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Clearlink Services is eyeing New Zealand as its next market outside
of Australia, with plans to bring its range of robotic scrubbers and
sweepers, as well its newly launched VR training system, to NZ from
early next year.
Clearlink Services founder and managing director Fred Itaoui told
INCLEAN NZ, the idea behind Clearlink stemmed from his 20 years'
experience in the cleaning industry, having begun his career as a cleaner
before moving up the ranks to senior management roles including
general manager of former cleaning company, Swan Services.
"The idea behind Clearlink was to be the company the industry
was missing," Itaoui explained. "The industry has always done the
same, mundane things. Cleaning has always lacked innovation, not
just in equipment but in the way the industry approaches things. The
customer wants innovation but in cleaning it's
all bottom line driven.
"Cleaning companies always sell themselves
short to customers. We all lower the bidding
against each other rather than looking at how
other industries behave and come together. In
retail, if one petrol station puts up the price,
they all put up the price. Whereas in cleaning
if one company puts up the price everyone else
drops their prices."
"I've seen it from the cleaner's side and from
the client and management side, so the idea
was to supply a service and solution to cleaning companies that makes
them innovative because that's what the customer wants."
Itaoui plans to introduce Clearlink's current range of robotic
scrubbers and sweepers as well as the German-based HEFTER
cleaning range to New Zealand from January 2018, with the company
already in talks with local building owners.
“I introduced the frst robotic scrubber in Australia four years ago,
but the cleaning companies weren't interested so I went to the building
sets sights on NZ
Clearlink Services is set to bring its innovative
approach to cleaning to New Zealand from next
year. INCLEAN NZ editor Claire Hibbit caught up with
Clearlink Services managing director Fred Itaoui
ahead of the company's expansion.
owners instead. They loved the concept and were willing to embrace
innovation. Since then it's always been our strategy to approach building
owners frst because they’re the drivers of technology,” said Itaoui.
In Australia, Clearlink will broaden its robotics range later this
year, introducing a feet of medium-to-large-sized scrubbers, ideal for
facilities between 1500sqm and 2000sqm, as well as its frst robotic car
“In fve to seven years the cleaning industry will all be robotics.
A major issue the industry suffers with today is the amount of
transitional workers. But I think new technologies like robotics upskills
cleaners and makes them more professional.
"It's my opinion that if [business owners] have
an innovative approach to new technology,
they don't have to lose their workforce.
Instead, they can upskill them and even keep
them there for longer."
In NZ, Clearlink will initially target
universities, hospitals and shopping centres --
its core industries in Australia. The company
is also seeking a local partner for its newly
launched robotic waste solution, currently
being piloted by city councils in Australia.
The Sydney-based company is also set to move into the virtual
reality (VR) space, designing a VR-based training system for frontline
cleaning staff. The online training system offers basic introduction
courses, or can be tailored to a specifc facility.
Wearing a VR headset, users are able view the building's interior
prior to entering and undertake practical tasks. The program can also
be applied to a user's smartphone or tablet. The training sessions are
recorded and are able to be accessed by the employer.
"At the moment there's no data that tells an employer if the staff
member has been properly inducted. With our technology, the
employer is able to see when the cleaner logged on and how long they
spent completing the course.
"Using our VR program, the cleaner is able to virtually enter a
building, visit the cleaning room, pick up a trolley, vacuum -- even see
where they power points are. This way they're properly trained and
feel a bit more comfortable starting work in a new environment."
The technology is currently being trialed at a handful of commercial
buildings in Australia, with the launch scheduled for January 2018.
"Training is lacking in the industry and it's hard because for many
English is a second language. Induction courses today tick the boxes,
but do staff really understand? Being able to visualise the theory reduces
"It's always been our
strategy to approach
building owners first
because we believe
they're the drivers of
Clearlink's VR training
technology live in action
at the ISSA Cleaning &
Hygiene Expo in Sydney
The Clearlink Services
team at the ISSA Expo
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