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Management tips — software

September 19, 2010
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Today, software is minimally used in the cleaning and maintenance management industry, but extensively used in the rest of our lives.

This is attributable to the fact that as a group, people in the JanSan industry tend to be staunch defenders of the status quo and scared of change.

There are leaders and forward thinkers amongst us; they are found primarily in higher education, some large building service contractors (BSCs), and scattered throughout the rest of the cleaning industry.

It is time for change.

With the almost universal demand to “do more with less”, change is inevitable.

Why do otherwise intelligent managers insist on instructing workers in what their tasks are on a daily basis?

Why aren''t supervisors enabling their workers through observation and training rather than wasting time rescheduling each cleaner?

Why do managers go “hat in hand” to the client rather than as a peer professional?

Why do contractors feel obligated to denigrate the price of the job until no company can make a profit?

I believe now is the time for change and now is the time to use software.

Why software for a cleaning operation?

  • Better communication with your client: Whether you are a BSC or an in-house operation, you have clients who don''t understand what you do.
  • Better communication with your workers: Use of a printed worksheet allows workers to know at any time exactly what you want done.
  • Accountability: When you, your clients, and your workers are on the same page, your time does not have to be spent putting out fires.

What are the benefits?

  • Credibility: People are taught to believe what they read and question what they hear. Clients understand a written report or graph, but appearance, attitude, and speaking ability color what they hear.
  • Professionalism: A printed presentation that includes a statement of work and a statement of costs elevates the BSC or the facility manager in the eyes of the client.
  • Adaptability: Software enables you to quickly adjust the statement of work to meet the financial or perception needs of your client.

How easy is software to use?

  • Training: Remember the first time you used a swing floor machine? Software won''t throw you against the wall, but you need good instruction. In education, there is an saying: “Being taught how to do something is 12 times faster than being self taught.”
  • Acclimation: All tools become easier to use the more often you use them. You are a much faster reader today than when you were first taught to read, right?
  • The correct software: The right tool for the job makes it go more smoothly. There is a correct software application for almost any job.

How costly is software?

  • $0 to $200,000+: The price of software is wide-ranging, and depends upon what you want to accomplish. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for.
  • Operating cost: The real cost of software is best measured in job retention or new work acquired. How many retained or new accounts does it take to see a return on your investment?

Technology is an ever-changing industry. New software applications that can be utilized by those in the JanSan industry are coming out all the time.

Know what you want, what you need, and you will make an educated choice.

Larry Bier has been a salesman, distributor and consultant in the JanSan industry for the past 40 years. He is the owner of Alpharetta, GA-based Breeze Software, a company that specializes in JanSan industry software.
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