Smart Restrooms – What is Onvation?

06 Aug

As a Janitorial Supply Distributor I’ve been impressed with Kimberly Clark’s ability to stay ahead of the market. The race to control the smart restroom has been painstaking for the top 3 major players (Georgia Pacific, Essity, Kimberly Clark) but I think KC and Gojo are going to pull it off this time. KC know’s that it doesn’t have a strong hand care program and Gojo knows it doesn’t have a strong towel and tissue offering. In a way they are actually both competing with each other on soap programs, but they both take a different approach to the marketplace. There’s obviously more to be gained here by combining resources to offer the ultimate smart restroom services product called Onvation, that will transform the way restrooms are managed. According to the Onvation site, “This strategic partnership integrates two best-in-class brands with leading smart sensing technology to provide a single interface where you can proactively monitor restroom conditions to reduce customer complaints and increase tenant satisfaction”. Take my money, along with my child’s tuition!

The way I understand it there are multiple parties that stand to benefit from the Onvation vertical services offering.

  • Kimberly Clark (Scott) and Gojo (Purell) become directly embedded into the client by offering the platform and getting the Data.
  • The distributor supplies the products and uses the vertical services offering as a new value proposition to the client with the help of the manufacturer.
  • The building manager stands to gain from the service with 75% fewer tenant complaints along with a return on investment guarantee.
  • The cleaning services contractor can now use the Onvation smart tools to better manage the overall care of the restrooms.

So let’s breakdown that ” return on investment guarantee”. Kimberly Clark will use their ROI Calculator to assess the current cost per restroom per month, where they will illustrate the benefits and savings when you adhere to the program’s best practices. If Kimberly Clark is unable to deliver an ROI, which would be outlined in their initial assessment then they would turn off the technology and the dispensing systems would become the property of the client. Of course the client would have to demonstrate that they have complied with Kimberly Clark’s “suggested best practices” and training program to be eligible for the guarantee. In a way I see it as a way for them to get customer buy in from the beginning so that the client can see the true benefits from the beginning and it sounds like the dispensing systems are loaned to the client for the life of the contract at no cost.

KC uses what they call C.H.E.S.S. pillars to, “Enhance the overall satisfaction of the tenants while improving operational efficiencies in the restroom”. If you are curious as to what the C.H.E.S.S. pillars are I have listed those below from KC’s Website.


  • Place people where they are most needed
  • Anticipate restroom needs by understanding restroom traffic


  • Touchless hand towel and skin care dispensers
  • Improve restroom visibility


  • Eliminate premature product refills
  • Decrease consumable consumption
  • Cut restroom-related operational costs


  • Reduce consumable waste up to 80%
  • Improve your sustainability footprint


  • Reduce restroom-related complaints and work orders by up to 75%
  • Boost tenant satisfaction scores leading to higher tenant retention

What’s not to like here? KC and Gojo have set up a real partnership here and they’re willing to give up the short term economics so they can win the marathon. Can you imagine the sheer amount of user data that will assist in their future R & D plans? It does make me wonder if the relationship between the two of them is exclusive. If I had to guess I would say that it is, which would make it particularly hard for GP or Essity to set up a relationship with Gojo. If the partnership continues to bring success then I think we’ll see even more collaboration between the two of them. I have other speculations as well but I’ll save those for another time.  If you want to learn more then please visit our Onvation page or download the white paper.


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