The Facility Cleaning Decisionssurvey also indicated that 74 percent of respondents wanted equipment that was easy to operate and easy to train their employees to use. With limited time and resources, a machine’s ease-of-use is a critical feature for custodial managers.

Van Reeth learned firsthand how important floor equipment training is when operating a new, unfamiliar piece of equipment.

“I’ll never forget I once demoed a walk-behind carpet extractor, and I accidentally backed myself into a corner,” he recalls. “Inadvertently, in trying to get out of the corner, I practically crushed myself behind the machine. I thought to myself that if I can make that mistake, my employees can potentially make that mistake.”

If operated improperly, large floor care machines are capable of doing tremendous damage, which is why floor equipment training material that is easy to understand is foremost on custodial managers’ buying checklists for new equipment.

“For decades the manufacturing industry has been failing its customers by not providing audio-visual training materials,” says Van Reeth. “We have turnover and we have people that need refresher training. When you’re a larger facility, it’s difficult to get everyone together at the right time for vendor training, so we need 24/7 access to training materials, such as DVDs.”

For many custodians, English is a second language; therefore, floor equipment training manuals that use diagrams and pictures are a plus. 

In addition to user-friendly machines and training manuals, buyers want machine parts that can be easily changed.

“With burnishers, for example, sometimes you have to get onto the ground to put the pads on, and with some models you have to use enough pressure to clip the pads in place,” says Charles Gately, interim director of environmental services for Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, Pawtucket, R.I. “It can be difficult to do. Parts need to be easy to change because some custodians may be able to run a machine, but they’re not able to lift enough weight [to change parts].”

previous page of this article:
Increase Value With Multi-Task Floor Machines
next page of this article:
Floor Care Equipment Buyers Place Ease-of-use Over Price