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First practical guide for cobotics implementation in FM is published

Experts from across the European facility management and commercial cleaning industries have come together to develop the world’s first practical guide to implementing cobotics. 

The Practical Guide to Implementing Cobotics in FM, which has been launched today, provides FM companies and cleaning contractors with detailed, practical measures to ensure a smooth and seamless integration of cobotics into their operations.

Cobots are collaborative robots which work alongside frontline teams to drive efficiency, performance and productivity. Cobots undertake repetitive and strenuous tasks such as vacuuming large areas of floor space, improving performance and consistency, and freeing up time for cleaning teams to focus on other tasks, such as the deep sanitisation of hard surfaces and high-touch areas, such as door handles and lift buttons.

A poll conducted as part of the study behind the Guide found that 52 per cent of FM leaders believe that the introduction of cobotics can accelerate re-entry to buildings post Covid-19. This is critical in enabling businesses to re-open and kickstarting an economic recovery.

Co-ordinated by the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) and SoftBank Robotics, the Guide includes contributions from some of the leading thinkers within the European facility management and commercial cleaning sectors, and covers a wide range of organisational and operational factors that need to be considered within a cobotic strategy, from early stage planning and proof of concepts through to training programmes, servicing agreements, commercial models and measurement.

Peter Ankerstjerne, Chairman of the Board at IFMA and Global Lead FM & Experience Services at JLL, and a contributor to the Guide, said: “Cobotics can play a big role in delivering the higher and more consistent cleaning standards required to ensure people feel comfortable and confident at their workplace during the Covid-19 pandemic. As with any major technology project, organisations need to take a strategic approach and think beyond the technology itself. Cobotics requires significant upskilling, cultural and behavioural change and a shift to new operating and resourcing models. FM and cleaning industry leaders need to develop robust, holistic plans in order to achieve the full range of benefits that cobotics can deliver.” 

Nils van der Zijl, VP Sales & Marketing, SoftBank Robotics EMEA, added: “Cobotics is an entirely new approach to innovation within the sector so it’s important for industry leaders and innovative early adopters to come together to drive best practice from the outset. This Guide will be a useful reference point for any business starting out on their cobotics journey. By following the 12 steps we have identified as critical to successful implementation, FM providers and cleaning contractors can avoid potential pitfalls, minimise their risk and reduce the time it takes to deliver ROI and wider benefits to staff and clients.”

He added: “We’ve seen a marked acceleration in adoption during the Covid-19 pandemic as forward-thinking companies recognise the potential for cobots to meet heightened demand for cleaning services whilst managing cost. This is set to increase further as contractors look to future-proof their operations and take advantage of new opportunities in a highly dynamic marketplace. Contractors can’t afford to delay any longer – they need to embrace cobotic technology and new operating models now or else they risk being left behind.”

The Practical Guide to Implementing Cobotics in FM is available for download here.

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