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Finding floor care savings 4 Aug, 2014

Evaluating your floor care regimes can bring many benefits – not just in terms of effectiveness but also productivity. Natalie Dowse, Marketing and Product Manager for Truvox International Limited, reveals how regular assessments can identify both time and cost savings.

Every single industry or business sector has felt the force of the ‘age of austerity’ that was ushered in a few years ago – and contract cleaning is certainly not immune to its effects. Even if they haven’t actually experienced a cut in budgets, both private and public sector clients have had to make more of what they have got, wringing every ounce of value and productivity from their cleaning contracts.

Floors are a crucial part of any cleaning regime, not only in terms of appearance and company/organisation image, but also when it comes to health and safety. Dirty floors can pose a significant slip hazard, so skimping on this aspect of a contract should always be avoided. However, it’s not unknown for clients to cut certain aspects of services, without thinking about the long-term effects. For instance, eliminating the practice of stripping and refinishing floors will save money in the short term; but a floor finish does more than put a shine on the floor, it also helps to protect the surface from soil and grit, prolonging its good looks for longer.

Facility managers need to realise that it is possible to reduce floor care costs, while keeping floors clean and shiny. The first step to take is to ensure effective matting systems are provided at all entrances, not just the major ones. These help to trap soil, grit and other substances before it enters the main building, helping to reduce dirt spread through the building. The second way to reduce floor care costs, which will need an initial investment, is to introduce automation into your regime. While it might take an operative several hours to mop a large floor manually, in most cases an automatic scrubber dryer can reduce that to about one hour, and the savings made on labour costs can pay for the machine in just months.

Data is essential
Other than installing matting and mechanising floor care, it is important to know exactly what you are dealing with in terms of data. However, many facilities do not assess or evaluate their regimes on a continuous basis, which is a mistake – harking back to the old adage, ‘you can’t manage what you can’t measure’.

I would suggest that some of the following should be considered mandatory when compiling data:
•    The specific amount of floor space that must be maintained
•    The specific areas that need to be maintained and the methods required – some hard-surface floors in out-of-the-way areas may need more robust treatment than other surfaces
•    The equipment available to perform floor care tasks – including mops, buckets, and any machinery
•    The amount of chemicals needed for each task
•    The time required to complete the floor care task
•    The number of operatives available

One of the benefits of collecting floor care data is that managers and operatives can use the information to provide a business case for investing in new floor care machinery and working methods. This will help to speed up cleaning processes, deliver better, more consistent results, and increase customer satisfaction. When it comes to improving your floor care services, knowledge really is power.

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