Wall-mount or portable chemical dispensers and preportion packets can save end users money and storage space. But building service contractors and in-house service professionals aren’t the only ones who can benefit from chemical proportioning systems. Distributors are enjoying the advantages of additional space in their warehouses, as well as on their delivery trucks.

“Inventory control is a lot more manageable because the high-concentrate products come in half-gallon containers vs. 52 quarts of product,” says Gary Lynch, business development manager at Central Sanitary Supply in Modesto, Calif. “We don’t have to have a bunch of cases of ready-to-use quarts; we have small case volumes of high-concentrate products on our shelf.”

Shared refills for both wall-mount and portable units also help to free up warehouse space.

“We offer different types of dispensers, but they share the same refill,” says Jerry Garbett, president of Arkansas Bag & Equipment in Little Rock, Ark. “It’s more convenient for us because we don’t have to stock so many packages.”

Chemical management systems — whether a wall-mount or portable chemical dispenser or preportion packets — are not just cost and space savers for distributors; they are continuous money-making products.

“Most of the time the big benefit is the reorder business,” says Adam Uselman, COO of Bruco Inc. in Billings, Mont. “It’s pretty automatic because they’re proprietary systems.”

Having to manage customers’ chemicals doesn’t just mean ongoing business, but it also establishes a productive relationship with clients, that could lead to even more product orders.

“I believe it’s on the distributor’s shoulders to create benefits to the customer and to assist that customer in finding the best way to get their building clean,” says Uselman. “It could mean a packet, it could mean a portable dispensing system, or it could mean a dispenser on the wall. Whatever is best for the customer, that’s what you help them embrace and use efficiently and effectively. If you do those things, the customer’s going to look to you not only for chemicals but for other business as well.”   

When matching customers with either dilution systems or preportioned packets, distributors and end users should not get waylaid by the cost of chemicals. Focusing solely on price can hamper efforts to find the most suitable chemical management program.

“Chemicals are such a small part of the costs of cleaning,” says Uselman. “Labor’s 85 to 90 percent of your cost of cleaning, so don’t focus on that 2 to 3 percent and try to save five cents a quart on bowl cleaner. When you’re choosing a chemical management system, you need to figure out what’s going to let you use your labor most efficiently. The cost of the chemical itself is peanuts compared to that labor.”

Kassandra Kania is a freelance writer based in Charlotte, N.C. She is a frequent contributor to Sanitary Maintenance.