The Demands On Today’s Facility Managers
We meet with Facility Managers every day and what they tell us is that they are under continual pressure to do more for their facilities with even leaner budgets. Chalk it up to economic unpredictability, fierce competition and a host of other factors, but slashed budgets and leaner operations are not yet behind us. And while pennies get pinched, responsibilities for many Facility Managers just get more complex. You are likely tasked with things like supervising your facility’s maintenance, lease management, assigning and managing space, managing a host of different teams, even confirming your facility is compliant with all relevant regulations and requirements. You may be responsible for planning and managing building work and renovations, steering your building to greater energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness, forecasting and budgeting, and even directing security and general administrative services. That is a VERY full plate. With so much on your plate, it is no wonder so many Facility Managers are overwhelmed by the struggle to both manage their facility in a meaningful way while at the same time meeting budget and profitability requirements.
Could Your Facility Benefit From Smart Cleaning?
So we agree, Facility Managers have more responsibility and greater complexity in their work than in days past. The bad news is that is not likely to change any time soon. The good news is that challenges quite often drive innovation and the janitorial industry has been working hard to respond to the changing needs of the facilities and Facility Managers they work with.Smart cleaning is one such innovation that can help Facility Managers both manage their buildings at the required level and meet ever tightening budget requirements. Many building services contractors are working hard to innovate, to eliminate waste and maximize efficiency wherever possible. They understand that they must balance both goals of effective facility maintenance AND budget targets. Smart cleaning measures make these goals reachable.
What Is Smart Cleaning?
Smart cleaning isn’t about complex algorithms or a bunch of geniuses in a room together coming up with a robot that did it all (though that might be nice). Still, Smart Cleaning is an approach that requires a great deal of thought, customization, innovation and commitment from your janitorial services company. Smart Cleaning is about identifying the essential services in your building, demarcating those that are important but perhaps not essential and determining which services you can intermittently go without, where you can cut, where you cannot and how to find efficiencies without it being obvious that services are being reduced. Smart Cleaning requires that you and your commercial cleaning company communicate and work together to determine the following:
- “What are we doing currently and does it make sense given our needs?”
- “What tasks and duties are must haves that need to be included regardless?”
- “Where are the areas we might be able to get by with less?”
- “What tasks are we performing that might be unnecessary?”
- “What better, more efficient ways might there be to complete those things that are necessary?”
Understand, Smart Cleaning can't just be a mandate to your janitorial services company. For it to be at all successful, it must be a collaboration between you and your commercial cleaning company. Only you know what you can and cannot live without but only they understand how to shift their services to meet your goals without compromising your facility’s maintenance.
How Smart Cleaning Works
Smart Cleaning is the single best way to manage a reduced building services budget without throwing your building’s maintenance into a downward spiral. And it works, IF your janitorial services company understands how to work with you to uncover needs and implement a solid plan. With Smart Cleaning, your cleaning spec becomes need-focused rather than just a standard laundry list of cleaning tasks. In the hands of an inexperienced or careless cleaning company it will just look like a cleaning company doing less and your facility needs being ignored. Likewise, if a janitorial company isn’t equipped with adequate training and the systems to make Smart Cleaning work, it won’t. Smart Cleaning requires thought, planning and a solid system. Without these crucial elements, it is unavoidable that the wrong things are often left undone, there are no targets or predictability in place and little to no accountability from your cleaning company. Smart Cleaning is NOT just doing less, it’s about a strategic shift in services that eliminates redundancies and spreads out work in a way that maximizes your cleaning dollar. The most important element of Smart Cleaning is the communication between you and your janitorial company regarding your building and what you need and then how they communicate that to the people cleaning your facility through training and management. Janitorial staff must have the training to understand the use patterns of the facility they maintain and how to identify essential services and continually adjust their cleaning to meet your facility’s needs.
Why Smart Cleaning Works
What makes Smart Cleaning different from regular old cleaning services? Smart Cleaning offers a two pronged approach. First, uncover efficiencies and second, create efficiencies. Certainly you can evaluate your facility maintenance plan for overlap or unneeded work but a critical element of effective Smart Cleaning is to find better ways to do more work with fewer resources. Smart Cleaning can also only be implemented be highly resourced, professional commercial cleaning companies. Why? Because Smart Cleaning requires a considerable investment from your Building Services Company in products, equipment, training and even the framework in place to make it all work. To truly implement Smart Cleaning as a solution and not simply a reduction in services, your janitorial services company MUST be committed to best practices.
Putting Smart Cleaning To Work In Your Facility
One critical element to making Smart Cleaning work in your facility is having an understanding of your building’s use and traffic patterns. When you know this, you can direct services to the most used and most dirtied areas of your facility. For example, this information can direct your cleaning company to reduce or alternate vacuuming days or floor days in areas that accumulate less soil. On that same note, you can even reduce the overall soil and debris making its way into your facility with the implementation of a walk off mat program. Mats strategically placed at your building’s points of entry and high traffic areas will hold soil, dust and worse keeping it from accumulating throughout your facility. This means cleaning crews can vacuum mats daily but rotate other less dirty areas of your building, saving you money without sacrificing clean.
Janitorial Efficiencies Like Team Cleaning Make A HUGE Difference
Janitorial innovation and efficiency are critical to implementing a successful Smart Cleaning program. That is part of the reason why reducing services with just ANY janitorial company is bound to fail. Smart Cleaning isn’t simply about LESS work it’s about BETTER work, and better practices. What efficiencies and practices make a big difference with Smart Cleaning? First, team cleaning is an integral part of the Smart Cleaning equation. What is team cleaning? First, let’s look at how cleaning and maintenance duties are typically carried out in a facility. Many commercial cleaning companies utilize the zone cleaning approach. This is an old method of cleaning whereby you divide a building into separate ‘zones’ that are the responsibility of assigned cleaners. With zone cleaning, each cleaner was responsible for every cleaning task in their zone, often an entire floor. That means with zone cleaning, every cleaner needs to vacuum, clean restrooms, empty trashes, dust and more. This has some serious drawbacks. First, because each cleaner has a diffuse set of responsibilities, it is easier to miss tasks and in shifting tasks, a cleaner may be less likely to master a given set of skills. Likewise, when a cleaner must vacuum, dust, clean restrooms and more, each cleaner requires their own set of tools, equipment and supplies creating an unnecessary, expensive overlap. Team cleaning offers a better approach that is significantly more lean and effective. With team cleaning, janitorial staff become skilled at a limited amount of tasks and perform them throughout your building. So, there is a vacuum specialist, a restroom specialist and a utility or general specialist whose duties may vary. Team Cleaning leads to job mastery, a well-defined scope of duties and a heightened level of accountability. And the need for less equipment and even labor makes team cleaning more efficient and more effective. Other efficiencies can be found, for example with chemical dispensing systems. These innovative dispensing systems offer a system that reduces the hassle of restocking, mixing and storaging bulk cleaning chemicals and even operator error in mixing and dilution. Likewise, color coded microfiber offers a great way to clean faster and better offering a visual indicator of adherence to standards while reducing the risk of cross contamination in your facility.
With the help of a professional, reputable, experienced janitorial company, Smart Cleaning can help you get the most from your cleaning budget while you keep you facility in good working order without creating a bursting box of complaints. It is possible and you can strategically maintain your facility in a way that works for you and even makes your job as a Facility Manager just a little bit easier.