A reader writes: “We keep getting calls that an area was missed by cleaners the night before. Can you provide some guidance?”

This is certainly not best practice and needs to be corrected immediately. I used to call this approach “managing by complaint” since a company would conduct service and “hope” it passed inspection or in your case “hope” that the cleaners actually arrived and cleaned the account the night before. You need to implement either a paper-based system or research and select an electronic system that will give you real time data on your crew’s activities.

A paper-based system can be a simple list on a document or a spreadsheet breaking out work by crews (or individuals) as to start/stop time at each site they are responsible for. Since you have several routes on a campus setting with crews of 2 to 4, you would identify the Teams (# 1,2,3,4…) with the sites/areas they were responsible for. This could be an excellent opportunity to set up the route so that the most efficient (think less travel time) system is in place. Since you may have different sites that are cleaned nightly, you may need a customized list for each team each day of the week.

When Team No. 1 arrives at their first account/site, they call into a central number (can be voice mail or coded) noting they have started work. It might be wise for the Lead to indicate if he/she has a full crew (or who is absent/late). When they completed their scheduled tasks, they can call out indicating that door is locked, or lights are out or a tenant is still on site, etc. They also can note light bulbs out, door ajar, plumbing issues, etc. at this time.

A monitor or manager assigned to this team should check the log periodically looking for anomalies such as in/out too quickly, taking too long or failing to call in at all. He/she should be empowered to take immediate steps to determine what is happening and if necessary, send a crew to start cleaning the account. By the end of the shift, EVERY building/site/area should be accounted for with notes for the appropriate POC (Point of Contact) regarding security or maintenance issues.

You can’t manage what you don’t monitor.

Your comments and feedback are always appreciated. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.