Lunch & Learn Recap: Cobotics
Get the inside scoop from our November 2023 lunch and learn event.
KleenMark welcomed guests from around the state to our Madison, WI headquarters on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023 for our first-ever lunch and learn event.
This event covered cobotics, an emerging technology topic that combines the expertise of an internal cleaning staff with the efficiency of robotic cleaning devices.
Attendees began the day with a “sneak peek” demo featuring cobotic floor cleaning devices from Tennant, SoftBank, and Karcher. KleenMark’s own Doug Lerch kicked off the proceedings with a welcome address on the future of cobotics and how it can revolutionize commercial cleaning without sacrificing the knowledge and personal touch of human cleaning staff.
“Everyone wants to do away with some of the hard tasks that we have to do or the tasks that are boring to do for some operators,” Lerch said. “Sometimes people call [cobotics] ‘the perfect employee.’ I think it’s whatever the best version of an employee is that you’re looking for.”
Diana Kittelson, Custodial Operations Supervisor at the Stoughton Area School District, presented keynote remarks about how her district got started with cobotics and the results they’ve seen from having robots work alongside employees.
“I was facing some efficiency issues. I wondered if equipment could be the answer here,” Kittelson explained.
In the years since first embarking on her research into cobotics, Kittelson notes the pros of investing in cobotics far outweigh the cons, and staff members have started to rely on the technology as an essential tool to carry out their jobs.
“I did check in with the operators that operate these machines before I came here, I said, ‘Hey, what would you say if you wanted to talk about [cobotics]?’ My middle school head custodian said, ‘Diana, I don’t know how we would survive without the T380.’”
The day wrapped up with a panel discussion featuring Kittelson, Lerch, Francis Balthazor from Urban Land Interests, Adam Russ from Tennant, and Mark Halverson from SoftBank. The panel fielded questions about cobotics technology and the impact it’s had on Kittelson and Balthazor’s organizations’ cleaning results and staff members.
“When you’ve got humans taking care of the vacuuming, we’re spot vacuuming because that’s the time that we have,” Balthazor said. “When we’ve got these units, they’re vacuuming 100% of the surface. It’s picking everything up.”
“The younger generation that are coming into my generation, they think it’s great. I actually feel that a few of my younger employees would have maybe moved on had they not noticed that we’re progressive and forward-thinking,” Kittelson said.
Ready to experience similar results at your organization? To learn more about cobotics and how it can revolutionize your cleaning team, drop our team a line using the form below!