February 18, 2021

Best Practices for Deploying a Robotics Cleaning Program

Floor care
Gavin Donley
Gavin Donley

So you’ve done your research, gotten executive approval, and have decided to implement a robotics cleaning program in your retail chain, warehousing business, or a cleaning company — but what’s next? As the addition of cleaning robots in commercial settings becomes the new industry standard, savvy businesses are jumping on board. But the decision to invest is only the first step. In order to ensure that your robotics program is successful, you have to start from the top down, assigning leadership and setting guidelines with the end goal of efficient use from commercial floor scrubber operators in mind. While robotic applications, like BrainOS®-powered floor scrubbers made available through several OEM partners, are quick and easy to get going, training and support are key components to success. We’ve consulted with our deployment and account management experts to define three best practices for making the most of a cleaning robotics investment.

1. Define program leadership
A successful robotics cleaning program does not start at the site level but at the corporate level. Executive team members must be committed to the program, and understand what it takes to make it work, from implementation and training to ongoing technical support. You ultimately must assign a team or individual within the centralized operation to be responsible for leading the overall program in order to make sure that deployment and robot usage is consistent across all locations. If you leave site personnel to their own devices when it comes to autonomous mobile robot floor scrubber training, busy managers and uncertain employees may put off implementation, causing robots to collect dust and waste money.

Program leaders take on the responsibilities of educating site management, training employees, and making sure that locations are set up for optimal cleaning performance. While robotics vendors can provide informative materials about the technology and assist with deployment and training, it is most important for internal support to set up the program based on your corporation’s specific needs.

Within sites, you should set a similar structure in terms of leadership. Whether you designate a robot expert, janitorial supervisor, or manager to take on this role, it is critical that this leader is educated on the ins and outs of their floor scrubbers’ operating systems, functions, and needs. This person can serve as the go-to support for immediate questions from employees, as well as the liaison between the site and the corporate office for more detailed, technical issues.

2. Set expectations and hold people accountable
Once you establish these leadership roles, those responsible must then set expectations for employees who will be operating the autonomous robots. By creating a set-up guide with a checklist, locations can confidently follow every step in maximizing robotic cleaning performance. In addition, it’s important to clarify who should be operating the robotic floor scrubbers, and how often they should be run. While employees are expected to do their jobs, at the end of the day, it’s up to management to ensure the autonomous mobile robots are being used.

Accountability is also key. Because robot operating systems like BrainOS provide real-time usage metrics and data, it’s easy to see whether or not employees are operating autonomous mobile robots as frequently as they should be. When employees aren’t keeping up with their cleaning robot duties, the assigned leader within a site must find out why this is the case. Oftentimes, issues are as simple to troubleshoot as a quick refresher on training, but if no one is held accountable, these problems can go unnoticed, reducing ROI. Part of offering a strong support system is spelling out exactly who is responsible for which tasks and holding employees accountable for their actions.

3. Track performance to optimize robotic usage
The third best practice to keep in mind when implementing a successful robotics cleaning program is to maximize autonomous usage. Through the BrainOS cloud-connected software platform, robot operators and their supervisors can get access to detailed performance metrics via a cloud-based portal and/or regular email reporting. These metrics include cleaning coverage, routes run, percentage of autonomous v. manual usage, visual heat maps, and more. With this data, everything is explicitly documented, so operational flaws are easier to track and ultimately fix. By keeping track of usage, you can note which hours of the day allow you to operate autonomous mobile robots at optimal times in order to maximize efficiency.

By tracking performance data to optimize usage for maximum efficiency, you will also help achieve faster ROI, and make the most of employee productivity. Additionally, you can use cleaning performance data from sites that have already implemented robotics programs to assist with setting up in new locations—such as checking which layouts allow for the easiest navigation. This streamlines the deployment process and saves even more money down the road.

These three best practices are key for deploying a successful cleaning robotics program. By starting at the corporate level and ensuring that leadership is prepared to set expectations and maintain accountability, you can make sure you get the most out of your investment in robotic floor scrubbers.

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