BY Lisa Ridgely, Deputy Editor
When Daniel Hyman first started working as human resources director at Held’s Janitorial in Buffalo, N.Y., operations and communications were a bit “old school,” he says. The level of service was high and relationships with customers were great, but those were the days when file folders and fax machines got a lot of use and it was difficult to manually track inspections and provide quality control.
That was eight years ago, and things couldn’t be more different there today, thanks to the recent implementation of janitorial inspection software to streamline operations and communications. Now CFO and COO of the 450-employee (and growing) firm, Hyman helped change the way business is done both internally and with customers when the software rollover happened.
“Great service and great customer relationships have always been the core of our business and will always be the core of our business, but we didn’t utilize the technology that’s available to us to make us better and to allow us to take that next step, and separate us from our competition,” Hyman says.
Not only did the company want to stand out from the competition, but they had a big-picture goal of becoming better at providing cleaning services, of being the best they could be. Bringing the company up to speed with software, with which communications occur in real time, and training employees to use it on mobile devices, has revolutionized business for Held’s. The efficiencies and automations in operations, budgeting, bidding and communications that are now possible blow the old system of checks and balances out of the water.
Hyman and Held’s owner, William Held Jr., knew they were looking for a way to improve and differentiate their service offerings, but they weren’t sure just how they would do it — until they came across janitorial inspection software providers three years ago at an industry trade show. The software they use brings it all together to allow them to provide tighter service offerings in real time, which has sharpened the company’s competitive edge.
“This business is so competitive, it doesn’t take much to lose an account,” Hyman says. “When there are five other people out there knocking on the door, offering the same price you’re charging, maybe even cheaper, you’ve really got to prove your worth as a contractor.”
Measurement leads to improvement
The software recently helped the company catch a service glitch right away — something that may have fallen through the cracks five years ago, Hyman says.
“Here in Buffalo it snows, and rock salt gets used in winter like there’s no tomorrow. This rock salt gets into lobbies and entranceways and the typical floor cleaners that we use aren’t necessarily the best when you are adding rock salt to the mix of debris being tracked in,” Hyman says. “You want to use a floor neutralizer when bad weather hits.”
At the end of December, Hyman had finished inspections and was compiling the data and analyzing it, when he saw an uptick in floor complaints and in inspection reviews in a number of buildings. After calling around to managers he discovered that neutralizer was not being used.
“It sounds simple but if you weren’t looking at it and weren’t tracking it, we could have had another month of the mistake happening, and who knows, maybe we would have lost one or two accounts,” Hyman says. “But since we were proactive, and we saw the issue and offered a solution, we implemented it and we moved on.”
Poised for growth
With the help of janitorial inspection software, Held’s has been able to successfully expand geographically, to cities as far away as Syracuse and Albany, which are two and four hours away from Buffalo, respectively.
“It’s a nice tool from a marketing perspective. It’s nice to be able to bring something like this to the table when you’re giving your presentation to say, ‘We take this seriously, and we have things in place to ensure a job well done,’” Hyman says. “It’s much easier to monitor and manage because it’s already in front of my computer screen. I know what’s happening in Albany here in Buffalo with the snap of a finger, so it’s really helped in that respect.”
Lisa Ridgely is a freelance writer based in Milwaukee. She is the former Deputy Editor of Contracting Profits.
POSTED ON: 3/19/2013