Aiming to promote the competitiveness of a traditional sector through platform business and data
What is it about?
- Sivex participated in Sitra’s IHAN business programme during the autumn and winter of 2020–2021.
- The sector is challenged by the employees’ low level of education, lack of Finnish skills and high turnover.
- Data use and sharing in co-operation with the partners and competitors is seen as a new key to success.
- The digital management platform service is an increasingly agile tool to develop the competence of entrepreneurs and employees.
Vision of a successful sector and skilled employees
Sivex’s vision is that the cleaning sector will be regarded as an attractive career choice and that the sector will offer high-quality and cost-efficient services. Diverse use of the platform economy and data play a crucial role in the development of the business operations as well as the entire sector. The objective is to make the entire sector more attractive, competent and successful with the help of data.
Sivex aims to integrate foreign employees into Finnish working life, offer opportunities to study Finnish and operational practices of the sector already before coming to Finland and offer new opportunities for skills development to employees who are already in Finland.
The company briefly and its relation to data
Sivex Oy is a Finnish company established by Estonian immigrants that employs 30 people and operates in the Helsinki area. The customer base consists of regular households (60%) and companies (40%). Sivex has already developed a digital tool promoting working and management (Etunti software), but operations that genuinely make use of data will create new opportunities for developing the company’s basic business operations.
Aiming for more efficient skills development
Employee turnover in the sector is high, as cleaning is seen as a temporary stage on the journey towards other professions. Most of the employees are immigrants who cannot speak Finnish or are employees with a low level of education who work at customer sites alone or in pairs. About 80% of Sivex’s employees start their employment relationship with apprenticeship training.
Due to the development of digitisation and robotics, the operating environment of the cleaning sector has changed and reformed, which has resulted in additional responsibilities for employers and employees. For example, the use of self-cleaning ovens and robot vacuums requires induction training concerning the working methods and equipment. Furthermore, the new entrepreneurs in the cleaning sector do not necessarily have previous experience of business or the cleaning sector, so they need training both in entrepreneurship and practices of the sector.
Business model and solution
Sivex, together with its partners, is developing a digital management tool where data is accumulated during its use and the services sharing the data complement each other.
The development work will result in a management platform where the services on offer promote the competence of the entrepreneurs as well as trained employees in a more versatile manner.
Data sharing together with partners
The digital management platform aims to share data among the network partners transparently and for pre-defined purposes. Sivex’s goal is to form, under the joint rules, a partner network of data sharing that includes the employees as well as, for example, institutions providing education in the field, operators providing Finnish teaching, and competitors.
From the platform, employees can select further cleaning training courses in cleaning suited to the development of their skills, such as apprenticeship training or online training material, or online Finnish lessons. Remote studying is considered an efficient education path, for example, for learning Finnish, since online courses enable studying at home alongside work.
The partner companies and competitors can also use the same management and training platform in their operations and sign their own agreements with the partners. The aim of the management platform is to develop and reform the entire sector with the help of data, and therefore competitors will also play an important role in the development work.
Sivex’s next step is to deploy and test the data-based management platform developed during the IHAN business programme. At the same time, the data network co-operation covering the entire sector will be launched. This joint work aims to develop the business models of the entire sector using data. The previously developed digital working hours monitoring service (e-Tunti) is already being used by a few operators in the field, and the feedback has been positive.
Why it is worthwhile participating in the IHAN business programme
- You get the chance to develop your operations with the best business developers and experts. We, as a small-scale business operator, felt that the chance to participate in the programme was like winning the lottery. It is challenging for small operators to access such knowledge and skills.
- You get an opportunity to learn about a new sector that will be significant in the future. The start was somewhat challenging, but after that the aha experiences and business development were worth the investments. In addition to the data economy, we learnt a lot about different sectors from the other participants.