In the latest instalment of our FM industry executive interview series we spoke to Gary Nicholas, UK & IE Sales Manager (DPM) at Bayer Environmental Science, about Digital Pest Management, the role data & analytics can play in controlling pests and the rewarding nature of working with the facilities management community…
Tell us about your company, products and services.
The Bayer Group is managed as a life science company with three divisions – Pharmaceuticals, Consumer Health and Crop Science, Bayer are very well known for our chemical products and we’re now combining these with digital solutions. Solutions such as Digital Pest Management (DPM) to enhance our professional pest management products range.
What benefits and ‘value adds’ does DPM offer FMs?
DPM allows for real time 24/7/365 chemical-free remote rodent monitoring. The software is able to produce trend analysis and other analytics from the data capture. Benefits and ‘value adds’ of this for FMs are such thing as:
- Real time live digital site plans showing the precise location of each individual trap. Smart traps that can be represented on the digital site plan by coloured icons which change colour depending on their status. No more guessing or ‘not knowing’ where traps are located and what state of service they are in.
- Real time trigger and capture notifications which can be sent to QA and pest manager’s devices, or indeed anyone who is authorised to receive alerts through the system software. Vastly reduced reaction lead time to pest sightings and activity.
- Reducing the use of chemicals and rodenticides to a point where usage is very precise and very targeted and used only when absolutely necessary.
- Heat mapping technology which provides invaluable data on current and historic rodent activity, where activity is reducing, increasing and importantly where there is no activity.
- Daily diagnostic system checks on every trap on every site, which provides QA and pest managers with automated digital, data driven reports on status and activity. This is the equivalent of having all traps inspected, serviced and digitally reported on 365 days a year. Real time 24/7 integrated pest management systems.
- Audit ready systems supported by the manufactures.
- Transparency of service.
All of this would be impossible to achieve without DPM.
Do different types of site require different DPM solutions – what are the key considerations?
Not necessarily different solutions, but each site will have individual needs. The system is flexible enough to allow bespoke solutions to meet those – Key considerations would be:
- Nature of the business.
- Size of the particular sites where DPM is to be installed.
- Are non-chemical solutions preferable? I.e. food & beverage manufacturing, critical health care, and the impact of using chemicals on the business and surrounding environment.
- Levels and locations of recent, current and historic rodent activity
- Will the customer benefit from an audit ready digital platform? Invariable the answer to this will almost always be ‘Yes’.
- Tailoring the system to the exact requirements of individual managers and their sites.
What is your biggest priority in 2021 (in terms of developing the DPM solution)?
To ensure businesses managers, FM managers and pest managers are aware that our system is available and on the market. To demonstrate its functions and all the benefits of DPM. We’ll also be ensuring that everyone’s able and confident to work with our system on their sites. Myself and the Bayer DPM team are dedicated to offering our full support to all users for as long as it is needed.
Tell us about the underlying technology in Bayer’s DPM solution
It’s a cloud based, remote management system, developed in conjunction with Microsoft that uses LoRa technology to connect smart traps, both rat and mouse, to a central Gateway. It can be used indoors and out, plus smart traps are water and dust resistant. Continual development and data refreshes bring new features and functionality – ultimately the solution is designed to enhance and compliment the skills and abilities of the service technicians and the wider pest management industry, bringing all the benefits of digital to their customers.
What role does data and analytics play in more effectively managing pests?
In short, monumental improvements in ‘knowing’ the pest status of sites, every day of the year. In particular, trend analysis helps PCOs understand and get to the ‘root causes’ of infestations, control infestations in a very targeted and much quicker manner, and predict when and where future activity may occur, understanding the rodent behaviour and acting accordingly. Therefore, the data protects people, property, assets and reputations from rodent damage. Plus, using data to ensure when chemicals and rodenticides are needed and employed means the system is very targeted, precise and therefore sustainable.
In 2025 we’ll all be talking about…?
The widespread use of mobile apps to self-manage medication and personal healthcare. Providing real-time status on such things as vaccinations and wellbeing.
Which person in, or associated with, your industry would you most like to meet?
All of my Bayer colleagues in our team. COVID restrictions have so far meant that we have been unable to meet in person since I joined Bayer last October.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the FM sector?
Not surprising, but certainly what I have learnt most is just how much I enjoy working with the FM industry. It’s challenging at times in terms of tailoring specific solutions to such diverse needs and requirements, but always great fun and very rewarding. I’ve met a lot of lovely, interesting people, surveyed some iconic and often fascinating buildings and locations, and made some life-long friends from within the FM industry/sector.
You go to the bar at the Facilities Management Summit – what’s your tipple of choice?
Sauvignon Blanc – Chilean if available, and a large one, thank you!
What’s the most exciting thing about your job?
Being the person at Bayer ES leading the commercialisation of, in my opinion, professional pest management’s latest and most exciting innovation in the past 50 years or more. I get let loose on the technology and get to showcase it to businesses and people across the UK, Ireland and also into Europe! That’s amazing!
And what’s the most challenging?
Helping the pest management industry to shift its mindset from age-old ways of thinking and working and getting those people to share our vision that digital innovation brings.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Be yourself. Trust and believe in your own ability and never stop learning.
About Gary Nicholas
Over 35 years working within the pest control industry, the last 20 of which have been working closely with Facility Managers and Building Managers, previously as Surveyor & Account Manager and now as UK & IE Sales Manager (DPM) for Bayer Environmental Science. Lives in NW England in the beautiful Fylde coastal town of Lytham St Anne’s with wife Paula. Outside of work, enjoys watching Rugby and MotoGP as well as having a keen and active interest in aviation and flying.