During a sales call at a large hospital, the site manager for the building service contractor asked the sales representative and me when would he receive his new vacuums. The sales representative informed the site manager the equipment had already been delivered and produced a copy of the signed delivery ticket. That was the last time the vacuums were seen. The distributor’s signed delivery ticket was the only documentation.

Subsequently, in an effort to locate the missing vacuums and get a handle on all janitorial equipment, the lead supervisor for the contractor was instructed to submit an inventory of all janitorial equipment at the facility. And he was told to have the report ready first thing the next morning.

Since there were no records available, he had no choice but to go to each building in an attempt to log each piece of equipment. Working late into the night, he inspected each building, made notes of the equipment; writing down the brand name and model for each vacuum, buffer, autoscrubber and wet vacuum.
He submitted the inventory first thing the next morning as requested. Then the questions started. Where is the equipment located? What is the condition of each piece? What is the repair history? What is the serial number and asset number for each piece? And where are those new vacuums?

This is a true story prompted by missing equipment. The vacuums were never found at the hospital but began showing up in the community. I never learned who was finally held responsible for the apparent theft.

But this above scenario didn’t need to happen. We have a tool available that can help supervisors with equipment and many other responsibilities — custodial management software. Often referred to simply as workloading or inspection software, these are actually only a couple of the features of most custodial management software packages. And these additional functions can benefit BSCs just as much as workloading equations and inspection reports.

Supervisors can enter into the software information about the location of each piece of equipment, the date the equipment arrived, who signed for it, and it can prompt preventative maintenance along with a work order, keep a repair history and a depreciation schedule. Cataloging this information can deter employee theft and keep equipment in good working condition.

Besides monitoring equipment, supervisors can use software to record personnel issues.

Promoting, rewarding and terminating employees are some of a supervisor’s biggest challenges. Often, actions are taken based on company politics or what may be considered politically correct. The personnel record keeping feature allows the user to enter all the events pertaining to any given employee: complaints, no shows, compliments, training, discipline, etc. This information, supported by good, on-going communication with employees enables quality personnel decisions and actions.

In addition, being able to assign tasks to each individual creates the number of minutes a given person has assigned to them. A report can be generated listing all employees and how many minutes are assigned to each person, which would show the number of minutes available for additional work. Additional tasks can then be assigned appropriately; avoiding race, age and gender issues.

Workloading and inspection get the lion’s share of attention with software programs, but if supervisors dig a little deeper, they’ll find a host of other worthwhile capabilities.

Skip Seal is a trainer and consultant with more than 30 years management experience in the cleaning industry. He is a LEED Accredited Professional and a Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) ISSA Certification Expert (I.C.E.). Seal and his team offer support across the country with sales and operation analysis, new market penetration, and sales training. He can be reached at skip@seal-360.com.