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Autonomous Cleaning Robots – Deployability & Productivity

Ivan Foo • 04/01/2022

In Article- Autonomous Cleaning Robot

Since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, autonomous cleaning robots have been gaining traction due to the shortage of cleaning manpower where many are needed and deployed at major retail malls and commercial buildings. The technology of these equipment has also rapidly improved in recent times and performing much better than the initial basic versions which served more as a tech gadget instead of giving any cleanliness assurance. Taking into consideration how there is a limit to foreign manpower supply, the drastic increase in PWM by 2023 and the continual inflation for cleaning costs in the near future, when is a good time for businesses to adopt autonomous cleaning? Below are a few factors to consider:

Floor Surfaces

Different floor surfaces may require different robots to clean as their main functionalities are split into mopping, scrubbing, or vacuuming. Hence, there may be instances where more than one type of robot is required to effectively clean the premises. To counter this issue, request a demonstration from different equipment suppliers to explore which robot will provide a cleaning outcome that is suitable for your building environment.

Cleaning Schedule

While the autonomous cleaning robot can theoretically work 24/7 with no known risks (excluding situations where it breaks down), this does not guarantee an increase in cleaning productivity. The robot should be assessed on the man-hours that it can save daily when deployed with the existing cleaning team. A complete review of the current cleaning schedule is often required to explore these potential savings, and changes to the schedule are inevitable for the robot’s productivity to be maximized. In other words, the supervisor may have to reconsider how manpower should be deployed throughout the day, including when disruptive cleaning is carried out, to ensure that the robot generates cost savings.

Autonomous vs. Mechanized

If autonomous options are not included in the project’s budget, there are alternative cheaper options that are still applicable for increasing cleaning productivity. For instance, the alternate option is applicable for buildings where the cleaning manpower is already lean and cannot be reduced further. To further spur productivity, businesses can consider mechanized options such as ride-on or walk-behind scrubbers. These options generate man-hours savings and allow existing staff to increase their productivity in carrying out the cleaning tasks as less effort is required. Considering how the cleaning industry has an ageing workforce, the alternative options will serve as a worthwhile investment in the long term.

Return on Investment

As with any building technology investment, the purchase of such cleaning equipment should see an ROI of between 24-36 months. This can be easily achieved by decreasing the headcount and generating long-term cost savings. In fact, the ROI may even be a shorter time period following the launch of the latest government grants in procuring the equipment; where the upfront investment may be discounted by up to 50-70%, depending on several prescribed conditions.

The above are some key considerations (non-exhaustive) when it comes to deciding whether to embark on the autonomous cleaning journey. Get in touch with us if you would like to know more. 

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