When we initially started Mero, we knew property managers will want to see results and see them fast.
How can a single platform create complete transparency over cleaning operations in commercial buildings, drive sustainability goals, reduce costs, improve tenant experience - and do all the above with the least amount of risk for property managers?
We debated it heavily that year (2017). What resulted was an understanding of what was lacking in other solutions, and detailed criteria for what makes the best cleaning analytics platform.
Below we discuss both in turn.
Our past experience: Why accountability in cleaning was so hard to find
Our intimate knowledge of the challenges in the industry stemmed from personal experience. We've lived them for years.
My co-founder Cole was working in a large property management company, sifting through pen and paper logs where cleaning staff would record tasks done.
"I was sitting in a basement and every time maintenance requests would come up, someone would log it."
As you can imagine, the logs were unreliable.
"The logs were always done manually and always after the fact - they were all over the place.
Some maintenance requests would be put in but they would never have an end date.
And there were so many cases of just incomplete data
because it was all pen and paper"
Those pen and paper logs became the only single source of truth for property managers to make multimillion-dollar contract negotiations.
Here was the crux of the problem: both property managers and commercial cleaners were often operating on gut instincts. They had no visibility or concrete information about what cleaning teams were doing on the ground.
Here was our hypothesis: sensors could collect information on supplies and where people were in the building, the data would be so crystal clear and automatic that property managers would trust the data and make accurate decisions.
What started as a prototype in his parent's basement that measured how much a toilet paper roll was left has sprung into more than 10000+ sensors installed across 100+ buildings.
Below we describe 3 universal problems we’ve identified for commercial property managers when it comes to cleaning operations.
This was the starting point. We realized that property managers, commercial cleaners, nor tenants had a reliable way of seeing where cleaners have been and what they've cleaned.
This lack of visibility led to several related issues:
Nobody had any real-time data and everyone was relying solely on information written on signing logs.
When billion-dollar buildings, million-dollar consumable budgets, and a reputation that was painstakingly built over years were at stake, this was not enough.
We knew that there had to be a better way.
Here was our starting point: provide reliable, easy-to-understand data across all cleaning operations: occupancy, cleaner routes, and supplies.
Our end game? Transform cleaning into a fully transparent, proactive, and just-in-time operation for every commercial building.
A common problem with IoT and everything “smart building” is that companies are getting burned by spending a lot of money on beautiful dashboards that look really neat, but have no use.
Customers are given all this data and then left on their own.
Result: they don't know what to do with the data.
This stems from 3 reasons:
Bottom line: We looked at the market and sensed a general lack of situational awareness and industry knowledge by other smart building vendors for cleaning operations in commercial buildings.
Anyone can build a nice graph and make a forecast of what value a sensor is going to be.
So we knew that to create the best IOT cleaning analytics platform, we needed to guide property managers toward action, and not just build pretty dashboards for people to stare at.
People needed to trust and understand the results from our technology enough to fundamentally change how their job was done.
We've talked to hundreds of property managers at this point. They were managing everything from AAA-grade office spaces to stadiums, hospitals to universities.
One thing they all had in common? Too much on their plate and too little time.
If we wanted to get any traction, we needed to deliver results fast.
But it also needed to be hands-off for property managers.
Right from the beginning, creating sensors that gave our customers accurate data was table stakes. Anybody can get a sensor, stick it somewhere and get it to ping data.
We wanted to create a system that:
So with the problems identified, we had the basis of a strategy to offer something we were proud of.
We felt that if we could do that, we would genuinely have the best cleaning analytics platform on the market because a company that could offer all of the solutions below was exceedingly rare (we have yet to find anyone else that can do all of this).
Here are our solutions.
We believe that:
Here are some actual examples of reports we've produced for clients recently:
These are completely customized reporting available through our dashboard product and also delivered through emails or presentations. They are used to educate our customers on what they're getting and how it helps their business.
For the first requirement, we've built a team with industry expertise. We're not just technology people. The team Cole and I assembled have specialized knowledge from the real estate, commercial cleaning, and hygiene industries.
This knowledge shines when framing data in a way that is both comfortable and clear for every property manager.
For the second requirement, we adopt a consultative approach to data.
Think of us as external consultants for your cleaning data.
This ensures every customer not only receives the data they need but also the necessary insights to improve cleaner workflows, reduce consumables waste and improve the lives of their tenants.
We bring not only the relevant data points that move the needle, but we also educate our customers so they can instantly trust the data they're giving and use it to drive forward their cleaning operations, satisfaction efforts and many other parts of building maintenance.
Thus our customers are not left on their own. This is a massive shift from traditional IOT products and is essential to adoption and tangible results.
We're not talking about grabbing data points, plotting in a graph, and calling it a day.
We're talking about thorough consultative sessions where we shape entire business proposals around the property manager's pain points and needs.
This changes everything. It creates truly actionable data.
To create a path of least resistance for property managers, Mero had to work autonomously to optimize cleaner workflows.
We went one step further by taking care of training the cleaning staff.
This is massive as it removes the burden of driving product adoption and promoting habit changes for property managers.
Here are other ways we've engineered Mero to simplify the lives of property managers:
From day one, we came up we the value proposition of supply savings. The one metric you should care about is that we're going to help you save up to 35 percent on cleaning supplies (paper rolls, soap, etc.)
We wanted to hit that number because it was actionable and it directly correlated to cost savings.
We've now expanded into other use cases including:
We pride ourselves in ROI - everything from the installation all the way onwards.
We focus on ROI in the first three to six months. We do it through more effective supply changes.
Here’s how it works.
In commercial buildings, a lot of times supplies are thrown away preemptively because of the way cleaners do their routine work. They go to the next area in their routine instead of attending to the area that actually needs attention.
With the Mero system, they'll get a ping right before supplies are running empty. This results in supply savings of around 35 percent.
You can realize this return on almost any major commercial building because of the way routines are managed.
Here’s success story that illustrate this.
When Quadreal (a global real estate investment, operating, and development company) began using Mero, they saved 35% on consumables.
We installed a sensor for a few months to monitor a baseline of what cleaners did without the Mero alerting system.
What we found was that cleaners often threw out 50 or even 60 percent of a roll every single time they enter the washroom. Because the washroom at that time was so busy, they never really knew the next best time to enter.
By using this routine-based cleaning, they were focused solely on ensuring tenants didn’t find anything empty by preemptively throwing away perfectly good supplies.
Result: a huge waste of money and usable supply.
Almost immediately after turning on the Mero alerting system, cleaners were routed on a just-in-time basis. They were able to save up a difference of 35 to 40 percent of those rolls. The cost-benefit can be up to $350 000 for the entire building.
We usually think of toilet paper towels as a cheap item but that’s a misconception. Large buildings tend to spend up to $1,000,000 per year on their consumables. And the average portfolio size for a major tier-one property manager is around 80 buildings.
When property managers are working at this scale, these savings are extremely impactful.
Finally, if you feel the above resonates with you, you book a call with us here. We'll give you tailored advice based on your building type and use case.