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Bringing Industrial Cleaning into Clear Focus

July 26, 2023 8:04 AM by Tennant Company

Posted in Cleaning Solutions Staffing & Personnel Best Practices

Bringing Industrial Cleaning into Clear Focus

Industrial cleaning requires a multi-pronged approach. There are so many spaces to consider—from the warehouse to the break room and everything in between. Neglecting any area of an industrial space can be costly. Not just in dollars, downtime and disruptions, but employee health and product integrity.

Consider these statistics on warehouse cleaning. A staggering 80% of dirt in warehouse buildings are tracked in on feet from the parking lot and loading dock. Without a prevention plan, a sq/yard of carpet can collect one pound of dirt, which typically costs $600 to remove.

In an industrial office area, dirty environments can decrease skills—typing, math, logical reasoning, memory, and creative thinking—by 2-6%. In contrast, clean office environments can increase productivity by 5%. When it comes to employee health, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ranked indoor air pollution among the top five most significant dangers to the American public.

While keeping your facility clean is important for protecting employees, production lines, products, and overall operations, industrial cleaning doesn’t have to come at a high cost. Cleaning as efficiently as possible is the key to keeping costs down. To drive cleaning efficiency in industrial facilities you need to:

  • Address labor challenges
  • Enhance safety
  • Maximize productivity

Understand space requirements

No two industrial spaces are exactly alike. Understanding the unique challenges of cleaning your facility will set you up for success. Factors to consider are the square footage and temperatures, types of floor surface, etc. In general, larger spaces are typically cleaned with large, robust cleaning equipment while smaller spaces like break rooms and bathrooms require different cleaning tools that can clean hard-to-reach areas.

Also, consider the types of debris—dirt, dust and soils—that will need to be cleaned in the various areas of your facility. For example, if an area tends to accumulate dust, look for industrial cleaning equipment with excellent dust filtration so you don’t have to make multiple passes. There are also cleaning machine available with on-board want attachments that enable one-pass cleaning, which translates to higher productivity.

Explore the latest cleaning innovation

By far, one of the most promising innovations for industrial cleaning is autonomous floor scrubbers. The warehousing industry has used robotics for decades, but now this technology can be leveraged to optimize and enhance floor cleaning in large warehouse spaces. They can help address many of the operational challenges and business goals around the costs of warehouse facility cleaning.

Automatic floor scrubbers empower you to clean more frequently and consistently. These robotic industrial floor cleaning machines can be implemented without increasing labor costs and they clean consistently, thoroughly and properly every time. With less focus on floor cleaning, your cleaning crews have more time to focus on core responsibilities and day-to-day warehouse needs. These autonomous systems also provide real-time performance data that can be used to validate cleaning and demonstrate that steps are being taken to protect inventory.

For example, the Tennant T16AMR industrial robotic floor scrubber can scrub up to 13 hours per day using the Lithium-Ion battery option. Designed to work safely and efficiently alongside employees, this robotic floor scrubber reduces the needs for pre-sweeping, drives efficiencies, and maintains a high standard of cleaning.

Overcome ongoing labor challenges

According to ABI Research, there will be a 30% increase in productivity due to robotics across all industries, including cleaning, over the next 10 years. With the high cost of labor and workforce shortages, industrial organizations need to develop a strategy to work smarter, not harder.

Robotic cleaning technology has rapidly advanced to help address these ongoing labor challenges.

Robotic cleaning machines are the answer to this supply-demand disparity, allowing warehouses to rely on robots for the frequent, methodical floor scrubbing and freeing up staff for other value-added tasks. Rather than replacing human workers, floor cleaning robots work alongside cleaning staff, taking on the monotonous tasks such as floor scrubbing—and empowering staff to take on more complex responsibilities that more directly contribute to the goals of your industrial operation.

Focus on improving safety

For industrial facility managers, focusing on maintaining and clean and safe environment for employees and visitors is a key part of the job. Slippery floors, poor indoor air quality, and handling and mixing chemicals are cleaning-related hazards to avoid.

Falls are among the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accounting for approximately 7 million emergency visits a year. The cost of slips, trips, and falls is also estimated to be more than $10 billion a year, according to the 2022 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index. In the warehousing and transportation industry specifically, unintentional falls are the second leading cost for non-fatal claims with more than 5 days away from work, reports the safety index.

To improve safety in your industrial operation, make sure industrial cleaning equipment and teams don’t leave standing water behind when cleaning and look for cleaning machines with excellent water recover systems. Explore chemical-free cleaning solutions such as Tennant’s ec-H20 NanoClean® to eliminate chemical buildup that can make floors slippery. Also, use industrial floor cleaning machines that are certified by the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) as high-traction to make floors safer for employees and visitors.

Maximize employee productivity

There are a variety of ways to maximize the productivity of cleaning teams. Leverage cleaning machines such as the Tennant i-mop® Lite to clean in tight spaces close to racks, pallets, and equipment. Select equipment with pre-set options so teams can start cleaning immediately. Choose battery powered cleaning machines that maximizes time and floor cleaning capacity.

In addition, keep cleaning machines well maintained so they can always operate at peak performance. Consider adding robotic floor scrubbers to help address labor challenges and elevate team performance to other high-value tasks.

Read more about industrial floor cleaning.

Get the Tennant guide to reducing cleaning costs for industrial facilities.

Learn more about Tennant solutions for industrial floor cleaning.


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