How efficient cleaning technology can boost your profitability

Large South African companies spend between 70 per cent and 80 per cent of total cleaning costs on associated labour, according to industry experts Nilfisk. For businesses looking to implement financial efficiencies within their operations, this insight provides an interesting perspective on commercial cleaning.


Ensuring adequate cleaning processes and maintaining minimum hygiene levels in the workplace are a basic imperative for business-owners but thanks to new cleaning technology and innovation, solutions that are more cost-effective in the long-run are now possible.

Cleaning times can be reduced by 75 per cent

‘The biggest cost of cleaning is the associated labour so when cleaning shutdowns are required, this expense is compounded by the need to halt work. But importantly, using the right combination of equipment can reduce cleaning times by up to a massive 75 per cent, which means significant cost savings,’ says Emma Corder, South Africa country manager of Nilfisk, a leading global provider of professional cleaning equipment.

Regular cleaning and decontamination is an important requirement for any business; it removes dangerous chemical buildups, mould, pollutants, and pathogens that can negatively impact the health of customers and employees. In addition, in many industries cleaning and maintenance of industrial tools and equipment can improve production efficiencies by keeping machines in proper working condition. However, this comes at a cost, particularly in industrial processes, where cleaning shutdowns are required.

Water-efficient cleaning equipment to become more sought-after

As well as saving time, efficient equipment also preserves valuable natural resources such as water. This is a key priority now and is likely to be for the future, in light of the drought conditions currently being experienced throughout South Africa, most notably the Western and Eastern Cape regions.

‘Nilfisk spends more than three per cent of its annual revenue on research and development, employing 250 engineers and specialists to create intelligent cleaning products that address our customer’s needs today and for tomorrow,’ says Corder.

Smart technologies can adapt to unique situational requirements, utilising less resources more efficiently, as needed. ‘For example, many of our auto-scrubbers were designed with ‘SmartFlow’ – a feature which adjusts the flow of water depending on the machine’s speed, optimising water and detergent usage where necessary. The ‘Ecoflex’ feature provides further savings by allowing operators to dispense more water and detergent only in the areas where it’s absolutely required.’

Smart technology enables fewer breaks, reduced maintenance costs

Recognising the need to simplify operation, Nilfisk introduced SmartKey to a number of their machines. This provides two levels of access according to the level of functionality that an operative is likely to require. Junior operatives are given access to basic controls with limited options whereas supervisors can access and alter more complex settings based on their technical requirements.

‘As well as efficiency and improved usability, high quality equipment is also less likely to break. Our SC6500 autoscrubber, for example, is built with a maintenance free traction motor which significantly reduces servicing requirements,’ concludes Corder. The result for the business-owner is further savings on maintenance fees.

Corder says there’s a strong link between productivity and using the most appropriate equipment for the job. So, when it comes to choosing the right equipment for your business, it is important to consider whether efficiency, durability and usability justify spending a little extra on a machine that’s likely to save you considerably in the long-term.