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Tork Press Release

16 May 2016 12:47

Before and after study reveals how Internet of Things impacts cleaners’ work

A study by SCA and its global hygiene brand Tork investigates how Internet of Things (IoT) impacts work by cleaners and facility managers. The results show increased quality and efficiency in combination with reduced stress amongst cleaners. The study is based on Tork EasyCubeTM, an IoT-based service that provides real-time information about cleaning and refill needs. The service is also nominated for the upcoming ISSA Innovation Awards at ISSA/INTERCLEAN in Amsterdam.

Internet of Things is often referred to as a phenomenon for the future. Yet, early solutions already exist for the cleaning industry. One example is Tork EasyCube – a digital service with connected devices that provide cleaners with mobile access to real-time information about cleaning and refill needs. The service was showcased in beta mode at ISSA in 2014 and has since been finalized and implemented at facilities ranging from amusement parks to industrial sites.

“While others are still in development or beta phase, we have solutions in place on the market, used by numerous customers. This gives us the possibility, and perhaps also responsibility, to investigate the impact Internet of Things can have on the work done by cleaners and facility managers”, says Anna Königson Koopmans, European Marketing Manager for Tork Solutions.

To investigate changes in ways of working, Tork has carried out a unique before and after study of Tork EasyCube – based on observational studies complemented by data from the system. The study has been carried out at IKSU Sport, northern Europe’s largest sports facility, in Umeå, Sweden. A 22,000 sqm facility with 1,500,000 yearly visitors and a team of 30 cleaners. In total, 300 connected dispensers have been implemented in toilets, changing rooms, gyms, sports halls and other areas.

The results show a new logic for cleaning. Instead of static cleaning rounds the team has shifted to need-based cleaning, resulting in increased efficiency. Knowing in real-time what’s needed, when and where have for example enabled the team to reduce dispenser controls by 77%. These kinds of effects has also made it possible to reallocate cleaning activities to where they matter most to achieve a noticeable higher quality. From a situation where complaints about cleaning quality and empty dispensers occurred frequently they now don’t occur at all. The study also shows a boost in staff’s motivation thanks to increased control, less stress and more focus on what matters most.

“The system makes the job more dynamic and meaningful, I feel like I have the energy to do more when I know that everything I do matters” says André Söderberg, cleaner working at IKSU.

Key results:

  • Shifting from static to need-based cleaning: The Tork EasyCube service has enabled the cleaning teams to work in new ways than before, and shift from static cleaning rounds to need-based cleaning, leading to double-digit improvements across efficiency and quality.
  • Unnecessary work reduced: Instead of running back and forth to physically check if a dispenser needs a refill, cleaners now know in real-time what to do. Before only 1 out of 4 dispenser controls led to a refill, and after the implementation, 7 out of 10 dispenser controls are motivated by a refill. The total number of dispenser controls has also been reduced by 77% - saving valuable time and work for the cleaners.
  • Increased amount of actual cleaning activities: No time wasted has freed up time that can be focused on additional and more thorough cleaning with a direct impact on quality – especially in frequently used areas, where cleaning activities have increased by 62%.
  • Reduced time with empty dispensers: The time dispensers are out or almost out of refills have been reduced by 76 % and in critical areas with most visitors, the same figure is 88 %, with a direct impact on washroom quality.
  • No complaints: Before the implementation of Tork EasyCube, cleaning was a major problem area, with frequent complaints. With the system in place, and the shift from static to need-based cleaning, complaints about cleaning have been completely eliminated.
  • Smoother hand-over between shifts: Better overview and no time wasted makes it easier to finish tasks on time, handing over facilities in better shape to the next shift, which removes the risk of conflicts and frustration. 
  • Refined planning and staff allocation: With insights from the system, the management team has been able to make new decisions; including charting and comparing monthly needs to more efficiently allocate resources over the year. As a result staffing hours will be shifted from the winter period to the fall and spring, which require more intense cleaning.
  • Higher sense of meaningfulness amongst staff: The study shows increased pride among the cleaners,
    and tasks that used to be repetitive and dull feel meaningful when adapted in real-time to exactly what is needed. The cleaners feel more in control and less stressed, while at the same time being more effective. This has also resulted in reduced sick leave.
  • Easier to attract and train new staff: Being able to work with the support of the system has been an attractive argument to recruit new staff, and the training time for new cleaners has radically decreased. They can start working and become part of the team straight away.

 “I had underestimated what can be done with this system. Before Tork EasyCube™ was implemented, our management team was considering building new changing rooms to solve the cleaning quality problem, which would have cost millions. Now that money can be used more efficiently, and we’re already thinking about how to take the next step“ says Bo Andersson, property manager and head of facility management at IKSU.

Implemented live at ISSA/INTERCLEAN in Amsterdam
The discussion around Tork EasyCube at IKSU started at ISSA in 2014, which led to implementation of the service. The development of Tork EasyCube has since moved from beta phase to business case, with the service being fully launched and used by many Tork customers. For ISSA in Amsterdam 2016, Tork EasyCube is nominated for the ISSA Innovation Award. And at the exhibition Tork will also upgrade the biggest washroom with the latest generation of the service.

“Tork EasyCube is nominated for the ISSA Innovation Awards and implementing it on site enables more visitors to review and explore it live at the exhibition. ISSA is also a perfect place to showcase the service.
The exhibition attracts 25,000 people and the visitor flow is disruptive throughout the day, which puts pressure on cleaning. But handling that is easy if you get real-time information about what’s needed where and when”
, says Anna Königson Koopmans, European Marketing Manager for Tork Solutions. 

About the study

The before and after study at IKSU Sport has been executed by ScandInfo on commission by SCA. The study consists of observation studies and interviews before and after implementation of Tork EasyCube at the IKSU Sport facility with 20,000 visitors/week. Before and after implementation 24 hours of observation (4 shifts over 3 days) and 9 interviews with cleaning staff and facility management have been carried out. The results have been compared between the two time periods. In addition, based on data from the Tork EasyCube system, the time when dispensers are out or almost out of refills, have been analyzed and compared. For this analysis, data from March in 2015 (before implementation) has been compared to data from the same month in 2016 (after implementation). 

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About Tork®

The Tork brand offers professional hygiene products and services to customers ranging from restaurants and healthcare facilities to offices, schools and industries. Products include dispensers, paper towels, toilet tissue, soap, napkins, and industrial and kitchen wipers. Through expertise in hygiene, functional design and sustainability, Tork has become a market leader. Tork is a global brand of SCA, and a committed partner to customers in over 80 countries. To keep up with the latest Tork news and innovations, please visit: 

About SCA

SCA is a leading global hygiene and forest products company. The Group develops and produces sustainable personal care, tissue and forest products. Sales are conducted in about 100 countries under many strong brands, including the leading global brands TENA and Tork, and regional brands, such as Libero, Libresse, Lotus, Nosotras, Saba, Tempo and Vinda. As Europe’s largest private forest owner, SCA places considerable emphasis on sustainable forest management. The Group has about 44,000 employees. Sales in 2014 amounted to approximately SEK 104bn (EUR 11.4bn). SCA was founded in 1929, has its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, and is listed on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm. For more information, visit