When thinking about our biggest challenge in 2012, one comes to mind. The last three years for SMI Facility Services were the most challenging years in the history of company. We thought that our industry was recession-proof; we came out of earlier economic slowdowns pretty much unscathed.

In 2009 we began to feel the pain of the sub-prime mortgage crisis and the effect it had on businesses throughout the marketplace. We were asked by many of our customers to reduce the cost of services and in many cases all non-essential tag work was stopped. We were forced reduce management and office staff and run our business as lean as possible.

The last quarter of 2011 was a breath of fresh air for us, we saw positive growth and already the start of 2012 has been busier than ever. In 2012 we are focused on re-motivating our workforce and growing our company locally and regionally.   

Steve Garcia
Executive Vice President
SMI Facility Services
Albuquerque, N.M.

Our biggest challenge in 2012 is reducing labor costs. Many states are looking for other means to gain revenue, and increasing unemployment tax is one way this is being done. Even if a company has no unemployment claims in a year, a rise in the base rate can be an added and unexpected expense.

Because of this, My Cleaning Service has to tighten its janitorial budgets even more than in previous years. The state of the economy allows for a buyers’ market, and our customers can reject price increases that would be used to cover these types of costs. Going forward in 2012 we will be focusing much of our efforts on reducing employee turnover and improving our worker productivity.

Kathleen Bands Schindler
Director of Marketing and Business Development
My Cleaning Service Inc.
Baltimore, Md.

The biggest challenges that Marsden faces as we start 2012 are consistent with the past year: taking steps to make sure we continually execute our value proposition with our current customers and employees. Margin erosion — or specification erosion, more particularly — continues to threaten our profitability, but if we can continually service our customers and aide them in achieving their business objectives, we will succeed in 2012 and beyond.

Another key initiative continues to be safety in the workplace. Constant attention to accident prevention and safety training, such as proper use of PPE, Right to Know, lifting, and driving, will reduce our exposure to worker’s compensation issues. We are dedicated to assuring that all of our clients and all of our associates have a safe, secure and healthy work environment.   

We have aggressive goals this year, but if we pay attention to our customers’ needs and drive safety in our workforce, I am confident in our success.

Chris A. Norgren
President and COO
Marsden Bldg Maintenance
St. Paul, Minn.