leading pack

Cleaning chemicals in pre-portioned pouches are growing in popularity in the jan/san industry — particularly among building service contractors (BSCs) and facilities with multiple sites and/or limited storage space (such as restaurants, hotels, schools, retail stores, and more). These concentrated chemicals fit easily into the palm of a custodian’s hand, encouraging portability and ensuring accurate dilution ratios wherever there is accessible water. 

One of the most impactful benefits distributors can tout when selling pre-portioned chemicals is their obvious financial advantages. Steve Chambers, president of Meterpak, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, sums up key savings in three areas related to product distribution and usage. 

“First, pre-portioned pouches are smaller and lighter for shipping, handling, storing and dispensing; no additional equipment is needed,” he says. “Second, training employees is straightforward — ‘one of this does this.’ And third, there is less packaging material to dispose of when empty; generally a small cardboard box or pail rather than large pails or drums.” 

No doubt, portion-control packs address packaging and product waste — both tangible, quantifiable benefits. And by offering a foolproof prep method on-the-go, these pocket-size pouches answer the call when the situation calls for better cleaning efficiency and productivity.  

Not to be overlooked are the advantages when it comes to sustainability, which can further impact a customer’s bottom line. In fact, according to Jay Garcia, chief commercial officer for Aqua ChemPacs, Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, implementing a portion-control solution can result in a 20-40 percent overall savings. 

Sizing Up Product 

When walking customers through the cost-effectiveness of pre-portioned chemicals, the most obvious place for distributors to start is with the product itself. Equipping custodians with pre-portioned packs ensures that they don’t misuse chemicals and that they use only what is needed for their shift. 

“Pre-portioned packs are measured for the individual doing the mixing, which ensures they’re using the right amount and not overusing or misusing the product,” explains Caryn Gilliam, chief strategy officer, PortionPac Chemical Corp., Oak Park, Ilinois. “That translates into product-specific savings.” 

Indeed, pre-portioned chemicals are right-sized for a wide range of applications —whether they’re being used in a trigger sprayer, a bucket, or an autoscrubber. In contrast, chemical concentrates that are manually measured, poured and mixed can be messy and prone to improper dilution ratios.  

“When you give someone an expensive gallon jug of concentrate, the risk is that they’re going to overuse the product,” notes John Everitt, president, Stearns Packaging Corp., Madison, Wisconsin. “With pre-portioned chemicals, as long as frontline workers can measure the water accurately, the measurement of the chemicals is already done for them.” 

In addition to portion-control perks, pre-measured chemicals give customers greater visibility into inventory management, allowing them to easily calculate how many packages are being shipped, stored and distributed to custodians. The packs also take up very little space — making it easy to store them in a small room or closet. 

“Management can count pods and know exactly how many it takes for a certain application per day,” notes Garcia. “Therefore, at the end of the shift, they’re going to know whether or not they have the right amount of chemicals for cleaning.”  

Metrics gleaned from counting individual packs give customers an accurate picture of their spending, allowing them to make adjustments that can impact their bottom line. 

PortionPac Chemical Corp. works with customers to identify and analyze data that shows the economic advantages of using pre-portioned chemicals.  

“When managers issue out the product, they quantify it. Then, when the custodian comes back, supervisors count what is left over,” says Gilliam. “Each pouch has a cost, which makes it easy to quantify what is being spent.” 

After working with customers for several months, the company issues a report that can help them calculate how much they are profiting from incorporating pre-portioned chemicals into their cleaning routines. Savvy distributors can do the same thing for their end user customers.  

Timely Savings 

Encouraging customers to count packs is a tangible starting point for calculating the cost effectiveness of pre-portioned chemicals. Another significant but more elusive method that factors into the equation is calculating how much time custodians save on the job by using pre-portioned chemicals. 

“The biggest cost for the end user is labor,” notes Everitt. “With pre-portioned chemicals, there isn’t the time wasted in having the cleaning staff shuffle back to the supply closet for yet another gallon of ready-to-use (RTU) product or concentrate in a gallon. They have the next dose already with them on the cleaning cart.” 

The mobility aspect of pre-portioned chemicals is especially pertinent when customers are short-staffed. 

“Time equals dollars,” adds Gilliam. “Distributors can talk customers through the process of getting more done in the time allotted with the fulltime employees that are available to them.” 

And because pre-portioned chemicals improve accuracy, distributors can highlight the time saved by not having to redo cleaning tasks due to improper dilution ratios.  

Add to that the fact that overusing chemicals can attract more dirt, which takes more work and effort to clean over time. This is particularly true when cleaning carpets, say experts. Excess residue from detergents can act like a magnet, pulling dirt off people’s shoes and providing an adhesive surface for it to stick to, which leads to rapid re-soiling. 

“Cleaning efficiency is improved by using the correct amount of product for the job at hand,” notes Chambers. 

Finally, when discussing labor savings with customers, manufacturers remind distributors not to overlook time spent training new employees. 

“We operate in an industry with high employee turnover, whether it’s a BSC or a facility employing their own team,” says Garcia. “Because the nature of our product is simple to use — it’s a drop, fill, and clean technology — it easy to train a workforce that has a high turnover rate.” 

Many of these pre-portioned products use a color-coding system to facilitate training (for example, blue glass cleaner is paired with a blue bottle), allowing for a diverse workforce to easily identify and match up products. 

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Sustainability Perks of Pre-Portioned Chemicals