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FM leaders call for strategic partnerships and performance-based contracts to drive innovation

* FM-LEADERS.jpgThe vast majority of FM leaders across the EMEA region believe that technology suppliers should offer performance-based contracts to improve the success rate of innovation projects within facilities management and commercial cleaning.

New research from SoftBank Robotics EMEA, reveals that 89% of supply side and 78% of demand side FM leaders think that performance-based contracts are positive for the cleaning industry.

More than half (57%) of FM leaders would like to see performance-based fees, 46% would like gain-share models and 44% would like some level of commercial and operational risk-sharing when entering into a contract with a cleaning technology provider.

The research is presented in a new white paper, The Cobotic Evolution in Cleaning. It highlights the need for a new approach to innovation within commercial cleaning, with 81% of FM leaders reporting that their innovation projects have failed to deliver on expected outcomes over the past two years. 66% state that innovation in cleaning is long overdue.

The majority of FM leaders believe that future innovation strategies need to be more holistic in their approach, with 76% stating that it is as important to innovate their business model as it is to innovate with technology.

FM leaders want suppliers to offer procurement models which make new technologies more accessible and affordable, and minimise their financial risk. 70% of FM leaders state that a leasing model that reduces their financial risk would make the adoption of new cleaning technologies more attractive. This figure rises to 73% within supply side organisations.

"There is clearly a real appetite for partnership models within facility management and cleaning, where technology providers work closely with facility management service providers and businesses to deliver innovation, with shared goals, risks and rewards,” argues Nils van der Zijl, VP sales & marketing, SoftBank Robotics EMEA. “It's understandable that in an industry that has experienced significant challenges in delivering successful innovation programmes, there is a certain amount of scepticism and uncertainty when it comes to technology adoption. FM leaders need to ensure they get the advice and support they need, working collaboratively alongside trusted partners to develop the right innovation strategies."

The research shows that FM leaders are enthusiastic about the introduction of cobotics into commercial cleaning. Cobots are collaborative robots which work alongside cleaning teams and undertake repetitive and time-consuming tasks such as vacuuming, freeing up staff to focus on other tasks such as the deep cleaning and sanitisation of hard surfaces which is critical in the fight against Covid-19.

As well as driving cleaning performance and operational efficiency, FM leaders are also attracted to the commercial model of cobotics, where cobots are deployed in a highly agile and scalable way through month-on-month operational spend.

This eliminates the need for large capital expenditure to access new technologies, one of the major barriers to innovation in the cleaning sector. Indeed, 86% of FM leaders point to the high capital expenditure involved in current cleaning approaches as a major operational challenge.

FM leaders believe that the introduction of cobots into their operations can deliver the technological and operational transformation they need. 93% report that cobots will increase the quality and consistency of service delivery within commercial cleaning, 77% state that cobots can drive productivity, and 76% predict that cobotics will lead to healthier workspaces for all employees.

Innovation remains a key strategic objective within the facility management industry, with 90% of FM leaders citing it as a top business priority. It is seen as critical in attracting new customers, providing a differentiated customer experience and improving productivity.

"Successful innovation depends on a lot more than simply having access to the very latest and most impactful technologies; it's about developing the business models, processes, skills and understanding within the organisation to integrate new technologies in an effective and sustainable way,” adds Nils. “It's crucial that FM leaders, whether on the demand or supply side, find strategic technology partners that can help them to implement the wider operational and cultural changes that are so critical to delivering innovation and real commercial impact."

The full research findings can be found in the white paper, The Cobotic Evolution in Cleaning, available at:


23rd July 2020

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