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Six Ways To Improve Sustainability And Efficiency In 2013
The New Year offers an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start over again. It's a time when many Americans resolve to lose weight or volunteer more. For facility managers, the New Year provides the chance to try a new system or fine tune an existing cleaning program. To help identify resolutions that will positively impact any cleaning operation, KBM Facility Solutions announced the top six New Year's resolutions for facility managers.
"The New Year is what you make of it — it can be a time to turn a new leaf or just another business day," said Rene Tuchscher, chief operating officer. "From the Affordable Healthcare Act to the rapid adoption of day cleaning programs, there are several factors that will impact the cleaning industry in the coming year. By taking steps to rethink traditional ways of doing business, we can better prepare for these changes and improve our operations."
Top resolutions for facility managers includes:
1. Pilot a new project. Don't be afraid to be a pilot for new ideas, processes, procedures and product. Testing new programs, such as a new way to clean carpets or train staff, can provide you with insight into new ways of doing things. Draw upon the expertise of your cleaning partners to identify new and innovative ideas and attend industry events that highlight new innovations and trends. This can achieve goals, be less expensive and set you apart from your peers.
2. Refine your request for proposal (RFP) process. Before you put out a bid for cleaning services, carefully select and vet vendors. Narrow your participants to no more than five companies that you know could fulfill all aspects of compliance and may have other intangible benefits like certifications, cultural alignment or industry involvement. Vetting vendors in advance can save time and energy reviewing proposals and checking the references of unqualified vendors.
3. Talk less, listen more. There are many innovative was to accomplish things, so it can pay to listen to the contractor and/or cleaning workers who are actually performing the work. If you do not already have a feedback channel established, set up an ongoing meeting or a suggestion box and solicit ideas. Recognize and reward individuals with good ideas to help incentivize participation.
4. Increase audit frequencies. If you use a cleaning contractor, identify what your current contractor is benchmarking against. Work with your contractor to establish agreed upon benchmarks and performance indicators. Work together to develop or refine reporting tools used to improve alignment.
5. Consider partial day cleaning. When done correctly, day cleaning can be a socially and environmentally sustainable practice. It can reduce the amount of energy and electricity required to heat or cool a building in the evening hours, which saves money. It also gives cleaning workers the opportunity to work during the day so they can be home with their families in evening hours, which improves communities. However, when evaluating day cleaning options, also consider costs for more expensive day labor, program communication and building inhabitant culture.
6. Learn the difference between "green" and "sustainable." Just because a product is marketed as "green" doesn't mean it is "sustainable" for your business. For example, certain chemical concentrates might be "green" because they eliminate water shipment, but if the concentrate is not properly diluted when used (e.g., too much or too little water is added), it can result in waste or risk to employees. In general, "green" products will typically be supported by "sustainable" programs that ensure the whole system is safe for employees and the environment—take the time to understand the difference.
"Even though we work in one of the oldest industries, it's one that is ever changing," added Tuchscher. "Whether you manage a staff of 20 or 2,000, every facility manager can take steps to make their cleaning program — and the indoor environment — better no matter what time of year it is. It's what separates good cleaning operations from great cleaning operations."