Question: What are the benefits of pre-portioned chemicals compared to mixing stations?

The benefits of going dispenser-free are strong in the beginning of field implementation but also experienced later in the sales cycle. The initial cost down-stroke is very low with a dispenser-free premeasured program compared to the blend centers.

With blend centers, the gadget itself is $200 to $500 alone. While facility managers and public code-enforcement officials are imposing ever-higher municipal water supply safety and flood-preventative measures on fixed and plumbed chemical dispensers; for example, $1,500 to $3,000 per dispenser was recently cited as the estimated cost for licensed plumbers to perform new installations in the New England states. I was asked by a manufacturer's representative recently, "Where's the R.O.I. on that when it's a whole school system?"

Later, when the blend-center devices would have entered their twilight phase of malfunction from abuse, water scale and staff-inflicted tampering, the telephone of the dispenser-free distributor will only ring with the calls of satisfied end-users instead of unhappy ones. Besides the up-front costs of acquisition and installation, wary high-rise building owners will not permit a blend-center to be installed above the first floor due to the hazard of flooding. This limitation on cleaning staff's access to their cleaning chemical solutions can substantially reduce their productivity.

Premeasured chemical management systems deliver point-of-use mixing convenience for cleaning staffs and eliminate the wasted travel time that would otherwise be spent going to and from the blend-center. That lost time can be a significant added cost whether it is a high-rise office building, a K-12 school or a university.

— John Everitt, president, Stearns Packaging Corp., Madison, Wis.


Our customers find that their entire cleaning operation becomes more efficient when they use pre-measured products. There are several reasons:

Mobility: Janitors can take everything they need with them as they clean the building. Instead of returning to mixing stations, they simply refill their bottle at the nearest water source and add one lightweight packet.

Labor savings: Customers report that when janitors can move quickly and efficiently through the building without retracing steps, they are more efficient, and that translates to reduced labor costs.

Accountability and control: When the manager dispenses the pre-measured envelope they always know how much product is being used for each job, and how many envelopes should be left at the end of a shift.

Accuracy: By mixing one envelope to a bottle or bucket, the Janitor knows he or she has the correct product dilution, to produce the best cleaning results.

Less waste: Facility managers appreciate the cost savings of reducing waste. Janitors reuse durable bottles hundreds of times instead of discarding a bottle each time it is empty. They also appreciate the savings in labor, water and energy.

— Jerry Goldman, national sales manager, PortionPac Chemical Corp., Chicago


Simplicity and low-cost initial setup compared to mixing stations. With pre-portion chemicals no special plumbing is required. In most cases a plumbing system for water drainage and spills are incorporated into the mixing stations. This need is eliminated with the tablet system.

Also, there are no spills, which reduces costs and eliminates cleaning chemicals dangerously going into the waste stream. And there's no chance of incorrect dosage.

Finally, there is no up-front cost to have a complex mixing system and no contracts to get hooked into.

— David Baumgarten, vice president, Baumgartens, Atlanta


Question: How does portion control benefit the smaller- to medium-size janitorial operations? For example: a small 5,000-square-foot building that is only cleaned by one person.

Everitt: Smaller operations are proving to be the most receptive prospects to pre-measured cleaning products because of the reduced inventory investment and the ease of controlling usage.

Most facilities can be daily cleaned with only five products. Usage of the individual five products is controlled by tracking the number of 10-pack refill boxes provided. Furthermore, facility owners are impressed by a building service contractor who employs an integrated chemical management system that is color-coded and documented with collateral bi-lingual and non-lingual training, and safety compliance materials.

Compliance with OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard can be a real burden to small / medium operation and an integrated portion-control program makes that easy.

Goldman: Some of the labor savings are amplified in a smaller operation, which may need to be more vigilant about labor budgets. Let me give you an example: If you're cleaning a 5,000-square-foot building and you're on one side of the building and run out of glass cleaner, what do you do? Return to the central mixing station? No. Just go to nearest water source, fill the empty bottle with water, and add one envelope of pre-measured glass cleaner.

When you tally the cost of doing this on a "per product, per day" basis, it becomes very valuable for smaller operations who have the most to gain from labor efficiency. Just saving 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week adds up to 65 hours a year for just one janitor. Who wouldn't want to have that time back?

Baumgarten: It simplifies the entire cleaning and dispensing process. Smaller-medium sized janitorial operations don't use a lot of cleaners and are usually in a small space where storage can be at a premium.

It is far healthier to have the right dose for the cleaner and for the inhabitants of the space cleaned.


Question: What types of chemicals are available in pre-portioned form?

Everitt: Any cleaning chemical application that lends itself to being safely concentrated can be put up in portion-controlled or premeasured form. Floor finish does not lend itself to being concentrated very much; it is very high in solids at use-dilution anyway. The major categories for premeasured cleaning products are: mopping solution, glass and stainless steel cleaner, spray and wipe cleaners, bathroom cleaners and disinfectants.

Goldman: A facility manager can get any type of cleaning product in pre-portioned form. For daily cleaning tasks, pre-measured products offer advantages in everything from all-purpose cleaners to germicides and floor finishes. There are no limitations in pre-measured products.