14 November 2019. Girbau, the leading firm in the world in integrated professional solutions has started implementing a business model transformation plan, committing to marketing laundry “as a service”. Thanks to the possibilities involved in collating data through a huge number of sensors and analysing them through the Microsoft Azure IoT cloud, the group is committed to technological innovation to stay one step ahead of the competition.
This technology is already present in Sapphire, a pioneering remote connectivity solution that Girbau has launched to allow laundries to check and analyse data and implement action in real time to make the business more efficient, reducing costs and increasing profits.
Pere Girbau, the company CEO, said: “We've never relinquished the family nature of our business and we are firmly committed to constantly reinventing ourselves. Current technology with sensors for assessing each washing cycle with support from Microsoft Azure IoT, PowerBI and Sapphire, means that we can reach our maximum potential for our solutions, while also setting up per-use payment systems, moving forward with our environmental commitment to saving millions of litres of water around the world, making commercial decisions based on real-time data, as well as creating new business models for our company and especially for our clients.”
Girbau, a family firm founded in the 1960s in Vic, Catalonia, has consolidated its position as one of the main groups in the world in manufacturing innovative solutions for the laundry sector, based on their own industrial products with a global scope. The company has 15 subsidiaries, 1,000 employees, an extensive commercial network spanning over 100 countries and an annual turnover of over €170M and is characterised by closeness, respect for the environment and complete orientation towards innovation.
The value of data for business improvement
Seidor, a Microsoft partner, led the implementation of the from-scratch project, from planning the electronics that needed to be built into each machine and how the data entered into the Microsoft Azure IoT cloud could be used, as well as the structuring of the data to get the most out of it. The project, which was piloted in Spain, has been spread out to many other countries around the world and now forms part of over 500 laundry systems on 3 continents. The future development of Microsoft PowerBI and AI algorithms will allow Girbau to have an immense source of information, quickly and visually analyse it, and draw valid business conclusions form it.
“Access to all the real-time data has changed our business model and consolidates as a high-value service supplier. Knowing how our laundry systems are being used and all of the parameters in each cycle will allow us to get an important competitive advantage. For example, in the healthcare sector, we can ensure that each laundry cycle has run in line with criteria such as temperature, keeping it steady throughout the cycle, ensuring that hospital textiles are completely disinfected. This has meant that we have won contracts over our competition, thanks to the advantages of the Microsoft cloud and IoT,” said Jaume Simonet, Head of R&D at Girbau.
A project under constant development with the help of AI
Continuous research and improvement are basic criteria for Girbau. One example of this would be the group’s future plans for working in machine learning algorithms that will allows us to keep moving forward towards optimising the service. “We are working with Seidor’s IoT Center team to implement this AI technique and automatic analysis of the data entered into the cloud by the IoT sensors in order to optimise aspects such as advanced predictive maintenance that will automatically notify technicians so that they can intervene in the laundry systems before there is a fault, for example,” pointed out Valentí Freixanet, Product Owner at Girbau. What’s more, in this way they can explore new routes such as optimising washing cycles to optimise the use of detergent and even draw up new industrial designs by analysing the information extracted from over 500 laundry systems that Girbau has already set up around the world.