Many organizations experienced tough times in 2009 with employee and benefit cutbacks and ever-shrinking budgets. The last thing you want to hear right now is that you will be forced to increase spending in 2010. But, it's a reality you'll have to face head-on.

Throughout the 2009 recession, "jan/san manufacturers stood firm on their principles and did not roll out lofty product increases," according to a January article from our sister publication, Sanitary Maintenance. That said, many are anticipating a cost increase in raw materials near the end of the first quarter and manufacturers will be forced to pass these pricing increases down the supply chain.

Although a price increase right now would be difficult to endure, suppliers are aware of your financial struggles and do not plan to increase pricing in one lump sum. Instead, prices will be increased "very cautiously and judiciously."

What does all this mean to you? Well, if you are cleaning on a strict budget, it means reassessing your cleaning strategy. Consider exploring alternative or private label products that do the same work for less money. Or, purchase in bulk, since many suppliers will offer discounts on large orders. Bundling products can also save valuable dollars. Talk with your supplier about price discounts when purchasing everything you need for the restroom, for example. Or, if you are a loyal customer, many distributors will lock in product rates in an effort to keep your business.

If all else fails, managers in a financial pinch should look at cleaning frequency. At this point, most departments have already streamlined cleaning programs (some multiple times), so doing so again will be difficult. If considering additional cuts, do so wisely. Remember, health, hygiene and cleanliness should remain your main priority.