In what already has been a contentious presidential primary season, I’m sure the last thing distributors wanted to do was cast another vote. But earlier this year, we sent out our Distributor Choice Award ballots anyway, and I’m happy to report that this year’s participation was the best yet.

Looking over the 40 winners, it’s easy to identify some common themes, and not surprisingly, these are the issues end users deal with on a daily basis.

As budgets and cleaning frequencies decrease, it’s even more crucial to have supplies that improve productivity. Among the winners are battery vacuums and equipment that cover more ground in less time. There is also smart restroom technology that lets janitors service restrooms when they need it, instead of wasting time checking every fixture on every floor.

Some products not only improve productivity, but simplify the cleaning process and reduce the number of products in the janitors’ closets because they perform multiple tasks. Whether it’s cleaning and polishing, disinfecting both hard and soft surfaces, or cleaning and disinfecting, dual-purpose products all performed well in the polls.

Results also indicate that there is definitely a desire among end users to simplify cleaning in tight, cramped spaces. It’s clear that distributors have recognized this need as they picked a small scrubber, low-profile broom and a slim waste receptacle as winners.

It’s also apparent that distributors are helping their end user customers take the next steps in sustainability. Product recommendations include orbital machines and engineered water that help eliminate the need for chemicals, environmentally friendly ice melt, and a hand dryer that uses less energy.

Of course, these are just some of the product types that make up the 2016 Distributor Choice Award winners. A full listing can be found on page 10.