Wuppertal, June 2023 – Too big, too expensive, too complicated: robots continue to face significant challenges in the cleaning sector. No more than 12% of decision-makers at commercial cleaning companies in Germany describe their firms thus far as “advanced” in their provision of digital support for the services they offer. However, according to a current Mentefactum study on behalf of the technology start-up Nexaro, 87% of these decision-makers consider genuine collaboration between humans and machines to make sense.
What is the basis of this positive stance? Among the participants in the representative study “Attitudes to robotics in commercial cleaning,” 86% are of the opinion that the use of autonomous cleaning robots can physically relieve cleaning personnel, while 84% expect an enhancement in cleaning professionals’ occupational profile and 66% anticipate more attractive working hours for cleaning staff.
“As part of a cobotics solution, robots have the potential to solve the problem of the qualified labor shortages that the study shows 91% of companies in the sector are faced with,” says Dr. Henning Hayn, General Manager of Nexaro. “Robots complement professional staff by taking over especially exhausting and time-consuming tasks. This relieves cleaning staff while at the same time upgrading their professional image. For cleaning companies, the result is a gain in efficiency and, with that, a growth in profits.” The decision-makers surveyed share this view: through the use of robots, 70% expect increased efficiency and 56% foresee increased margins.
Ease of operation tops the wish list
But what should a cobotics solution that profitably meets the needs of the sector look like? Right at the top of cleaning companies’ wish list is simple handling. All respondents (100%) are of the opinion that the robot has to be easy to operate and 97% say its setup needs to be quick and uncomplicated for cleaning personnel. “We can see the continuing influence of companies’ negative experience with large, complicated, maintenance-intensive systems—which often also carry a five-figure price tag and thus are too expensive for comprehensive use,” Hayn explains. “But thanks to major technological progress, the reliable use of autonomous robots is now possible with high cleaning performance as well as easy operability.”
Beyond this, company decision-makers call for the integration of robots in a holistic software solution. Of the survey participants, 76% expect robots to be able to document their cleaning performance, 73% wish to be able to operate them as a fleet in which the robots carry out cleaning tasks in a coordinated manner, and 53% want them to additionally provide information about air quality and the degree of floor soiling.
About the Attitudes to robotics in commercial cleaning study
What are the biggest challenges currently facing the cleaning sector? And what specific requirements must any solution satisfy? In order to obtain a scientifically sound answer to these questions, the Mentefactum market research company developed the Attitudes to robotics in commercial cleaning study on behalf of Nexaro. A random sample was chosen from the sum-total of all decision-makers in the German cleaning sector. Interviews were ultimately conducted with 203 decision-makers using a computer-aided phone survey. The results are representative for the cleaning sector in Germany.
Nexaro is a start-up from Wuppertal and is part of the Vorwerk Group, which has been a guarantor of the highest quality since 1883—and today is a globally active group with revenue amounting to €3.2 billion and 9,394 employees in more than 60 countries (as per Annual Report 2022). As an independent company within the Vorwerk Group, Nexaro benefits on the one hand from the mutual transfer of knowledge and technology and on the other hand has the necessary freedom to develop its business model and become a driving force in the cleaning industry with the innovative Nexaro cobotics approach. Intensive research and development work as well as cooperation with leading companies in the industry have made the development of the Nexaro NR 1500 autonomous robot vacuum cleaner and the Nexaro HUB software solution possible. In addition to the focus on the highest quality, another focus at Nexaro is on the topics of data security and sustainability.