Another way distributors can help clients streamline processes is to suggest they explore floor cleaning machines that are equipped with Internet of Things (IoT). The technology allows the machine to automatically send technical and analytical data to the client or the distributor. For example, if a machine’s vacuum motor needs to be replaced, the sensors will automatically send out the diagnostic information, Josephs says.

“When a mechanic comes out, they already know to bring a vacuum motor. That saves on downtime, which saves the customer money,” he says. “It also can show how long the machine has been running and how long the brushes have been engaged.”

The data allows the client and distributors to analyze whether the machine is being used effectively and cleaning as many square feet as it can.

Another lower-cost, but effective manpower-saving avenue distributors can take with clients is replacing traditional string mops with microfiber options, which are more effective at capturing dust, dirt and debris. Microfiber tools also capture moisture and control saturation much better than older mops.

If a facility has never delved into micro-scrubbers, this may be the time to do so. According to McGarvey, micro-scrubbers can be especially useful when it comes to cleaning smaller areas.

“If the facility is still mopping all their floors, I would question effectiveness,” says McGarvey. “If we can bring in some automation, even on the low end of the cost scale, it could provide a better result — usually freeing up some labor. Mopping with traditional string mops is one of the slowest processes we have.”

Distributors can also help clients by recommending an exam of the flooring itself. In some cases, circumstances may call for a change in the floor material or the removal or addition of carpeting.

Another item to consider is the floor coating, which typically needs to be stripped and reapplied on a regular basis. Changing the actual flooring or coating could reduce the man hours and supplies needed to clean and care for the floors, McGarvey says, resources that can be saved or used elsewhere to clean high-touch areas.

“There are products that actually reduce, if not eliminate, the need to strip and recoat. Recommend newer technologies that help save time and labor on the back end,” says McGarvey.

Distributors should reiterate to their clients that high demand for certain cleaning products and equipment is still putting strain on logistics and supply chains, as well as pressure on prices. That reality could play a role when creating a plan and budget for floor cleaning.

“Cleaning went from the boiler room to the board room pretty much overnight,” Ellison says. “It caught multiple people off guard. Big companies with big brand names couldn’t keep up and are still struggling after 11 months. The scale is what threw everyone off.”

Brendan O’Brien is a freelance writer based in Chicago. He is a frequent contributor to Sanitary Maintenance.

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