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July 2013 Let's Talk Shop

Truly Knowing A Facility

It is important to realize that not all facility requirements are the same.

July 8, 2013

How many times have you heard “cleaning is cleaning.”

While on the face of it that comment is true, when we dig deeper it is revealed that there are as many variations in cleaning tasks as there are facility types.

Even in similar facility types there can be nuances which may make the cleaning operations appreciably different from one to another.

No two facilities are exactly alike.

That is why it is important to establish the ground rules on what you need and how you want to get there.

We reference industry matrices as productivity standards that can be used to help determine how much time and resources are required when it comes to cleaning a facility.

However those matrices are taken from a survey sent out worldwide and should be considered only as a reference point.

For a clear determination of a facility’s requirements, one needs to examine several variables including:

  • Type of facility — Manufacturing, healthcare, office, education, etc.
  • Population Density — The number of people using the facility on a daily basis.
  • Age of the facility — It is generally easier to clean a new facility than it is an older one, at least in terms of the perception of clean.

Real World Example

Jim had been a cleaner with a building service contractor for many years, working his way up from housekeeper to manager.

An opportunity was presented to him that he felt he was well suited for.

After all, he had tons of experience in the industry.

He took a job as a supervisor of the environmental services organization at a large hospital.

Because his resume was well rounded with a variety of experiences, both he and his new employer felt he would be a good fit.

Jim came into his new position with some “great” ideas on how to reduce time requirements for cleaning areas like patient rooms and exam areas.

What he didn’t plan on was that the tasks and quality levels for those areas were appreciably different from the commercial office buildings he was accustomed to.

Hospital cleaning is unlike any other.

By its very nature, a hospital patient room is governed by disinfectant guidelines that cannot be compromised.

Only after much training on infection control and other requirements did Jim realize that he needed to re-engineer his thoughts on hospital cleaning, and with his new found knowledge, was able to properly resource the patient areas.

Important Points

While the above example is but one example, it is necessary for anyone involved in decision making regarding requirements and/or resources to be mindful of the uniqueness of their facility, in addition to paying attention to the needs and demands of the tenants of the facility.

Points to consider when resourcing your facility:

Type of facility: Each facility type has its own nuances.

Manufacturing, for example, may seem more difficult to clean due to the dust and commotion it can create.

However, consider that the expectations may be considerably different from say healthcare.

Cleanable space: Only resource those areas that are actually being cleaned.  In other words, don’t resource what can’t be cleaned by your housekeepers.

A facility I worked with reported over 1 million square feet of space.

Upon further investigation it was revealed that there was actually something closer to 800,000 square feet of cleanable space.

That makes quite a difference when resourcing to requirements.

Room use: As noted, cleaning a 200-square-foot patient room in a hospital is quite different from cleaning a like sized office in a commercial office building.

Tenant expectations: Knowing what your customer wants can be of great value in giving them what they need.

I would cite as an example a client whose statement of work for a conference room was “clean it.”

That puts the cleaning service in a no-win position.

Are they to clean the floors, walls, ceiling, etc.?

Or does the client only want the floor and furnishings cleaned?

Knowing what you are up against in all scenarios is the only way to guarantee that you will meet the expectations of your facility.

Take nothing for granted.

Document what you do, and do what you document.