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The Robots Are Coming for Your Floors (and You Should Let Them)

APEX Partners with SoftBank Robotics to Offer Autonomous Vacuum Sweeping

As part of our commitment to providing industry-leading innovations to our customers, APEX recently became a certified deployment and service company for Whiz, a fully autonomous and data-driven vacuum sweeper from SoftBank Robotics. APEX customers who pair daily use of Whiz with regular deep cleans can lower their janitorial costs while increasing cleaning consistency and frequency—a win-win!

We sat down for a Q&A with Kate Kidd, SoftBank Robotics senior manager, go to market strategy, to get her thoughts on the role of robotics in the workplace, the advantages of Whiz, and why APEX is a natural fit for this cool new technology.

Q. SoftBank Robotics is a worldwide leader in robotics solutions. How can robotics support the commercial cleaning industry?

A. The commercial cleaning industry is an ideal wheelhouse for robotics, as much of the labor required to clean large spaces is mindless, tedious and physically taxing. This type of work is well-suited for a robot because it is repetitive and capable of being learned by a machine. The cleaning industry also suffers from labor shortages, which can be remedied by implementing robots like Whiz that can take over much of the back-breaking work required for routine cleaning of commercial spaces. Janitors’ time is then freed up for less labor-intensive tasks without sacrificing quality of work.

Q. How can Whiz help lower janitorial costs while delivering a higher quality, more efficient clean?

A. Whiz reduces costs in a number of ways. It decreases the amount of physical labor required for a high-quality clean, thus decreasing the labor cost for the aforementioned clean. When factoring in both the Whiz subscription and maintenance costs, which include the human resources required to initialize and operate Whiz, savings average around 30% of the current cost to clean the floors at a commercial property. Furthermore, Whiz guarantees a high-quality clean with fewer opportunities for human error. Whiz saves its route maps so administrators can be sure the job was done as predicted, leaving no doubt the floors are cleaned to a consistently high standard every time the robot runs.

Q. Whiz doesn't replace janitorial teams but rather empowers them to do more. Why is this important?

A. Although Whiz operates autonomously, human technicians are required to program the routes and initialize robots for cleaning. Whiz simply decreases the amount of back-breaking work required to clean a space. Whiz enables janitorial teams to be utilized in a more technical capacity, learning the ins and outs of Whiz functionality to ensure seamless operation. Whiz can also increase the amount of square footage for which any one janitor is responsible. For example, instead of spending an hour vacuuming one floor, a janitor could simultaneously run Whiz robots on three floors, doing three times the amount of work in the same amount of time, with significantly reduced physical effort.

Q. Whiz provides hard data about each clean. How can facility managers use that data to increase efficiency and drive business decisions?

A. In the cleaning industry today, it is incredibly difficult to prove that the team actually cleaned. Whiz helps solve this problem. In addition to automating repetitive work, Whiz provides administrators with insight regarding its total run-time, routes completed, the area it cleaned and more specific information pertaining to what we call “assists.” The route-level reporting data shows the end user which areas were cleaned on a nightly basis. This data not only provides facility managers with the ability to confirm that cleaning was complete, but it also provides visibility into any areas that might need to be revisited. With this data, facility managers can make informed decisions about where human resources should be directed.

Q. How can Whiz complement the services APEX offers?

A. APEX Surface Care values high-quality cleaning and affordable services, two values that are also championed at SoftBank Robotics and that motivated the inception of Whiz. APEX also targets commercial spaces, which are the types of locations best served by a robot such as Whiz. Whiz and APEX naturally complement each other because the deep cleaning services that APEX provides function best when carpets are vacuumed well and on a regular basis. In this way, SoftBank and APEX are able to elevate each other’s services to offer comprehensive, high-quality cleaning solutions that fulfill needs for a wide variety of commercial properties.

Q. Why did SoftBank Robotics choose to partner with APEX to help drive the cleaning industry forward?

A. SoftBank Robotics delivers exceptional and memorable experiences that consistently prove to customers why our services are the best for their business. APEX Surface Care aims to do the same, prioritizing loyalty and exceptional customer service. Softbank Robotics also searches for partners who have demonstrably prioritized innovation, and APEX has remained ahead of the technological curve in a number of ways, including offering an enterprise application to measure and track results. APEX can certainly help Softbank Robotics achieve its goals, and we are certain we can do the same for APEX.

Want to learn more about how APEX can pair Whiz with your other cleaning needs, like architectural surface care, furniture and textile care, tile and grout cleaning, and stone and terrazzo care? Give us a call today at 844-462-7391 or email