Several readers wrote asking about speed and productivity when it comes to vacuuming, sweeping, damp mopping and even automated equipment.  


Response:  When one thinks of productivity they need to take into account the various aspects in their interpretation of this concept.  Productivity incorporates both efficiency (how long it takes to perform a task) and effectiveness (how thoroughly is the task performed).  


The correct use of a backpack vacuum system can increase productivity through being more effective and efficient.  The key word is “correct” since a back pack system can be a very expensive brick that costs time and resources if not used as intended.  My worst memory is of a worker dragging the unit behind them since they claimed it hurt their back.  Since the worker had not been trained on how to adjust the harness or wear the unit, they were probably right.


Backpacks must be worn, used and maintained correctly if they are to be efficient and effective.  Some units even have “docking stations’ so that the user simply backs into it and attaches the straps.  There are some excellent videos available by manufacturers on how to wear the unit with the hips taking the weight, not be back.  Workers also have to be retrained on using the light (ergonomic) wand in a side to side motion rather than back and forth like a traditional upright unit.  Finally, the filters and liners should be serviced regularly to allow maximum pick up/suction as well as protect the worker from excessive blow by dust.


Backpacks should not be used to pick up water or even moist soils for obvious reasons.  They can increase productivity (effective and efficient) by four fold or more compared to an upright unit.  The key gets down to training and follow through on correct usage.  


As with most tools, it is the user that determines the outcome. 


Your comments and questions are important. 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