Go Digital to Keep Your Team Safe

A company fights COVID-19 by an app that digitizes checklists for cleaning and maintenance.

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(Image courtesy of MaintainX.)

(Image courtesy of MaintainX.)

Sanitization might not be sexy—but getting effective hygiene and cleaning protocols in place for industries has never been more important. Without rigorous, verifiable sanitation procedures and compliance with the Standard of Care, safely reopening in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic will be incredibly difficult for businesses ranging from warehouses and factories to hospitals, hotels, and restaurants. In short, safety is becoming an issue managed from the top.

Unfortunately, both industrial facilities and other businesses still chiefly rely on basic checklists and sign-off sheets to manage cleaning and maintenance operations. You only have to visit a fast-food restaurant’s bathroom in the wake of a crowded lunch rush to see how ineffective that approach can be. In chaotic or busy times, basic cleaning and maintenance is one of the first things to slip—and while that is bad enough during regular business operations, in the wake of a major pandemic it’s a serious threat to both worker safety and operational effectiveness.

MaintainX, based in San Francisco, California, is bringing mobile job functions such as cleaning and maintenance into the digital era with a powerful, feature-rich app that brings mobile teams into the connected digital workforce—and makes it easier than ever to stay on top of the routine but vital tasks required to operate facilities safely during the COVID-19 era.

“As the pandemic began, we saw many previously technologically underserved but essential workers—from maintenance technicians to EHS directors—win their rightful recognition as essential parts of our economy. At MaintainX, we are now seeing neglected functions such as maintenance and sanitation gaining similar recognition as a vital part of business operations,” says CEO Chris Turlica. “Bringing mobile workers into the digital era is one of the defining challenges of our time, and we’re one of the few tech startups that’s paying attention to the needs of this vitally important sector of the workforce.”

During the pandemic, MaintainX has been making its app available for free to hospitals and other vital service providers in a bid to help keep America’s first responders safe and healthy. The company has also been making detailed industry-specific information on effective sanitation available for free, in a bid to help organizations including schools, restaurants, and hotels reopen safely.

The biggest impact could come as the country’s factories, warehouses, and industrial facilities reopen. “Factories can’t afford to drop the ball on maintenance and cleaning, and while old-school approaches such as sneeze-guards and social-distancing are important, they aren’t enough,” Turlica explains. “We need to use every tool at our disposal to ensure our facilities are clean and safe, and that means leveraging Industry 4.0 tools and digital connectivity.”

A wide range of tasks, from basic cleaning operations to high-level safety and maintenance checks, can be managed using the MaintainX app. Unlike passive paper checklists, MaintainX lets managers and employees set automated reminders to ensure that vital tasks are carried out on schedule, and provides rigorous logging to provide complete, verifiable records.

That’s especially important as workers and unions seek reassurance that managers are handling health and safety issues effectively. In recent weeks, some plants have seen shutdowns after managers struggled to demonstrate to workers’ satisfaction that equipment used by sick employees had been properly cleaned. With factories looking to get production back up to full speed, having verifiable records of cleaning and sanitation procedures is just as important as proving that heavy machinery has been safely maintained. 

(Image courtesy of MaintainX.)

(Image courtesy of MaintainX.)

MaintainX’s mission to capture new efficiencies by digitizing the mobile workforce dovetails neatly with factories’ efforts to create digital twins of both their assets and operations in the cloud. Just as there is a value in digitally tracking and modeling the performance of machinery, there’s also value in having virtual records of the movement and activity of workers, Turlica explains.

“People are vital assets too, and they’re a lot less predictable than machinery, so figuring out where they are and what they’re doing is the only way to optimize operations,” Turlica says. “That’s especially important as factories struggle with coronavirus outbreaks: if you know a worker’s sick but don’t know where they’ve been or what equipment they’ve used, it’s hard to break the chain of transmission.”

The MaintainX app is trusted by franchises of food-service giants such as McDonald’s and Burger King, hospitality locations for Marriott and Hilton, and industrial leaders including Ergon, Quikrete, and Univar. Collectively, the company’s customers have eliminated 283 trees’ worth of paper checklists and saved more than 172,000 worker-hours thanks to efficiencies generated by the company’s digital-first mobile connectivity. 

More information about the MaintainX app can be found on their website.