After my initial assessment of the department, I noticed that if the night shift worked any slower, they would be going backwards. We were obviously over staffed.

To address the issue, I set up a strategy to walk each area with both the supervisors and janitors. I asked each how much time it took them to perform each function in the area and used the information to identify workload and realistic staffing needs.

After the evaluation, some staff did quit because of the accountability being placed on each worker. And there were those who were just collecting a paycheck that made the decision to leave. But as people left, the assigned cleaning areas were expanded appropriately.

Overtime And Absenteeism

In addition to overstaffing, overtime and absenteeism was an issue within the department. The staff had made a habit of working the system and it had to stop.

Remember, the staff was paid on Thursday evenings and the work week was from Monday to Friday. Each staff member was making a point to put in one hour (time-and-a-half) of overtime each night. Doing the calculations revealed that if Friday was missed, they still received a full weeks pay.

In response to this observation, I sent a memo that all overtime was to stop, unless approved by me. Once the overtime was stopped, the absenteeism was reduced to almost zero.

Purchasing Problems

When I arrived at Disney, we had more inventory than many supply houses, and from a laundry list of suppliers. My first task was to contact each supplier and inquire about restocking unused merchandise. Those unwilling to comply lost our business, but most were accommodating.

I also identified a local company that supplied the majority of the inventory and informed them that they would be our preferred vendor for the next six months — during which time they must demonstrate why they should be the preferred vendor.

Assessing the inventory also revealed unused chemical proportioners, which I put into circulation immediately. Within six months, the chemical inventory was reduced from about 24 to only four different products.

All the changes that were made in those six months resulted in the department coming in under budget for the fiscal year. We also had established a good foundation to start the new fiscal year in good shape.

My experience starting at Disney was the extreme — most managers do not have to start from scratch. But no matter where you start with your organization, it is always important to know the areas of the department that are strong and those that are weak. From there, don’t procrastinate in implementing change. 

RON SEGURA, founder and president of Segura & Associates, has over 45 years of experience in all segments of the cleaning industry. Ten of those years were spent overseeing the cleaning of over 4.5 million square feet for The Walt Disney Company, as well as the management of the Document Services department. With eleven years of consulting both domestic and internationally, Segura & Associates has been assisting organizations to perform at maximum efficiencies. Ron has assisted hundreds of organizations in the reengineering of their operations so that they are able to provide a high quality of service and still meet budgetary requirements.

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