Category: Uncategorized

Peppermint Robots: From Prototype to Production

The journey of Peppermint started in early 2019.

The first few steps included in understanding the housekeeping and cleaning operations at commercial and public spaces and how it could be improved and optimized. Our findings led us to understanding cleaning workflows which could be upgraded with a robotic cleaning operation for achieving better cleaning and optimized operations.

That’s when the idea of Peppermint’s Industrial Floor Cleaning Robots was seeded. Early prototyping started in May 2019 in our fabrication unit at Pune. With a small team of 3, Proto-1 was built in June 2020 which gave us deep learnings and set tone to the subsequent prototypes in coming months.

Our journey was soon validated with support from Nidhi-Prayas, a startup support program devised by “Department of Science & Technology” and managed by “SINE-IIT Bombay”.
Prayas gave us access to the rich ecosystem at SINE-IIT Bombay and resources to brings ideas to reality.

This was soon followed by pre-seed fundraise round led by Mr Naveen Kshatriya, Former MD of Castrol Asia and ANZ along with other Angel investors who mentored us into achieve the right product-market fit.

Fast forward to November 2019, when we got incubated at Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, IIT Bombay. (The incubator at IIT Bombay). SINE remains our HQ and we are ever so grateful for the wonderful entrepreneurial ecosystem and support we receive at SINE.

Earlier this year in February 2020, we launched our first product, Peppermint Pro Floor Cleaning Robot at Victor Menezes Centre in IIT-Bombay.

Peppermint is designed to upgrade the cleaning at commercial and public spaces like Airports, Industries, Warehouses, Hotels and more. It delivers the best in class cleaning with the Dynamic Pressure, complete autonomous operations with docking station for seamless cleaning and best in class uptime with upto 8 hours of continuous operations per charge

Through the Covid-19 lockdown, the team started working on adding a fitment that makes Peppermint Pro the only robot in India to do a Triple Action Clean – Scrubbing, UV Bath and Drying. The benefits of UV Light have come up as a great fillip to battling the pandemic but for us it goes beyond that to bringing sanitizing functions to everyday cleaning operations.

Through this journey, in May, we were joined by Venture Catalysts, India’s first, largest and pioneering integrated incubator and accelerator platform who have invested and led the seed round along with Mr. Naveen Kshatriya and some other angels.

Coverage for the same can be read here

At Peppermint, we intend to strengthen the team and expand to new territories as we scale production and more depth to the product offering. We are highly committed to the culture we are building at the team and keeping the customer at the centre of our universe to build the best service robots!

We are thankful and grateful to all the supporters, friends , customers and well-wishers of Peppermint. Onwards to building bots!

Click here to join our mailing list where we share more updates about our bots!

Thought Leadership ft. Sunil C. Panchbhai

All eyes are on the Manufacturing Sector and a lot at Peppermint depends on the same. We’ve been actively meeting [virtually] people and asking questions and getting insights.

One of our best interactions recently was with Mr. Sunil C. Panchbhai, who had visited our factories earlier this year and we had kept in touch post that as well.

Sunil C. Panchbhai

Mr. Sunil is the founder of AscenTrack Consulting, Pune, and possesses almost 3 decades of work experience. An alumnus from VNIT (VRCE) in Mechanical engineering, he persuaded MBA later and holds Six Sigma Black Belt. Prior to founding his consulting company, he has headed Product Development(R&D)  for consumer Durable sector MNCs like LG Electronics, Electrolux and Indian companies like Voltas, after starting his career in Thermax, Pune.

Mr. Sunil’s company provides technical consulting service to 3 majors out of Top Ten Indian Companies, in addition to few local and overseas organizations. He is associated with technical bodies and shares his experience. Sunil is on the Board Of Studies (Mechanical Engineering) for VNIT, Nagpur, mentoring start-ups at SINE in IIT-B Mumbai, and been on Academic Councils for Engineering Colleges. He holds Secretary Position for Process Industries India Technical Centre, IMechE (UK).

Here are the excerpts:

  1. How does delegation of work in real-world business work when remote working. Would you consider technology as an enabler or a bottleneck?

The technology had reduced all barriers of connectivity related to business work. The new platforms for meeting are creating and getting more and more developed to a real office like environment for performing office work. The development of technology indeed is an enabler to improve the efficiency, it takes seamless connect, flexibility of working hours, sharing of documents with ease. In addition it is increasing efficiency by avoiding the NVA (Non Value Added) time of commuting, traffic jams and fatigue thereby.

2. In the post-COVID-19 times ahead, how would you gauge hygiene at home and at work?

Thanks to TV and social media information during lockdown period, especially for a creating a great level of awareness (Leaving apart the confusions in some conflicting shares) there is fairly good understanding of the hygiene and Do’s and Don’ts.

The households will follow the Indian way of Back to Basics concept; ie footwear limitation inside house, cleaning of fruits/vegetables with extra care and food preparation too. Household helps will also be strictly asked to follow the hygiene norms.

At the work, it will be less dependence on canteen food (more of home food), entry points with all sanitizing cares as we see. However, the meeting culture will change, including number of attendees and only need or requirement based. The manpower density will be reviewed for working, if adhering to new distancing norms that will make a review of WFH and Office attendance routines. E trainings and learning shall be more and also the E reviews by management.

3. What is your strategy to address automation/technology at work in the times to come?

The technology has given an excellent access to understand the environment in this time. Review of core strength, added with adapted/ gained strength to Survive first, then Stabilize, Secure market/profit and Spread (growth). Continuous review of strategies is required as the environment and psyche of the customers is changed and shall keep changing over a period of time. In addition to traditional ways, more stress on innovative ways for product or services is required to quickly adapt to changed environment.

So staying in connect continuously with market, customer, understand the changing requirements of products or services and continuously upgrading self will be helping in coming times.

4. In your journey, what makes a Manufacturing company successful in India?

Being proactive is the key, in my view. This starts with customer requirements anticipation, reaction faster and staying lean. In other words, the serving time to customer requirements to be minimum for your products or services, ease of manufacturing and total Turn Around Time to be as low as possible and at the lowest cost of manufacturing. Efficient and customer oriented designs, ease of manufacturability, increased automations will automatically lead to Quality Product or Service to make it successful in short or long run.

Off Couse, management soft skill such as leadership and teamwork are required to accomplish these initiatives on continual basis.

5. What are the Top-3 learnings for you through the lockdown period? How do you intend to inculcate the same at work?

  1. Importance of work-life balance: You are actually able to manage the work and also the family time. Staying all the time together strengthens the bonding, as we always try to do in management workshops for team building
  2. Learning is continuous: E-learning has made it easy to access many courses of your interest and profession. It not only sharpens your tool but gives good satisfaction. I could also do a few certification courses, including learning foreign language basics.
  3. Connect is life: It’s the most important point from the biz point of view. Connecting to old acquaintances, friends, families, strengthens the relationships and also brings opportunities for business. It also helps to revitalize and helps to bring up a solution to complex situations.

6. Do you think, self-driving cars, service robots, etc are closer to reality? How many years do you think before these become mainstay and would you like it to happen?

Self-driving cars are almost a reality now, we know about a food delivery trial car in the US , which is working for almost over a year now. Technology has taken it to the intelligence of the human level. However it will also be dependent on the many other aspects as a discipline, the environment in which it is working. So before it takes real commercial level.  I guess it will be a decade from now, that acceptance mode should be supported with discipline changes.

Service robots can be sooner implemented on mass scale – say 3-to 5 years from now. It will be great to see this happen. Firstly, there is less risk, cost efficiency and almost it answers drive of manpower optimization across industry or establishments. In the current situation, the concern of cleanliness and hygiene will be USPs for the service robots. At a later time, the household helps can be replaced with household robots with more capabilities developed and a good amount of AI. The way computerization has not affected clerical jobs on a large scale but opened more employments, similar will happen to the concern of job loss of helps at home.

7. What are your top 3 books that you will recommend to the readers?

In the context of industry and present situation I will suggest as below

  1. The Goal (Eliyahu Goldratt): For the struggling enterprises, look for opportunities in a weak situation, with teamwork and implementing manufacturing excellence, turn that into success. Also the book touches the point of family importance that takes attention to work-life balance.
  • Good to Great (Jim Collins) : For the established players, it’s not just the matter of existence now, but to demonstrate the thought leadership. Learn that, how others have done, and grown. It can help with few tips to overcome the current situation for sure.
  • The 5 AM Club (Robin Sharma): For aspiring individuals, I will recommend, it will speak about self-discipline and maximizing personal level efficiency with a commitment and putting that extra hour.

Thank you so much, Mr. Sunil for sharing your views and I’m sure the readers loved reading them as well.

Incase you’d like to read other articles in our Thought Leadership Series click here.

Thought Leadership ft. Krish Hanumanthu

Since the lockdown has started, I have wondered about the process of hiring at length and wondered how remote hiring works and what are the changes affecting the HR industry.

We found Krish from Acengage to answer the most pressing questions!

Krish Hanumanthu

Krish Hanumanthu is the Co-founder of AceNgage, an award-winning HR intelligence company specializing in decision support services for employee engagement & retention.
AceNgage provides the necessary power tools of information to Line Managers and HR leaders to uncover and understand latent employee-related challenges and assist in making evidence-based decisions to improve talent acquisition, employee engagement, and retention. AceNgage assists client organizations in providing high-quality feedback for improving the quality and implementation of decisions taken and assist in monitoring the implementation of these decisions.

Krish enjoys playing squash, trips on Calvin & Hobbes and counts running a full marathon among his recent achievements

Here are the excerpts from our conversation with Krish.


1.       How does delegation of work in real-world business work when remote working. Would you consider technology as an enabler or a bottleneck?

Before I speak about delegation let me touch upon something that will increasingly become very important in remote working and that’s trust. Earlier if an employee wouldn’t answer his phone, you’d assume that he is busy. Today you are suspicious that he’s s probably whiling away his time watching Netflix or involved in some personal chores. I’ve heard employees tell us that sometimes Managers call multiple times which wouldn’t happen earlier. Low trust will make the relationship toxic. So, before we start delegating we should be conscious that things are different. Setting clear expectations with realistic timelines is a good start.

As far as technology is concerned, there are several delegation tools that can help Managers watch what their teams progress, on an ongoing basis. This can help them understand how they are coping and can pitch in at the right time if required. Technology will always be an enabler but depending on it entirely will be foolhardy. Healthy communication will always be critical to success. Even the best technology can’t over rule the need for trust and effective communication from both sides

2.       In the post-COVID-19 times ahead, how would you gauge hygiene at home and at work?

Until the vaccine comes out we’d rather be safe than sorry. At home, many of us already following some strict rules. Masks and sanitizers have become the new norm. At work, companies will have to take a few additional precautions. Social distancing and providing a hygiene environment will become extremely important and they will need to invest more in keeping floors, workstations, table tops metal surfaces, desks and toilets clean. Temperature checking could become mandatory.In my opinion, the general care& concern towards cleanliness will only increase going forward and rightly so.

3.       HR Tech has evolved in the last 5 years. Which are some of the companies that have made an impression on you in automating HR? 

If I were to answer this question 3 months later, I’d have slipped AceNgage into the list as our first product (A location-agnostic – Onboarding solution) would be out by then.  Considering that we are in the feedback space my favorites are Office vibe and Cultureamp. Xoxoday a cloud-based SaaS rewards platform that have recently entered the ‘pulse surveys’ space is doing a fab job too.  Among the HR automation companies, I’ve heard some good things about Zoho.

4.       If you were given a choice between high-accuracy or high-speed when planning work, what would you choose and why?

For me speed is fine but accuracy is everything. Having said that both are important and in the world we live in, everyone wants things as of yesterday. While the speed of delivery can be managed by setting the right expectations, accuracy is about ensuring that there is a ‘0’ error. I’d rather buy more time than deliver something that’s inaccurate. Inaccuracy also leads to lower trust and that is not helpful in any relationship. It would be tough to pick one over the other as it all depends on the circumstances but if I had to, it would be accuracy

5.       What are the Top learnings for you through the lockdown period? How do you intend to inculcate the same at work?

AceNgage has been built as a 100% work from home company and to that extent, we are used to working from home. The 3 things I have learned from the lockdown are:

There’s no point worrying, for things to change you must do something about it

When the realization of the impact that the lockdown would have on the work front, dawned upon us, the first reaction was worry and I remembered my ex-boss and an amazing mentor telling me once, that, by me worrying about something, the problem won’t go away. It was important for us to relook at what we were doing and reinvent ourselves. It was important to embrace the change. Change is the only constant!

Some other key learnings were:

1.       To take a hard look at all the things we do and how we spend our time – Prioritise on what’s important and what’s not

2.       Focus on softer elements – Be compassionate and considerate to everyone and everything that’s happening around us and be grateful for the things that we fortunately have

3.       There is always a way – We just need to find it

Lastly, in the end, everything will be fine if it’s not fine it’s not the end 🙂

6.       Jobs in Automation have seen an uptick in the last few years. With a 5-year horizon in mind, what are your recommendations to young students studying in this field?

The future will be about automation and robotics and we will definitely see many more people shaping their careers in this space. Broadly speaking, as the country progresses there will be many opportunities in various fields. What’s important is to be passionate about what one is doing, that’s what will set the winners apart.

7.       Finally, your Top 3 Productivity Applications for Work.

Mostly its Gsuite & MS Office for us

Thank you so much, Krish for sharing your views and I’m sure the readers loved reading them as well.

Incase you’d like to read other articles in our Thought Leadership Series click here.

Thought Leadership ft. Kartik Johari

We have had the privilege of speaking with a diverse set of Thought Leaders for our series and this week is no different. This time we caught up with Kartik Johari from Nobel Hygiene, the undisputed leader in the adult diaper category and the only Indian manufacturer of both adult and baby diapers.

Kartik Johari of Nobel Hygiene

Kartik completed his MBA in Marketing from the University of Pittsburgh, Katz Graduate School of Business. After five years of experience in the Marketing, Sales and Product development in various companies, he joined Nobel Hygiene as the Vice President -Marketing & Commerce, in 2014 with the aim of learning scaling, while increasing awareness for adult diapers. He credits all his learnings about Indian business to the company; and learns more from each market visit. His first formative experiences in sales left him with a deep appreciation of the scale in India, and how “dhanda” is done on the ground.

Excerpts from our conversation with Kartik.

1. How does delegation of work in real-world business work when remote working. Would you consider technology as an enabler or a bottleneck?

A: Technology is definitely an enabler for effective delegation. Actual practices may not have changed much, however effective quantification of tasks is now a must. Minor points that are usually quickly resolved in an in-person meeting, now have to be spelled out. Technology helps keep track of all such variables, and also helps in assimilating/disseminating information quickly.

Another psychological change is an explicit feeling of trust. As things are not in eye-range now, you must have faith in your employees to effectively deliver on their KPIs. For an empowered autonomous team, there are no major changes in working. Unfortunately, not many teams can claim to function so effectively 🙂

2. In the post-Covid-19 times ahead, how would you gauge hygiene at home and at work?

A: By being obsessive about it, and by learning constantly. One needs to objectively identify ALL external contact points, and understand the basics of virology. Effective hygiene is impossible until you understand how even a glancing smidge can transfer upwards of 2L viruses. There are dozens of contact points that people don’t acknowledge, like their phone surfaces, car keys, tap handles, surfaces of bags, and even masks.

Additionally, there comes the realization that 100% constant disinfection of your external locus is impossible. Thus, even more, stringent control of personal hygiene is required, with mandatory hand washes, temperature checks, and social distancing measures being implemented at work. Similarly, all processes carry over at home, apart from social distancing. 

3. What is your strategy to address automation/technology at work in the times to come?

A: Thankfully, we are fairly comfortable with technology at work. We deployed SAP last year, and everyone has proactively mastered WFH’s best practices. We share the responsibility of our sales staff, who are true #CoronaWarriors, and are spending their days in the market, fulfilling the demand for our essential products. Their work is also enabled on their SFA app and we are getting a positive response in terms of cleanliness of data & transparency. 

4. If you were given a choice between high-accuracy or high-speed when planning work, what would you choose and why?

A: Every meat deserves it’s own bread :). If the task is payroll management, I would choose accuracy. If the task is bank liasoning, I will choose speed. There have been marketing campaigns we’ve turned around in 4 hours, and there have been logistical challenges where we have utilized 2 days to just cross-check the data. It all depends.

5. What are the Top-3 learnings for you through the lockdown period? How do you intend to inculcate the same at work?

A: Your mind is dependent on your body – I am sure the time to introspect has driven a majority of people straight towards improving their physical fitness. And the realisation is stark, that your brain can’t truly function without a healthy, rested body. We will do our best to support the fitness efforts of our employees in a post COVID world.

B: The Importance of a Safety Net – As a company in healthcare/disposable hygiene, we are in the 1% of the market that should pass through relatively unscathed. For large swathes of the country, this is going to be a devastating year. People and companies are going to be deracinated. Thus, everyone reading this should aspire to always have a 6-9 month, liquid (not alcohol ;)) safety buffer. This is the base amount required to weather many of life’s unforeseen impacts.

C: Humans can adapt – A majority of our urban population has rapidly adjusted to this new life. WFH, no alcohol, no restaurants, no maids, and home-helps. Never forget humanity’s strongest superpower, our drive to persevere. 

Consequently, push yourself outside your bubbles. You will adapt. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.

6. Do you think, self-driving cars, service robots, etc are closer to reality? How many years do you think before these become mainstay and would you like it to happen?

A: I think scaling such world-changing technologies will come faster than any of us can imagine. As I said, we will adapt. Also, the delta of change has only increased. I concur with the hypothesis, that we’ll be in a very different world in 20 years. Our kids will complain of us not sending them to Mars for the weekend with their other friends, who have been there twice already 🙂

Thank you so much, Kartik for sharing your views and I’m sure the readers loved reading them as well.

Incase you’d like to read other articles in our Thought Leadership Series click here.

Thought Leadership ft. Rajashree Kakade

We are really excited to showcase today’s post as it concerns Education. Our Thought Leader for the day is Mrs. Rajashree Kakade.

Mrs. Rajashree Kakade

Mrs. Rajashree Kakade is a Director at Shantiniketan School in Kolhapur. She is of the belief that true education consists of the all-round development of a child’s personality and character in terms of body, mind and spirit. The success of Shantiniketan has given her power to dream of developing every child globally, who will be a winner in this competitive age. She places a high value on theory of ‘ Pursuit of Excellence’ & the school culture focuses on values, achievement & teamwork.

Here are the excerpts.

1. What are the top 3 things you see changing in the education sector in 2020?

  • There is no doubt that technology will have a huge impact on how education will be delivered and received. There will be a paradigm shift in a way students in India will learn henceforth.
  • Teachers will have to scale up their skills and move away from the traditional chalk and duster method of teaching to digital platforms.
  • All stakeholders, especially parents, will have to accept the changed learning scenario and adapt quickly to the new normal.

2. What additional measures safety and hygiene measures would Educational Institutions be taking in the immediate aftermath of COVID-19

We will have to take into account physical distancing needs and change classroom layouts wherever possible as and when schools reopen. We plan to undertake regular fumigation, sanitising of our school premises, and teach our students and staff the need for personal hygiene and cleanliness, at all times and building up immunity through exercise and healthy nutrition. Wearing masks may also be expedient while in school and while travelling by school buses.

3. Which industries in India do you see making the journey back to normalcy fast post the lockdown.

Agriculture, technology, medical industries will be the first to gear up. Hopefully, the rest of the industries will soon follow so as to avert a financial crisis and large-scale unemployment. We, in India, need to get back on our feet and become self-reliant in our industrial processes and each of us should promote ‘swadeshi’ as against ‘videshi’ consumerism and travel. We have immense and abundant resources and we need to use these prudently and effectively. With the second-largest population in the world there can be no dearth of talent or manpower and if we harness our energies collectively we can leverage this opportunity to offer our products competitively in the global market and become strong economically.

4. What are the Top-3 learnings for you through this lockdown period. What and how will you inculcate these at work, once back in action?

  • What my take away is that the virus is a great leveller. It knows no national boundaries, nor religion, colour, caste, economic or social status. It has brought the world to its knees in a matter of weeks. This has been singularly humbling.
  • We have been misusing and abusing the environment for so long that it is now payback time for humans. We need to sit up and proactively correct our wrongdoings. Furthermore, create awareness amongst the school community.
  • Human memory is notoriously short but the lessons that the virus has taught us should remain with us for a long time. It has forced us to take a reality check and we will all have to reset our lives and rejig our value systems at the earliest.

5. Finally both in terms of Education and its applications how do you see Robotics in the long term?

Machines /technology are a vital part of our lives. Machine learning is a huge part of education and will keep improving with time, the sooner we learn to incorporate them in our institutions the better our education will be. We need the cutting-edge technology that Robotics provides us. Robots will be working in close collaborations with humans in the near future and India needs to be in the creative mind space to make valuable contributions in the fields of Robotics.

Teaching Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in school will propel our students into a fast trajectory to innovate and stay ahead in the learning curve.

Thank you Mrs. Kakade for sharing your thoughts. We are sure people across sectors will closely follow these trends.

You can see all the posts from our Thought Leadership Series here.

Thought Leadership ft. Deepak Toshniwal from Deesha Foods

In this edition of our ongoing Thought Leadership series we caught up Mr. Deepak Toshniwal of Deesha Foods.

Deepak Toshniwal

Mr. Deepak Toshniwal is a Pharmaceutical Industry veteran who has heralded the launch of Pharmaceutical products in over 50 countries and served as the country head of Spanish pharma major. Currently, he serves as the CEO of Deesha Foods, a chocolate manufacturing company which makes over 230 types of chocolates. Never shying away from giving back, Mr. Toshniwal has been an active member of Rotary International for more than a decade with multiple awards to his name.

Excerpts from our talk with Mr. Deepak Toshniwal is mentioned below –

1. What are the top 3 things you see changing in Manufacturing once the lockdown is lifted?

Once the lockdown is lifted, manufacturing industries may take the following initiative

   1. INNOVATION- There will be more concentration on Innovation in their products, also a value addition in their products, so that they get a higher valuation of there products in the market 

   2. COST SAVINGS – Industry will move towards Automation to decreasing the manpower as a cost-cutting measure

   3. EXPORTS- As China has been delisted by many developed countries, the Manufacturing industry  of India has a great chance to exports  and increase their share in the Global market

2. What additional measures you reckon are going to be the new normal in the wake of Covid-19 for organisations which earlier wasn’t the case?

1. HYGIENE –  There will more precautions  and measures to maintain Hygiene on the premises also in the Manpower  working  in the Manufacturing industry especially

2. Insurance, Group Health Insurance for all employees

3. Key Man Insurance – All key man insurance for Directors of the company 

4. Webinars – for Fitness & Stress management  workshops

3. What steps are you taking as an Entrepreneur during the lockdown for your employees?

 INSURANCE- Health insurance must for each and every employee. We see that each and every employee along with his family members are safe as per health and gets adequate groceries and essentials products and services required.

In this period of Lockdown, we are giving special pieces of training to our employees to upgrade their knowledge professionally and personally 

4. Which industries in India do you see making the journey back to normalcy fast post the lockdown?

  1. PHARMACEUTICALS    
  2.  IT TECHNOLOGY  
  3.  FOOD   
  4.  Logistics 
  5.  Agro-based products

5. Finally, how does Covid-19 change the outlook on Robotics & Automation?

Great Opportunity for Robotics and  Automation after COVID-19 as per social distancing and Hygiene policies.

Also to save manpower usage, Robotics and Automation are going to play a crucial role to upgrade and update Industry values and policies.

EXPORTS- Robotics is going to play a major role in Exports. The fantastic market opportunity for Indian robotics cos of price, as the price would play a major role.

We thank Mr. Toshniwal for being a well-wisher of Peppermint from its inception and for his time for the Thought Leadership Series.

Thought Leadership Series is an ongoing initiative of Peppermint.

You might want to read the first post of this series featuring Kumud Bharti from JLL here.

Thought Leadership ft. Kumud Bharti of JLL

At Peppermint, we are starting a new series on Thought Leadership where we speak with industry experts and ask them their thoughts on the latest trends.

In the first edition, we spoke to Kumud Bharti from Jones Lang LaSalle.

Kumud Bharti, JLL
Kumud Bharti, JLL

Kumud is Innovation & PMO lead working with one of the largest global IT giants, a customer of Jones Lang LaSalle. As part of the Center of Excellence, her current role involves solution sourcing for Futuristic IFM solutions/ideas in the areas of Workplace & Human Experience. She works closely with the global innovation community and the local startup ecosystem for crowdsourcing ideas, defining problem statements, research, and product testing to scale-up solutions. Kumud is an IIM C alumnus, been part of the service industry for more than a decade and comes with cross-regional & cross-cultural work expertise.

We asked Kumud some questions on Facility Management, JLL & what’s next in Automation & Robotics.

Here are the excerpts

1. What are the top 3 things you see changing in Facility Management once the lockdown is lifted?

  1. Space design and layouts– With social distancing and WFH becoming the new normal, the current spaces, namely – agile, hot desking, and open plan will see a shift, be it in terms of desk density/sq. ft per workstation or consumption of huddle/collaborative spaces. The space layout will be re-imagined based on future business needs and the prevention of infection control.
  2. Technology and Automation- We will see increased adoption of automation and technology tools at sites, especially in the areas of delivering output when-labour-is-unavailable, thereby leading to enhanced business resilience and risk reduction. Everything from cleaning equipment to Smart HVAC systems, air purifiers to space disinfectants, and visitor management to security surveillance, the market pull could go up for technology and automation offerings.
  3. Human Experience & Employee Experience- In the interest of attracting and retaining talent, the  virtual experience” will gain more importance. With WFH emerging as the new norm, how do employers show care, connect, collaborate and take care of the wellbeing for employees while trying to make WFH experience as enriching and satisfying as operating out of physical workspaces? This conversation will grow louder in the coming months.

2. What additional measures you reckon are going to be the new normal in the wake of COVID-19 for organizations which earlier wasn’t the case?

While it’s difficult to envisage the future play up at this point as there is a dependency on how long the current state lasts and supply chains are kicked back in action, some additional measures could be seen and accepted as new normal are..

  1. Increased cyber-surveillance for right information dissemination, accessing employees’ travel history (with prior consent), or tracking real-time asset location will require more robust policies from information security and IT perspective.
  2. Contactless deliveries and tech adoption: Be it the way mailrooms, or traditional cafeterias operated, there is an increased need for the minimum “human touch and live interaction.” While both these values are big drivers of HX/UX and are here to stay, for the next few months reduced, or zero person-to-person contact is recommended as per WHO and local government guidelines. Hence, we could potentially see a boost to solutions in the areas of tech, automation, and robotics.
  3. Increased focus on safety with PPE and other safety equipment- There will be an influx of safety, wellness, and PPE for future preparedness and reinforcing BCP strategies for a pandemic or similar situations.
  4. New ways of waste management and cleaning- With the rise of everyday mask-wearing and the increased use of safety equipment, there will arise, a need for new methods and initiatives towards waste management. The current situation will also raise the bar for existing cleaning standards and output evidence thereof.

3. JLL is at the forefront of Facility Management Services. What steps are you taking at JLL managed properties during the lockdown?

At JLL, the health and well-being of all our employees, clients, supplier partners, and communities remain our top priority. We are adapting our services to meet the needs of our clients in this changing and challenging environment while complying with the guidance of local and global health authorities and governments.

 We stand ready to help clients by –

  1. Supporting their efforts to keep their employees safe by helping them implement infectious disease outbreak plans and developing and executing their real estate business continuity plans.
  2. Providing expert insights and analysis to help clients understand the evolving impacts on the global economy, real estate market, and relevant industries.
  3. Adapting and developing services to help clients respond to the immediate crisis, to prepare to re-enter the workplace, and to reimagine future performance.

4. Which industries in India do you see making the journey back to normalcy fast post the lockdown?

The shift in the behaviours will be seen in the form of- a shift from shareholder management to stakeholder management and the whole value chain. A very important shift would be inwards- local for local. Ripe and conducive environment for local start-ups and businesses.

Research/consulting reports and stock performance trends guide towards some industry segments standing at a firmer position for making their journey back quicker.

  1. Pharma is currently and will continue to see the rise with increased investment and medical equipment manufacturing. While Edelweiss securities says “the pandemic caused severe supply-side disruptions in various sectors, earnings will be cut by 10-15%”. Pharma has emerged as huge contender to drive the next leg of the rally, in anticipation pharma stocks have seen a huge run-up in the last few days.
  2. AI, Tech and Automation– while there is a prediction of IT spend declining by 3-4% this year, there will be increased demand for solutions running on AI, machine learning, and Automation of services to reduce human dependency and enhance data accuracy.
  3. Food and Beverage will be seen to recover faster as supply chains will open as soon as the lockdown lifts. To serve current consumer needs, AgriTech startups will get a platform and market space to pitch their offerings.
  4. Virtual platforms & E-retail business– consumer buying has shifted to online platforms and the current scenario has added to the push, whether it’s learning, food, or FMCG, online retail will be quick to return once the lockdown is lifted.

5. Finally, how does Covid-19 change the outlook on Robotics & Automation?

While there is been an initial hit in investor sentiment, COVID-19 provides the impetus for developing, testing, and launching advanced robotic and automation solutions.

Ranging from IFM service delivery (cleaning, engineering, security, etc.) to bigger construction projects, robotics and automation will deliver needed expertise, business resilience for future and risk mitigation, with respect to manual labour.

There will be an increased demand for robotics and automation solutions, be it in CRE, manufacturing, or other labour dependent/ high precision output industry.

We, at Peppermint, would like to thank Kumud to have taken time out and answered the questions in such detail. We are sure there are lots of learnings for all the readers.

[Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed above belong solely to the individual & not necessarily the individual’s employer]

Advantages of an Autonomous Floor Cleaning Robot

Where are we today?

Floor Cleaning Machines by definition add a significant advantage over manual cleaning mechanisms which are inefficient, time consuming and extremely expensive for commercial spaces.

The advent of Floor Cleaning Machines heralded a wave of change in cleaning perspectives in the last two decades. In 2020, however, it seems the time to take another leap has come to move from Floor Cleaning Machines to Autonomous Floor Robots.

While Traditional Floor Cleaning Machines provide advantages over Manual Cleaning, the Autonomous Floor Cleaning provides not an incremental but significant advantage.

Advantages of Autonomous Floor Cleaning Robots

  1. Quicker Drying Times
  2. Fast Charging & Higher Uptime
  3. Telematics for 24×7 support
  4. Docking Station
  5. Contactless Operations

1. Quicker Drying Times

Along with quality scrubbing, the job of a scrubber dryer is to dry effectively as well. Large offices, airports and spaces with lot of movements put a premium on quick drying.

High Vacuum power of an Autonomous Robot enables quick drying. It initiates better suction mechanism and ensures the squeegee is used optimally.

One of the features of Intelligent Autonomous Floor Cleaning is the ability of the user to remotely control the vacuum power of the machine to facilitate quicker drying if required. This is a click/touch of a button either on the screen on the robot or the remote system available to operators.

2. Fast Charging & Higher Uptime

First look at the feature and you’ll have remembered your friendly phone company’s ads. The truth is, the same technology can be used for Robots to enable higher working hours.

Peppermint Floor Cleaning Robots use first-in-class & industry Fast DC Charging for it’s Robots providing 8 hours of uptime and less than 6 hours to do a full charge.

In addition, the makers have created a easy to use battery swapping mechanism which can be utilised to keep cleaning on without having to worry.

3. Reporting & Analytics

A constant grouse of all Scrubber Dryer/Cleaning Machine users is the long chain of undependable Customer Support that follows any breakdown.

Companies are known to take anywhere between 48-72 hours in their first response towards a breakdown complaint which is followed by a visit from a Customer Support Representative and upon diagnosis, the same representative is known to advise the purchase of new spare parts which will be in stock in a few days.

This is detrimental to spaces which require daily cleaning and certain spaces which require cleaning multiple times during the same day.

This is where the Telematics comes to the fore. A digitally connected interface that is available to Team Peppermint so we know the problem and our Customer Success Executive will be at the client location with the solution in hand in under 4 hours!

In the event of an emergency, the Telematics on the robot allow us to execute Remote Diagnosis of issues as well.

4. Docking Station

A Battery Operated or Electric Scrubber Dryer takes 30-45 minutes to replenish and there are always question marks over the way the waste water is disposed in an unsafe manner. The batteries of these Scrubber Dryers are extremely heavy and difficult to carry for operators. These are also extremely time consuming for charging and drain out within 120 minutes of working.

In stark contrast, the Docking Station makes Autonomous Floor Cleaning Robots like Peppermint completely touch free operation for sustained periods of time.

What does the Docking Station Do?

  • Automatic replenishment of consumables,  fluids, water
  • 100% safe disposal of waste and waste water
  • Fast DC Charging and supporting battery swapping

5. Contactless Operations

Contactless is as much a buzzword as AI or ML in a time like this.

Autonomous Operations of cleaning machines have been a common feature of modern homes. However, large industries have seen automation in other areas and only in the latter half of the last decade, we saw movement in new products in Industrial Automation space for cleaning.

Contactless, Autonomous, Sustainable and Hygenic Operations ensure optimum safety of employees and repeatable, predictable cleaning for companies giving them time to think and strategise on things.

Imagine walking into the shopfloor at 5 AM and the entire facility has already been cleaned. It has a tremendous effect on employee productivity and morale. It has been observed at Peppermint deployments during COVID-19 that employees have admitted to feeling safer with a robot cleaning surface areas across the shopfloor which was otherwise a human led affair.

These features accentuate the role of robots vs traditional machines providing user tremendous advantages in terms of cost, time and efficiencies along with deep reporting to back up the same.

The next time you have to choose a Floor Cleaning Machine, you should choose a robot.