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).  


Although most time standards rate upright vacuum cleaners as being far less productive than a back pack system, there are times when it is appropriate to use them.  Following are a few ideas to consider:


1.If the customer requires it.  There are counter studies that dispute the effectiveness of back pack systems and customers may demand the use of an upright vacuum cleaner.  If so, I highly recommend a two motor unit with appropriate attachments as well as a HEPA type filter system to reduce dust.  These units should have at least 35 – 50 foot cords with three prong plugs for grounding.  Many will have the belt on the side to reduce damage and also have access ports for servicing the beater bar.  Finally, they will have ergonomic handles and self-leveling systems that allow for use on various types of carpet as well as hard floors.


2.When using a back pack is either impractical or does not make sense.  Some examples include rough vacuuming of construction areas where it may be more appropriate to use either a tank/scrap vacuum or an old, beat up upright that will not be worse for wear under these conditions.  


3.When putting on and taking off a back pack reduces productivity to the point that an upright makes more sense.  Again, this is a case by case basis but for some routes where a back pack may not be the first choice, an upright may be a viable option.


Productivity takes into account not only effectiveness but also efficiency.


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