Optimizing Facility Management Labor

04/19/2012 |

Optimizing Facility Management Labor

With financial constraints impacting facility operations and the ever growing amount of new cleaning solutions appearing on the market, facility managers are constantly facing decisions for streamlining efficiencies and making the most of their resources. 


Staples Advantage has noted 30% of the maintenance and operating budget was dedicated to custodial and facility management – more than any other line item. Of that number, 65% was dedicated to labor and 5% to supplies.   5% may seem like a low number, but in the era of budget cuts and more with less, this number is significant.


To help facility managers better review their operations (from workforce management to supplies), make strategic decisions that benefit the overall health of their buildings and maximize their workforce, Staples Advantage offers these helpful tips:


  • Look at the Scope of Work: As a facility manger, start by taking a holistic view of your entire workforce and operations. By conducting this analysis, a facility manager can see where the team’s time is currently spent, which tasks are being completed and how often. Once there is a basic knowledge of where work is being conducted, a facility manager can evaluate or switch to higher quality products. Further, by evaluating productivity rates and how often tasks are being performed, a facility manager can see which areas can be cleaned less frequently (e.g. once a week vs. once a day). This will help free time for employees to focus on more important tasks.


  • Assess Risk Levels: Cleaning has always focused on health and reducing risk for those entering a building. As such, facility managers need to assess risk levels throughout their facility and allocate team members appropriately. For example, in a hospital, a surgical room is at a higher risk for contamination than the office areas. To preserve occupant health, different cleaning measures and higher precautions will need to be taken. The facility manager should determine the right products and the frequency in which to use them, and distribute more team members to focus on thoroughly cleaning these high risk areas.


  • Evaluate Innovative Options:  When conducting an audit, do not overlook sustainable options. These solutions, which take social, economic and environmental factors into account, should be viewed as cost neutral. In the long-term, they will often cost as much as, or less than traditional cleaning products. Also, it is important to mechanize some of the heavier lifting processes. For instance, try replacing a mop with an auto-scrubber. Effectively leveraging cleaning technology will lead to more streamlined cleaning processes, which will decrease costs in the long-term.


When every budgetary line item is heavily scrutinized, it is important for facility managers to not only look at which solutions are best for their building(s), but to look at the best way to allocate their team to ensure that the health and high standards of the building, occupants and cleaning staff, are being met. Creating a healthy environment is the top priority, but lowering operating cost is a close second.


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