money as garbage

The manufacturing of cars and building cleaning are two industries that don't have much in common. Well, at least not on the surface. But cleaning departments can use a series of principles for managing production originated under Henry Ford’s leadership to improve efficiency, says a recent ManageMen blog post.

Lean management principles started on Ford’s assembly line, but became what it is today once Toyota took these lessons and applied their own twist. An important part of good lean management is the ability to reduce wasteful habits (like going through more of a product than is needed or inefficient work) without losing productivity. It stands to reason that a company that finds a way to be more efficient without sacrificing anything important is going to be more profitable.

With that in mind, a pair of researchers at Brigham Young University working in facility property management developed a paper demonstrating how cleaning departments can improve efficiency when applying lean management principles. Since Toyota’s model for lean management places importance on avoiding seven wasteful habits, the researchers applied those habits to a cleaning department. According to the ManageMen blog, those wasteful habits and how they should be viewed within the context of cleaning departments are as follows:

1.     Transportation: Determine how janitorial workers travel through the buildings they clean. Do they have planned routes that maximize efficiency or do they roam the facility on an as needed basis? Do they travel with the tools they need or are those items spread through the building?

2.     Inventory: Does the janitor’s closet have everything that the worker needs? Has extra inventory been stocked up in case it’s needed, because this can over time cause clutter?

3.     Motion: Are the janitors moving in way that prevents them from over-exerting their body? If not, they could be injured.

4.     Waiting: Is too much idle time spent on a particular action? Is too much time spent on a type of project?

5.     Overproduction: Is more cleaning being conducted than is necessary?

6.     Over-processing: Building occupants, cleaning companies and building owners must work together to develop an agreed upon definition of cleanliness.

7.     Defects: When employees aren’t trained properly, mistakes are bound to happen.