Creighton University easily identifies departmental strengths and weaknesses by using technology to conduct inspections

Matthew McKenzie, manager of custodial services at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, oversees 86 full-time custodians responsible for cleaning 2 million square feet spread over 3.5 million square feet of campus. Together with three supervisors, McKenzie conducts cleaning inspections in approximately 45 buildings — a paper-intensive process that wasn’t yielding the results he wanted.

“I would give the supervisors the forms to inspect their buildings and ask them to return the sheets to me within a week,” says McKenzie. “It was nice for documentation, but it didn’t show us the big picture. I wanted to be able to track cleaning trends and see where we were at and where we could be in the future.”

In The Details

While McKenzie was satisfied with the level of general cleaning in areas such as restrooms and classrooms, his goal was to improve detail work — those surfaces, such as light switches, doorknobs, or hard-to-reach cobwebs that are sometimes overlooked due to time constraints.

But tracking these cleaning deficiencies often got lost in the shuffle of paperwork.

“You could give the staff a copy of the report, show them what you found, and ask them to take care of it,” says McKenzie. “But then you would put the inspection report back in the filing system where it pretty much rotted unless you needed to go back and reference something.”

What McKenzie needed was a quality assurance program that not only tracked where the custodial department was succeeding, but where there was room for improvement. On the advice of his supervisor, he contacted CleanTelligent, a janitorial management software company, and was impressed with the cost, simplicity and flexibility of their software.

“The owner of the company showed us the system,” says McKenzie. “We were able to tailor it to our needs and create different templates using our cleaning matrixes for classrooms, restrooms, common areas and stairwells. It was very easy to use.”

The custodial services department purchased four iPad minis for McKenzie and his supervisors, and in February they began using CleanTelligent software for their cleaning inspections.

“We decided to go with iPad minis because they’re easy to work with, but you can use any type of iPad or Android device,” says McKenzie. “The program is cloud-based, so there’s nothing that needs to be downloaded into a company system.”

Using the iPad, inspectors access the appropriate template, conduct the inspection and enter their notes. To keep it simple, McKenzie chose a color-coded rating system that allows inspectors to enter green for “clean,” yellow for “needs work,” and red for “deficient.” Inspectors can also take photos of any deficiencies they see and attach them to the inspection report — keeping everything together.

“Before using the software, we would take photos using a digital camera or smart phone,” explains McKenzie. “Now, when a supervisor goes to a staff member with a problem, he can provide them with a picture to help explain what he found.”

The software also provides necessary details to help custodians respond to deficiencies in a timely manner.

“The program tracks the time you did the inspection and provides the exact area and room number,” says McKenzie. “So when I present this to the staff, they can print it out and see exactly what time I was in the building, what the problem was, and respond to it quicker than before.”

In fact, the software is proving so successful that the custodial department started recording maintenance deficiencies, as well. As inspectors walk through their buildings doing their custodial inspections, they also record any maintenance issues they see, such as a leaky pipe or a broken fixture, and e-mail the deficiencies to the front desk.

“We used to write [maintenance issues] down on paper and turn in a weekly sheet,” says McKenzie. “If it was a major issue, it was fixed immediately, but if it was a smaller issue, we’d have seven to 10 days to address them. But with the software, we’re able to pick up these maintenance issues at the same time as the inspections and get that information to the right people more quickly so they can create a work order right away and take care of the issue.”

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