Tampines Town Council uses new app to ensure cleaning stays on track

Cleaning supervisor Sally Lim showing how the app tracks a cleaner's progress through a block of flats. Since rolling out its estate monitoring system in September, Tampines Town Council has seen a drop in the number of residents complaining about a
Cleaning supervisor Sally Lim showing how the app tracks a cleaner's progress through a block of flats. Since rolling out its estate monitoring system in September, Tampines Town Council has seen a drop in the number of residents complaining about a lack of cleanliness.ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

Town council uses tech to monitor cleaners' progress

A town council in the east is taking advantage of technology and data to monitor its cleaners' progress and plan more efficient routes.

Since rolling out its estate monitoring system in September, Tampines Town Council has seen a drop in the number of residents complaining about a lack of cleanliness in the estate.

It received 156 "no sweeping" complaints from September to last month, a 38 per cent drop from the previous three months.

The app, a tie-up between the town council and V3 Smart Technologies, uses residents' Wi-Fi access points to "check" if cleaners were present at the various floors and blocks assigned to them.

Cleaners download the app or borrow a company-issued smartphone, and simply turn on the app when their duties start.

Ms Cheng Li Hui, an MP for Tampines GRC and the town council chairman, said yesterday that the idea to use technology for better estate management came about after multiple complaints from residents who said they did not see the cleaners around.

"This data collection helps us understand cleaners' movement and better plan cleaning routes," she said, adding that some blocks may take longer because of the way they were built. "This also protects the cleaners because residents may not see them, but by looking at the system, we know they were there."

She was speaking at an appreciation dinner for about 180 cleaners.

Tampines resident and housewife Linda Ng, 55, said there has been a discernible difference in cleanliness.

"I used to test the cleaners by leaving a piece of tissue outside my door, and it would still be there after three or four days," she said.

"Now I don't need to do this sort of thing because I can see everything is cleaner, even the lifts."

Cleaning supervisor Sally Lim, 58, said about 80 per cent of the 50 cleaners under her watch use the app. This has helped her save a few hours every day because she now has fewer blocks to check on.

Cleaner Ismail Basri, 62, who has worked in Tampines since 2004, said he has no problem with the app as it is fairly easy to use.

But his colleague Leo Kim Leng, 62, said he is not used to carrying an extra phone to use the app. He said in Mandarin: "I feel the company is controlling me. I have always done my job, with or without the app."

The system is still undergoing tests, but Ms Cheng said a few town councils have expressed interest in it.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 03, 2018, with the headline 'New app helps ensure cleaning stays on track'. Print Edition | Subscribe