Behind the Eight Ball: Can We Afford Not to Document and Measure?

When we attend facilities maintenance conferences, we hear the same question: “How do we keep our clients’ buildings clean when we are faced with rising costs, dwindling budgets, and typically high personnel turnover rates associated with our industry?” Whether it’s a school district, healthcare chain, or building services contractor, the laments indicate managers are behind the eight ball. And the “problem” is growing.

Market size
The market size of Industrial & Institutional (I&I) cleaning chemicals was $39.24 billion in 2014, and is projected to reach $50.24 billion by 2020, at a compound annual growth rate of 4.2% between 2015 and 2020. Rising awareness on health & hygiene, safety liability on the part of the company or an institution and growing demand from the application industries are the major drivers for the market. But even as the market size is increasing, the fact remains: Cleaning is not glamorous, even though it is necessary.

Defining, documenting and measuring
Peter Drucker, author of The Effective Executive said, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” While Drucker was probably not thinking about clean faucets, the following applies in the case of building maintenance. “Clean” must first be:
• Defined and standardized across a system, or it cannot be consistently documented.
• Documented by detailed photographs for agreement across the range of stakeholders.
• Measured by sample testing and then communicated, or it cannot be managed.

Collect the right data
Gone are the days when paper and pencil could collect and report on institutional cleanliness. For over 17 years now, Spartan Chemical has been pioneering innovation for Custodial Management Software with CompuClean®.

Proactive custodial management teams know that they need quality assurance for cleaning; inventory management for chemicals and supplies; justification for work loading requirements, and a means to track capital equipment. While the Spartan software does all of this and more, it is surprisingly affordable. The CompuClean® software license costs $600 per year and covers every facility in the organization’s system (i.e. all the schools in the district), all upgrades, and support. The measurement data is owned by the end user and is secured against loss. CompuClean®’s cloud-based service means there are no tricky installations; nor is there costly maintenance. Cloud-based also denotes accessibility from any web-enabled device.

Recognize and motivate
People in the I & I facilities maintenance industry don’t have to be behind an eight ball. They can save money and improve the health of building occupants with a proactive, easy-to-use software program. Clean is no longer a matter of appearance, but rather one of public safety. It is scientifically proven that rigorous and regular environmental cleaning, as part of a custodial maintenance program, is associated with a reduced risk for the spread of infection.

And, by carefully documenting and measuring cleanliness, custodial management teams can give the custodial staff a meaningful grade and much-deserved kudos for a job well done. Recognition goes a long way toward increasing motivation. In turn, motivation goes a long way toward pride and professionalism, and that means a cleaner, safer building for all concerned.

About the Author:
Mike Fabian is Manager of CompuClean® and Business Technologies at Spartan Chemical.

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