What is innovation?
We can probably agree that the term ‘innovation’ is often misused. Referring to microfibre cloths as innovative may have been true in the early 90s but today they are commonplace and form part of normal cleaning practice. The same can be said of most cleaning products and equipment, often marketed as the latest innovation.
With that said, what sets a good contractor apart is their ability to understand a client’s requirements and select the appropriate tools and processes to deliver a step change in service level.
In some instances a traditional product is used in an inventive way to solve an existing problem. Naturally, we recognise and celebrate this type of innovation. Most often, however, we evaluate products and ideas against a set of criteria: Is it new and fundamentally different to the current solution? Does it noticeably improve service levels or lower cost? Is it commercially viable? What follows are some of these ideas, products or tools, each at a different stage of deployment across our business.
Cobotics and robotic cleaning
The term cobotic refers to the use of robotic cleaning equipment that is deployed alongside a cleaning team to carry out more mundane cleaning tasks, freeing the team to focus on touchpoint and detail cleaning, emptying of bins and resetting of furniture.
A successful deployment balances the cost of the equipment with a labour saving to produce a cost saving, whilst maintaining or improving standards. Matching the right machine to the right environment is a critical factor of success. Consequently, NuServe has been testing a range of equipment, from larger, more ‘intelligent’ floor scrubbers and vacuum cleaners to smaller, more affordable machines.
Wherever possible, NuServe is committed to chemical free cleaning, the elimination of single use plastic and the reduction of carbon emissions associated with transport and delivery of product to site.
The Toucan cleaning system uses salt tablets and tap water, which, through the process of electrolysis, allows us to produce a cleaning solution on site that not only replaces 90% of the cleaning solutions we’d typically use, but is also clinically proven to be effective against harmful bacteria and pathogens, such as Covid-19. This is now widely adopted across our business, and has also greatly reduced our COSHH liability.
Sensors and on-demand cleaning
For at least the last 10 years, the industry has been talking about the use of sensors to monitor washroom footfall and dispenser levels, deploying cleaners to areas that require a clean based on sensor feedback and user defined thresholds.
More recently, sensors have also been used to focus on temperature and air quality, with a spike in either ambient temperature or CO2 being a possible indicator of high footfall, which again could trigger a visit by a cleaner. These projects require close collaboration with clients and some upfront investment, and whilst very effective in certain settings, are not useful or commercially viable in others.
Our focus in this area is to prevent unnecessary cleaning and to deploy resource to where it’s needed, thus reducing waste and lowering cost. Historically, for example, it would be reasonable to expect that all desks had been used and needed cleaning. The increased adoption of hybrid working now means that on some days only a small percentage of desks are used.
Imagine the time that could be saved if cleaners could quickly identify which desks to clean (red light) and could release the desk back for use (green light) upon completion of sanitisation.
Award-winning training platform
NuServe’s entire workforce has access to our bespoke training app through mobile, tablet or desktop. Team members are guided through a learning journey, which consists of City & Guilds endorsed videos, presentation decks and learning assessments.
Team members can choose to complete assessments in their native language and course structure can be tailored to fit the needs of each of our customer accounts. In 2021 alone, over 1,200 hours of training were delivered on our platform, helping us to ensure our clients continue to benefit from a well-trained and competent team.
Many of our clients have complained that they frequently find themselves needing to source and procure products and services for which they don’t already have an established supplier. First finding and then setting up the supplier on their internal systems takes time and gets in the way of them being able to effectively do their ‘normal’ day job.
New for 2022, we’ve launched a customer concierge service. Customers can request products or services, either through their personal Account Manager or by calling our Customer Support team, and we’ll source, quote and supply the required product or service and simply add this to our invoice.