first facility management companies in Canada to adopt WandaNEXT™ a digital restroom monitoring system powered by Visionstate Inc., and exclusively available through Bunzl Canada. One of the things within the facility management industry that is critical is always looking at technological advancements and productivity enhancement. According to Samuel there are many reasons businesses can benefit from using smart technology in the washroom, here’s how installing an intelligent washroom solution has improved operations for Dexterra’s clients:

Better customer service
“WandaNEXT provides real-time data that enables facility managers to solve problems before they become customer or tenant complaints,” Samuel said. There’s an opportunity for the public to provide instant feedback so management has the chance to alert the cleaning team to proactively address issues. This can have a big impact on revenue as studies have shown there’s a high chance customers won’t return to facilities with dirty washrooms.

Optimize labour allocation
The ability to be able to reallocate labour based on data eliminates the need for guesswork. “WandaNEXT allows facility managers to allocate resources more effectively across the operation,” Samuel said. “I can schedule to the peaks and valleys and then allocate any excess resources to other areas of the building and other projects that our clients may have, therefore gaining efficiency.”

Reduce waste and costs
A typical day for someone who is maintaining washrooms requires a lot of record keeping, including how often they’re cleaned and inspected and who is doing the tasks. Tracking the traffic patterns, cleaning task time requirements and supply use insights provided by WandaNEXT allows facility managers to better manage both costs and waste.

There is a component of risk management involved in washroom maintenance. Samuel notes that it’s invaluable to have access to this data because it helps him understand the character of the building. Instantly you can see things such as what items staff have replaced, what issues they remediated to determine what happened to a specific washroom.

Identify trends

WandaNEXT provides data with a clear audit trail which allows facility managers to track resources and time whether it be the human resources or the actual physical resources like toilet paper and soap. Through the people counter feature you can also monitor traffic use, to identify the usage of a particular washroom. “Because all the information is housed electronically, I can go back to the first day that I installed it with all my facilities in Canada,” Samuel said.

One of the things Samuel and his team do is to track is response times to the requests. “We do have benchmarks that we set within our operations and so that is something that our team and their supervisor’s review,” he said.

“With WandaNEXT you’re also able to identify potential areas for additional coaching or training,” said Margo Hunnisett, vice-president, marketing & communications, Bunzl Canada.

As an early adopter of technology Dexterra is always on the lookout for the latest tools that can enhance services for clients. In response to customer’s needs Bunzl launched the bilingual version of WandaNEXT across Quebec in July. Bunzl is currently working with Visionstate to enhance product features and functionality to include additional languages, multiple device connectivity and a mobile version of the product in the near future.

“Versatility I think is the next big thing,” Samuel said. “I think smart technology has applications beyond the washroom. It’s not the only room within a facility that benefits from end-user input and maintenance, traffic and consumables tracking.” The ability to capture this level of data and make fact-based decisions which optimize labour and supply use could have applications across the entire facility management business.

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