Facility budget cuts can often mean the decline of effective cleaning programs within offices, schools, hospitals, retail malls and other buildings. However, cleaning is essential for creating a safe environment, maintaining occupant satisfaction and keeping a facility well-maintained and looking great. Rather than eliminating many cleaning practices from a facility, organizations can instead implement a variety of cost-cutting cleaning methods and new technologies to make cleaning more efficient.
1) Day Cleaning
- How it provides savings: Day cleaning programs help reduce cost and improve sustainability by adjusting cleaning schedules to more productive hours. Buildings can lower their energy bills by turning down lights and adjusting HVAC settings at earlier hours rather than keeping them running at night for cleaning crews. Day cleaners are actually more productive during the day on a per square foot basis because they have better visibility of soiled areas and can establish relationships with occupants so that messes are cleaned up as they occur.
- Expected savings: Day cleaning offers substantial savings. For instance, a high-rise building in Pittsburgh that implemented day cleaning in January 2014 expects to save approximately $100,000 for the year. Savings are achieved by turning lights off earlier to limit energy consumption and reduced labor costs due to more efficient cleaning hours.
2) Dilution Control Problems
Dilution control solutions dispense the correct chemical dose so that employees don’t have to manually dilute them. By implementing this solution, facilities can avoid switching to lower quality chemicals to cut costs, which typically require employees to use more chemical to achieve the same results.
- How it provides savings: Dilution control solutions help reduce unnecessary waste in chemicals and packaging. Properly diluted chemicals and proper cleaning practices will help protect the investment made in the facility (i.e. floors, equipment, etc.). Dilution control solutions also reduce hazards and error by ensuring that employees avoid contact with concentrated chemicals and that concentrated solutions are not mistakenly mixed together or improperly diluted. Some dilution control systems are very easy to use and employees can be quickly trained on proper use. It's important to match the dilution control system to expected usage, chemical mix and the number of locations that would require access.
- Expected savings: Facilities with dilution control can save two to three times their usual chemical use because they aren’t overusing concentrate.
3) Technologically-Advanced Floor Care Machines
Facility managers should review the overall cleaning cycle (preparation, operation and maintenance) when selecting a machine to determine if it will provide savings over time. For instance, it shouldn’t be difficult for the operator to prepare the machine or adjust pads and brushes and maintenance shouldn’t require ergonomic strain.
- How it provides savings: Traditional machines continue to dispense chemical solution even during turning when the machine is operating more slowly. Advanced floor care machines offer speed dependent dosing systems that apply the chemical to the floor based on the machine’s speed rather than the amount of time that has elapsed. This wastes less cleaning solution. These machines can also allow operators to vary the level of dilution/solution and in some cases turn off chemical dispensing to properly clean floors based on the level of soil. In some areas, water will be sufficient whereas other sections of a floor will require chemicals to remove the soil. Advanced machines increase productivity because employees will not have to empty and refill tanks as often. They can also reduce downtime after cleaning because they leave very little moisture behind. Bathrooms, hallways and other areas can be used immediately after cleaning.
- Expected savings: Facilities can reduce cleaning solution waste by up to 30 percent by using an advanced dosing system.
4) Customizable Cleaning Carts
Customizable cleaning carts can be configured based on the user’s preferences. Frequently-used cleaning chemicals and microfiber cloths can be kept on the top and the closest side of the cart to the worker. Lesser-used items can be kept at the bottom.
- How it provides savings: These carts improve productivity because items are strategically placed for workers. Cleaning can be completed more quickly, thereby reducing labor costs. The carts also reduce ergonomic strain for workers, limiting injuries, time away from work and workers’ compensation claims.
- Expected savings: Studies have shown that efficiency increases by 20 percent or more when using carts designed for a specific cleaning task versus fixed solution carts.
When facility managers face budget cuts, the ideal solution is to make adjustments to cleaning programs, rather than cut out resources completely or switch to cheaper options that yield less impressive results. Technology, innovative tools, chemicals, and equipment can make cleaning more efficient and cost-effective. Together, they allow organizations to reduce energy, chemical and water consumption, and improve productivity, thereby creating a more affordable cleaning program that doesn’t sacrifice results, sustainability, safety or occupant satisfaction.
Rob Kohlhagen is director of corporate account sales and marketing for Building Service Contractor secrot at Diversey Care. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Shaun Tinholt is senior portfolio manager of cleaning tools and equipment for Diversey Care. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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