How Automation is Changing FM Forever with Jeff Schrantz of Avidbots





Summary:

On this episode of FM Evolution, host Shawn Black sits down with Jeff Schrantz, VP of Global Sales and Marketing at Avidbots, the inventor and manufacturing company for Neo the autonomous floor-scrubbing robot. With an extensive background in sales, Jeff and Avidbots have made it their goal to double the size of the organization year after year, and they have achieved it repeatedly. Throughout the episode, Shawn and Jeff discuss the factors behind the shift to automation, the change automation has gone through, the future of automation, and how it benefits FMs.

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Show Notes:

(0:54) Introduction to Jeff

(4:28) Driving Factor behind Automation

(6:10) Change in Automation

(7:33) How Automation Benefits FMs

(14:02) Automation Alienating the Human Workforce

(19:09) Advice for FMs Implementing Automation

(22:22) How FMs Are Trained about Automation

(24:45) Best Way for FMs to Roll Out Automation

(27:08) How Automation Is Being Used

(32:07) Future of Automation

Links:

Shawn Black

Jeff Schrantz

Avidbots

Quotes:

“We’re not looking to replace humans. We’re looking to make humans more productive in an environment…We believe that we are actually raising the productivity of the workers…not infringing on their humanness. We think there is an additive effect, not a replacing effect.” - Jeff Schrantz, (14:43)

“The market is shifting toward automation that allows humans to focus on tasks that require dexterity and decision making…and that’s where humans perform best. Most businesses can identify activities in their organization in their day-to-day operations that can only be done by humans.” - Jeff Schrantz, (17:05)

“Education is critical. If you’re getting pushback internally, it’s an opportunity to further educate your workforce on the benefits and how they can work alongside this new piece of technology. It’s not enough for the executive team to bring the technology into the facility…there’s got to be buy-in all the way down to the people that actually put their hands on the technology.” - Jeff Schrantz, (25:00)

“It’s about bringing down the barriers so people are not threatened by technology…It’s about educating from the top to bottom… that’s ultimately how you get to success. When people are committed to the success of this technology, it’ll be successful.” - Jeff Schrantz, (26:03)

How Automation is Changing FM Forever

On this episode of FM Evolution, host Shawn Black sits down with Jeff Schrantz, VP of Global Sales and Marketing at Avidbots, the inventor and manufacturing company for Neo the autonomous floor-scrubbing robot. With an extensive background in sales, Jeff and Avidbots have made it their goal to double the size of the organization year after year, and they have achieved it repeatedly. Throughout the episode, Shawn and Jeff discuss the factors behind the shift to automation, the change automation has gone through, the future of automation, and how it benefits FMs.

Driving Factor behind Automation and How It Benefits FMs

With the rising cost of labor and labor shortages, the marketplace doesn’t have any other choice than to shift to automation. It’s costly to train people, and it’s costly to onboard new staff, however, the jobs these people need to perform are critical to the success of the operation. There’s a high degree of focus on the activities that can be performed by only humans. So, where automation can take over is the shift that’s taking place.

There are few businesses that are fully staffed and have a clear-cut plan of how to keep them clean. FMs are struggling with labor, and they know they need to clean their facility more often than they are. When it comes to the safety and health of employees and the environment they work in, can it ever be too clean? With every facility they are in, especially the large facilities, they have to get it clean, and they simply don't have the bodies to do it.

Automation Alienating the Human Workforce

A lot of the pushback that we see in adopting automation into a workforce is caused by the fear of the unknown. To combat this, there has to be a certain amount of in-depth training for associates that are going to be interacting with the technology. Workers fear that they are going to be replaced by intelligent technology, however, once they understand the benefits of automation, they start to realize that robots are a part of the team rather than a replacement.

“It’s about bringing down the barriers so people are not threatened by technology…It’s about educating from the top to bottom… that’s ultimately how you get to success. When people are committed to the success of this technology, it’ll be successful.” - Jeff Schrantz, (26:03)

How FMs Are Trained about Automation

Market research and attending trade shows like ISSA or Interclean are key to getting yourself educated on automation. It’s extremely beneficial to stop and be open-minded and imagine how a certain technology has the potential to fit your business. For Avidbot specifically, the customer success program is made up of a team of experts that are with you from day one. They are there to ensure you have the best experience every time you press go on your robot. Avidbots provides training onsite, and they ask the questions, “What’s your greatest fear?” and “What’s your worst experience in the past?” Then they tell you how they would handle it and how it will be different with Avidbots.

How Automation Is being Used

A lot can be done with automation because there’s no decision-making or dexterity required. Robots are scanning, sorting, cleaning, delivering, etc. and taking on tasks that can be done without supervision. There is plenty of work for humans out there, but there is also plenty of work for robots to do. The future of automation is that the value placed on humans is going to increase rather than decrease because there are some jobs where human interaction is necessary to complete. As a result, there is going to be more value placed on what those humans can do. Let the robots complete the menial tasks, and let the humans complete the jobs that require more finesse and mastery.

Want to Learn More?

Check out the ConnexFM, ISSA Show, Interclean, and MODEX conferences.

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