April 4, 2023

How to evaluate a cleaning robot: Your cleaning automation checklist

Fully autonomous floor scrubbing robots are empowering forward-thinking managers to improve health and safety, productivity, efficiency and more. But if you ask them why they chose one option over another, you’ll hear horror stories of dysfunctional hardware, half-baked functionality and incomplete software.

The market presents many options, but not all cleaning robots are created equal. Although described in similar terms, their performance, level of autonomy and cost-effectiveness have asterisks next to their names.

If your goal is only to automate dirty and repetitive work, you’re selling yourself short. True, next-level cleaning automation can do much more: for your facility, for your finances and for your employees.

Here are three essential questions to ask yourself when evaluating a fully autonomous floor cleaning robot.

1. Do I need to assist the robot while it’s cleaning?

When you hear the words “artificial intelligence”, “autonomous” and “cleaning automation”, what comes to mind? For most people, these terms imply a lack of human intervention. In other words, the robot will think, move and operate on its own.

Real automation in the cleaning services industry is more than simply a robot that can move up and down aisles, corridors, hallways and more. The robot should also be smart enough to determine the best route to navigate your facility while avoiding anyone or anything in real time. 

But even this level of autonomy can go deeper, with additional layers of advanced functionality possible.

Ask yourself these questions when evaluating a cleaning robot’s AI, navigation and hands-free capabilities:

  • If the floor plan changes, can the robot learn and adapt on the fly, or does someone need to create a new cleaning plan?
  • Do staff update the robot’s cleaning maps by manually pushing the floor scrubber along a new path, or can they be downloaded?
  • When the robot encounters an obstacle and gets stuck, does it require a human to manually restart its operation, or can staff get the robot back on track remotely?

The answers to these questions reveal the extent of your robot’s autonomous capabilities, and further highlight the importance of on-demand remote assistance in simplifying floor care for your team.

2. Can I manage, monitor and measure the robot’s cleaning performance?

Autonomous cleaning solutions that track where and when the robot has cleaned offer key advantages. This information helps custodial managers oversee complex facilities in numerous ways, including adding accountability to a profession with historically high levels of staff turnover and employee absenteeism.

But while replacing a clipboard and pen with technology will highlight whether a cleaning task was complete, it won’t tell you how well it was done. This is where many cleaning robots fall short.

The true uplift exists when you have access to fleet management software, with the ability to optimize the performance of a fleet of robots over time thanks to detailed, up-to-the-minute cleaning data.

Cleaning analytics allow you to identify areas of your facility that need improvement. By analyzing real-world, real-time cleanliness levels across your entire facility, you can fine-tune your custodial team’s efforts to ensure greater efficiency and productivity. For example:

  • Compare cleaning performance across your facilities.
  • Evaluate your robots against set cleaning targets and review the total cleaning time for each.
  • Detect skipped, missed or partially cleaned areas and identify the cause(s).

These details and more provide valuable insights into your facility, further enhancing your cleaning return on investment.

3. How robust is the service and support?

All cleaning robots eventually require maintenance and support. Therefore, when it’s time for a checkup, you want a process that is comprehensive and quick.

The longer your robot is out of commission, the greater the strain on your custodial team and your facility’s ability to stay immaculate.

But while a quick turnaround time is important, it’s only one part of a thorough service package.

Some cleaning robots go one step further with complementary support and technology that reduce maintenance frequency and simplify the process. 

This includes easy-to-understand, step-by-step video tutorials on the robot’s touchscreen, ensuring all members of a custodial team are comfortable servicing the robot, but it also involves:

  • 24/7/365 customer care, including virtual access to quickly get the robot up and running.
  • Alerts that inform staff to complete vital preventative maintenance routines, safeguarding the robot and prolonging its service life.

These are just a sample of features you should look for in a service plan. Along with factory-trained technicians on standby throughout the life of the robot, they play a key role in protecting your investment and maintaining peak performance from your machine.

Hire Neo, the benchmark in fully autonomous cleaning

If you’re interested in buying or renting a floor cleaning robot, Avidbots can help. Neo, the fully autonomous floor scrubbing robot, offers an extensive list of features that you won’t find in other cleaning robots.

Contact us today to explore how Neo can benefit your facility.

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