June 28, 2024

3 red flags your retail floor scrubber isn’t cutting it

How many times a week do you clean the floors? For most commercial retail environments, it’s multiple times a day.

Grocery stores, shopping malls, big-box stores, and many other retail facilities do so out of necessity. Simply put, they can’t afford to let cleanliness standards slip. 

A dirty store tells its own story, a tale which ultimately scares shoppers away. As a result, keeping aisles, entryways, and other areas clean is one key part of the day-to-day workflows for staff at these facilities. It’s a necessary function that allows everything else to run smoothly while ensuring brands always show their good side.

However, sometimes your cleaning process works against you, costing your store time and resources. In other words, you may not be reaching your store’s true potential, sacrificing gains without even knowing it.

In today’s challenging landscape — one overcome by labor problems, inflation, and more — retailers can’t afford to leave any efficiency improvements on the table. It’s one reason why smart retail technologies are as popular as ever. And how you keep your store clean is the latest frontier. But why?

Because preserving the status quo could be the difference between a lucrative and sustainable future or a costly and troubling one. And when it comes to manually cleaning the floors, ride-on and push-behind machines drag you closer to the latter.

Manual floor scrubbers are inefficient, uneconomical, and labor-intensive. These legacy cleaning machines create problems, not solve them.

If you don’t know the telltale signs, though, it’s easy for your manual floor care woes to fly under the radar. If the floors get clean and stay that way, what’s the fuss?

But while things may look good from afar, they can be far from good. It starts by reevaluating your store’s cleaning process to see if you’re secretly sabotaging your progress, leaving you with less than you bargained for.

Here are three red flags that show all is not well, and that should set your autonomous alarm bells ringing.

Red flag #1:
High employee turnover

High turnover in retail is nothing new. What’s changed now is that there’s no longer a steady and affordable pipeline of new recruits to replace those who leave.

Not helping the situation is an extremely competitive labor market, where steadily rising wages and benefits packages are driving costs through the roof. But while enticements attract new workers, they don’t help keep them on board.

Tough working conditions push workers away. And that was before the pandemic increased the cleaning demands on retail workers.

In concert with this shift, public perceptions around cleanliness raised expectations. This double whammy of needing to clean more thoroughly and frequently is beyond the limits of an already overworked and understaffed retail industry.

So, if your store still experiences high turnover despite higher pay and benefits, it may be a sign that working conditions are the root cause.

You should look beyond the obvious reasons. Ask yourself how you can make your team more productive without putting them under more stress.

Research shows that technology that helps workers perform their jobs leads to positive outcomes. Less stress, higher productivity, better work-life balance — these benefits and more all stem from management taking steps to improve working conditions.

Indeed, showing employees you care about their well-being is a real difference-maker. In fact, they’re 69% less likely to search for alternative employment and 71% less likely to report burnout.

Empowering them with technology that makes their life easier — and your retail operations more effective — is a great first step. It’s a long-term solution to high turnover that benefits your business and your team in equal measure.

Red flag #2:
Some areas are cleaner than others

Do the floors across all areas of your facility receive the same attention? Namely, are the results consistent everywhere? Sometimes this can be a game of cleaning roulette, a hit or miss depending on the situation.

For example, certain sections of buildings are more trafficked than others, which undoubtedly creates more frequent messes. For other spots, however, inconsistent cleaning results could point to a series of larger issues.

One common reason is because staff miss or forget to clean all areas of a facility. For example, maybe someone or something was in the way; any number of circumstances could explain why. But when it happens often, a more troubling reason is at play.

One complaint among staff is the demanding nature of scrubbing the floors. For retail employees who perform cleaning duties in addition to other responsibilities, it takes time they don’t have. The same is true of understaffed custodial teams asked to do more with less. 

Inevitably, staff cut corners when they don’t have the time or energy levels to perform their jobs. Substandard, inconsistent results are the natural outcome. In the worst cases, they may skip an area entirely.

But workloads and fatigue aren’t the root cause, just the symptoms. The tools they use are a contributing factor, especially if these tools increase the physical demands on their bodies while eating away hours of their workday.

So, if the floors never look the same across different times and locations, then this inconsistency points towards an ineffective solution for floor cleaning.

Red flag #3:
Information gaps

How many square feet did you clean between 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday this week? How does that compare to last month? Which area(s) did your team miss and why?

If you don’t know the answer to any of those questions, then you have an information gap in your cleaning operations.

The retail industry is no stranger to data, with current capabilities increasing visibility into everything from supply chains to customer behavior. But when it comes to cleaning, a massive blind spot still exists.  

Data is critical for multiple reasons, not the least of which is letting you know that an area is clean and ready for use. But there’s so much more that data can help you accomplish.

Maybe your store hires contract cleaners at times of the day you’re not on site to verify the consistency and thoroughness of their work. Or maybe you need cleaning data to present to auditors during health and safety inspections, streamlining the process and limiting potential downtime.

Without a way to measure your store’s cleanliness status, a lot of things can fall through the cracks. Whether it’s verifying task completion or planning a more efficient path forward, data and analytics are pivotal for retail stores.

Only with the right information on hand can you make the best decisions for your business and its operations. But without some reliable way to monitor and measure progress, you’re shooting from the hip.

For example, ensuring every square foot of your store receives the same level of care is impossible without a system to keep track of everything. Relying on staff to verify your building’s cleanliness status isn’t acceptable either; you open yourself to misreporting and human error.

After all, human reporting is inaccurate; it’s fraught with errors and oversights. High turnover, worker absenteeism, and shift work does the rest, making it extremely difficult to figure out who cleaned what and when. 

In this information void, you’re more likely to make mistakes, reach poor conclusions, and miss out on opportunities to refine and advance your operations. Because to truly move ahead, you must first reflect on your path until that point; you can’t make meaningful progress unless you know where you’ve been.

Therefore, a smarter, calculated decision-making process about when and where to clean can give your store a new outlook on how you run your facility. You’ll be able to identify gaps, overlaps, bottlenecks, and more, each of which will improve your store’s overall efficiency — and your teams too.

So, if you don’t currently have this information, it’s a clear sign that you can do better, and that more advanced cleaning equipment can help you save time, money, and resources.

Floor cleaning robots:
Turn red flags into green ones

Inconsistent cleaning results, difficulty retaining workers, an inability to track and measure cleanliness — these are all warning signs that you shouldn’t be ignoring.

At best, these red flags make life difficult, causing headaches and frustration. But at worst, they hold you back, putting your retail operations at a competitive disadvantage as other stores automate their way to a more prosperous future.

If you're experiencing these red flags, Avidbots has a solution. Take your cleaning operations into an easier, efficient, and more productive era by solving all three issues with Kas, Avidbots’ fully autonomous floor scrubbing robot purpose-built for retail spaces.

Automation removes many of the arduous aspects inherent to a manual process out of the equation. And thanks to Avidbots Autonomy, the robots’ adaptive artificial intelligence software, your cleaning operations can run on autopilot.

But the real kicker? Your staff no longer needs to waste hours of their day pushing or riding their cleaning equipment.

Indeed, Kas does the dirty, tiring, and repetitive cleaning chores, easing the burden on your team. And with the robot scrubbing the floors, you can reallocate your existing workforce to revenue-generating, productivity-focused, or value-added tasks. 

The ability to redirect your employees to where they deliver the best bang for your brand is a force multiplier in today’s labor market. For example, you could double down on customer service, order processing, or other tasks that make your store’s shopping experience a pleasant one. 

Double down on customer service, order processing, or other tasks that make your store’s shopping experience a pleasant one 

In other words, labor reallocation allows you to improve productivity throughout your store without dipping your toes back into an expensive labor market.

What’s more, Avidbots’ commercial floor scrubber gives you the records, oversight, and performance measurement capabilities to enhance your operations as a whole. Because how do you improve what you can’t measure?

It’s time to put automation to work

If improving the employee experience, lowering your exposure to worker shortages, and reducing your store’s cleaning expenses align with your brand’s goals, Avidbots can help.

Leave your manual floor scrubber where it belongs: in the past. Don’t settle for a distant second best. Not when Kas can solve your current challenges and protect you against future ones — all in a budget-friendly solution.

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