As floods have ravaged towns and businesses throughout the Midwest this spring, distributors are coping with the effects it has had on their businesses and are lending a helping hand to customers stricken by the floods.

Distributors have bore the brunt of the flood damages in regards to their delivery routes. A number of companies have had to alter and in most cases increase the length of their delivery routes.

“We have increased our travel times because of the flooding,” says Mark Scott, vice president of Ebert Supply Co., Burlington, Iowa. “It has been damaging because of the fuel charges.”

For distributors like Jim Weber, president/owner of Weber Paper Co., Dubuque, Iowa, the flooding in his district of Cedar Falls, Iowa and Iowa City, Iowa has caused an increase in business, coinciding with difficulty of making deliveries.

“There has been an increase in business in our local districts,” says Weber. “Our routes had to change, particularly in Cedar Falls. It was difficult to get the deliveries to the exact locations because most of the downtown area was blocked off,” he says.

Even though there have been additional costs because of the flooding, distributors are helping out in different ways to assist in the cleanup.

“We are willing to do whatever it takes to get customers the supplies they need,” says Scott. “We are willing to eat hundreds of dollars worth of fuel because we have been more than blessed since there was no flooding at our facility.”

Other members of the cleaning industry have also reached out. Doug Kyle, general manager for the Bunzl Office in Kansas City, Mo., has gone to manufacturers and asked them to match the donations Bunzl has put up for the flood victims.

The company partnered with the non-for profit organization Gifts in Kind International to get cleaning supplies. Bunzl has donated the service of free delivery of all the products, says Kyle.

The ISSA Foundation has gotten in on the act as well, also partnering with Gifts in Kind to collect gloves, goggles, N-95 masks/respirators, trash bags, cleaning supplies and cleaning tools for flood victims.

Kimberly-Clark Professional has also donated supplies to assist cleanup efforts in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Columbus, Ind.

After the flooding, certain flood victims were dealt bad information about the types of products needed and correct cleanup procedures. Distributors like Weber have made a number of resources available to their customers to make sure they are adhering to correct cleanup procedures. He has also made his sales reps readily available for all customers.

”We have offered information to our customers on how to correctly clean a flooded area,” says Weber.

As of right now there is still a large amount of uncertainty as to how many accounts distributors will lose. Scott believes 80 percent of his accounts will remain open for business, but he along with Weber has been impressed with how business owners have reacted to the flood damages incurred by their businesses.

“People are kicking, fighting, scratching, and working as hard as they can to get things back in order,” says Weber.

Through the tragedy of the floods, distributors have helped victims and overextended themselves to return communities to their original state. Kyle feels it comes naturally in this line of work.

“The distribution business has a local feel to it,” he says. “You build friendships with customers and it lends itself to a natural desire to want to help out.”


Study Connects Cleaning And Learning

A recent study conducted through the Center for Facilities Research (CFaR) at APPA and co-sponsored by ISSA shows a direct tie between the cleanliness of an educational facility and the academic achievement of the students.

“Cleanliness and Learning in Higher Education,” reported that 88 percent of the 1,481 students polled said lack of cleanliness is a distraction and that APPA Level 1 (Orderly Spotlessness) or Level 2 (Ordinary Tidiness) is needed to create a healthy learning environment.

In addition, 80 percent of students said they should take responsibility for keeping campus buildings clean. The students indicated that the lack of cleanliness affects allergies, spreads germs, increases bug and rodent infestations and contributes to higher levels of stress.


MRSA Rates Underestimated

MRSA rates are eight times higher than previously estimated. A study conducted by The Association of Professionals in Infection Control, (APIC) revealed that MRSA accounts for over 60 percent of Staphylococcus aureus infrections. The death rate from MRSA infections is 2.5 higher than non-MRSA infections. The study is according to the World of Building Service Contracting.