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Is Data Driven Contract Cleaning The Key To Growth?

Embracing digital in a business can be a powerful differentiator for SME FMs.
17 December 2019 | Updated 20 December 2019

Christian Berenger, MD of Ezitracker Workforce Management, looks at how the ability to integrate, visualise and analyse workforce data is a powerful tactic to differentiate cleaning service providers.

Advancements such as the Internet of Things, AI and big data, combined with existing technologies such as building information modelling, analytics and workforce management can contribute to improved business outcomes for soft FM service providers. 

Big data is a term that describes the large volume of data - both structured and unstructured - that inundates a business on a day-to-day basis. But it's not the amount of data that's important. Big data can be analysed for insights that lead to better decisions and strategic business moves. Leveraging big data will help managers better understand service delivery elements and people management and what future investments can be made towards tools to unleash its power.


Recognising the value

A recent report by RICS called 'Big data: a new revolution in the UK facilities management sector' highlighted the fact that over 70% of FM’s in the UK were either in the pre-adoption or early adoption stages of implementing a big data management strategy. The report claims that in today’s competitive economy, FM organisations are facing increasing pressure from client organisations to manage facility portfolios with stringent goals for both cost efficiency and environmental impact. The ability to integrate, visualise and closely monitor building data (such as space demand and utilisation, energy usage and cost, air quality, temperature variations, lighting etc.) is critical to achieving these goals.

While it is commonly accepted that big data (data that surpasses the processing capability of traditional database systems) and analytics present major opportunities to generate value for a wide variety of safety and maintenance operations, many within the FM sector have yet to fully recognise this value.



While the use of big data in FM can generate many benefits such as proactive rather than reactive maintenance solutions and help meet cost and environmental goals, take up in the industry has been slow. In the UK cleaning sector, the need to ensure contract compliance, validate service delivery and automate key processes has never been higher.  Soft FM service providers can manage the employee lifecycle of hundreds of cleaning operatives in a sector that has a notoriously high staff turnover rate. By eliminating uncertainty and having information available in real-time, makes it possible to free up time for managers to make the best possible decisions, streamline processes, achieve optimum levels of productivity and boost long-term profitability.


Embracing digital

Embracing digital in a business can be a powerful differentiator for SME FMs. There are a growing number of digital-only businesses with models based on immediacy, lower cost and detailed, real-time analytics. They are leaving their old-school analogue and paper-based competitors behind.

It’s easy to see why business models based on a digital platform appeal to users – there is much less admin (a world without paper-based timesheets) and it’s far more responsive.


Data driven cleaning

The Contract Cleaning Market Report from Analyst MTW forecasted more than £450 million growth for the contract cleaning market in the next few years. Around 80% of cleaning contractors continue to report healthy financials, though the number of businesses at risk of failing has risen in the last 12 months. Enhanced ‘data driven cleaning’ was expected to be a key differentiation tactic and boost productivity. We are noticing that enhanced ‘data driven cleaning’ is in fact, a powerful key tactic to differentiate cleaning service offerings.

The companies embracing digital are starting to challenge the traditional soft FM business models. This rings true for us as we see an upturn in demand for Ezitracker workforce management technology in this sector. The cleaning market is growing exponentially and we have no doubt that further technological advances will be developed to disrupt and transform the sector. IoT connected devices, 5G and software developments have driven innovation in contract cleaning. Cleaning contractors of all sizes are benefitting from reduced paperwork and the ability to run their finances and cleaning contracts digitally. Our technology enables employers of large and small workforces of cleaners and maintenance workers to reduce absenteeism, lower costs via automation and increase productivity and efficiencies.


Raising standards

Even the smallest cleaning company, which may feel that in-depth analytics are not needed, can benefit from reduced paperwork, greater payroll accuracy and the ability to run cleaning contracts digitally. Robust analytics available at each step will help you to make better business decisions. By recording key data, performing analytics and even providing predictive insights, it’s clear that automation at each stage is extremely powerful.

By facilitating the employee journey through automation, from onboarding, to flexible rostering and real-time attendance verification, all the way through to accurate payroll, we can collectively raise standards and transform softer FM services from reactive to proactive and predictive.


Clear the overflow

Most cleaning contractors are involved with all stages of the employee lifecycle recruitment, onboarding, development, retention and exit. Multiply this by the number of employees you process, and the day-to-day people management process is a complex task. By integrating automation, analysing data and embracing cloud-based information intelligence, efficiency and productivity measuring and monitoring can get a whole lot easier. It’s entirely possible to move away from stacks of paper and an overflowing inbox.

A good workforce management system goes beyond just time and attendance monitoring. It will take care of the data and analytics, allowing managers to measure employee experiences at every stage of the employee lifecycle and establish benchmarks to measure future performance. By collecting this data automatically and real-time, managers can identify non-performers and those with low engagement issues at each step of the employee journey.

To download A Cleaning Contractor’s Guide to Workforce Management Technology - Click Here

Picture: Embracing digital in a business can be a powerful differentiator for SME FMs.

Article written by Christian Berenger | Published 17 December 2019


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