The Value of Providing Outcomes via Digital Technology in the Chemical Industry
Hagleitner Hygiene International GmbH is a family owned Austrian firm. It produces and sells professional hygiene products including sanitizers, dispensers and paper towels. The company is always looking for ways to improve its products. For example, it was one of the early adopters of touchless technology in its products. This improved washroom hygiene.
The Need for New Business Models
Just like any chemical company nowadays, Hagleitner has had to rethink its business model. The Internet of Things and hyperconnectivity have made old business models outdated. Competition is growing, with new players entering the market. Customers are more demanding. Sustainability is important, both as a selling point to customers and to follow new laws. Product life cycles are growing shorter. As a result, just offering a product is no longer enough. Chemical companies that want to remain competitive need a new approach. They need to understand how to improve their customers’ value chains. Instead of providing individual products or services, they now have to offer complete outcomes.
The Washroom That Tells You When It Needs Servicing
Washrooms in workplaces and public spaces need proper service and maintenance. Otherwise, germs and bacteria can spread and make people sick. The CDC offers information about hand washing. Hand washing reduces the number of people who get ill with diarrhea by 31 percent. 58 percent fewer people with weakened immune systems contract diarrheal illness. And 21 percent fewer people fall ill with respiratory illnesses like colds.
While Hagleitner provided quality products, it realized it could offer customers an improved outcome. One of the problems with restrooms is knowing when dispensers need refilling. Without enough sanitizer and paper towels, hygiene immediately suffers. Empty batteries and broken equipment are also a problem. There’s a lack of insight into when washrooms need servicing. This can cause companies to schedule maintenance more often than needed, or not enough.
Hagleitner decided to enhance its customers’ value chains by simplifying operations. This would give their customers a competitive advantage. It needed to create an innovative system that could improve efficiency and save costs.
Hagleitner had already placed sensors in its dispensers to enable touchless use. The next step was to develop a way to measure product use and analyze the resulting data. The company worked with SAP to develop an integrated system to do this.It built sensors and radio based communicators into every dispenser and faucet. These count every towel used or shot of soap dispensed. They also measure the battery levels of the dispensers. Plus, they provide information about wear and tear. The built in communicators send the collected data to an onsite base station using a radio frequency system. The system then sends it on to the cloud. Hagleitner uses an SAP product called senseMANAGEMENT to analyze the information and user behavior.
Thanks to the partnership with SAP, Hagleitner can offer more than hygiene products. It provides a complete solution that alerts facility managers to when dispensers need refilling. Scheduling service becomes easier, because managers know when to send their cleaning crew. This results in time and cost savings.
Analysis of the collected data allows managers to pinpoint when they’ll need new products. This reduces inventory and makes just in time order of products possible. Wear and tear data allows managers to repair or replace equipment before it breaks down. The collected data also offers insights into user behavior. This is critical in certain types of organizations. Hospitals, clinics and restaurants need their staff to disinfect their hands after using the rest room. They need an accurate overview of how many of their staff follow this guideline. This makes it easier to create more effective strategies to encourage hand washing.
ECJ reports that facility managers can view all the information on their smart phones. That means they can maintain oversight of their properties at all times, no matter where they are.
The Hospital of the Future
The public hospital in Austrian town Zell am See was recently modernized. Hagleitner upgraded a total of 800 disinfecting and washroom dispensers for the hospital. They now include the senseMANAGEMENT system. As a result, the hospital is better able to maintain the washrooms and ensure dispensers are full at all times. Plus, management has trustworthy information about hand washing. That means it’s possible to develop targeted processes to improve compliance.
Win a Competitive Edge with a Successful Business Ecosystem
According to Eamonn Kelly, business ecosystems are opportunities for companies to become more competitive. One of the most important aspects of Hagleitner’s new approach is the creation of a business ecosystem. Chemical companies need a high return on assets (ROA). Yet capital investments remain risky for many companies. To keep costs low, Hagleitner outsourced the IT part of the project to SAP. Moreover, it created a system that allows customers to provide their own staff for maintenance. As a result, Hagleitner provides a high performance outcome at a low risk to itself.