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Let's Talk Shop September 2013

Technology Can Keep You Going And Growing

Keeping up with a changing industry requires the right software.

September 10, 2013

Are you keeping up with the latest cleaning software technology?

If not, why?

Is it a value for cost issue, or do you feel overwhelmed and unsure how to even begin evaluating your needs?

In Behind The Broom, A Manager’s Guide to a Professional Cleaning Operation that I co-authored, we asked facility managers, cleaning contractors and other cleaning professionals how technology impacted their operations.

Survey respondents strongly agreed that technology had a positive impact, with the greatest benefits being a reduction in labor costs and making the process more cost-effective.

One custodial coordinator noted that new technologies allowed his operation to add “thousands of square feet" to cleaning assignments without adding labor.

Another said that technology "streamlined" the process, allowing for more competitive bidding.

One cleaning consultant installed a "state-of-the-art quality assurance system" that made them "more efficient and accessible" to their clients.

So, what can software do for your operations?

Let’s take the story of Jim.

Ten years ago, Jim started a cleaning business from his garage with only a couple of cleaners.

Today, he does over $2 million in revenue and has over 100 employees.

But those 10 years have also brought dramatic changes within the industry.

Now, Jim's customers want more while paying less.

Maintaining current customers requires value-added services, while attracting new customers requires Jim’s company to differentiate itself in the marketplace.

When bidding on a job, Jim can no longer provide general information; clients want detailed plans on how he will get the job done.

And the "accountants" want to know what makes up the numbers (cost) and what can be done to decrease costs without decreasing quality.

Adding to Jim’s difficulty, the company is currently too big for him to be involved in the day-to-day operations, and he no longer knows each cleaner by name.

Meeting The Challenges With Software Technology

Could software technology help Jim — and you — meet the industry’s new challenges?

The answer is a resounding "yes," but only if you find the right technology for your needs.

The following software can provide a good start for optimizing your operations.

Inspection Software

This software allows you to conduct real-time inspections:

  • Providing instant feedback
  • Evaluating cleaning quality
  • Tracking trends
  • Correcting problems before they spiral out of control.

It works with today's smart phones, saving money on the purchase of other devices.

It’s easy to get up and running and is customizable, allowing you to capture and configure any way you want.

Other useful features include GPS coordinates, pictures and the ability to access inspections and a dashboard anywhere, anytime.

Workloading Software

This software stores all relevant information on every aspect of your business in one place and connects it through the magic of an inter-relational database.

Generated reports enable you to:

  • Determine labor requirements
  • Calculate “what if” scenarios at the touch of a key
  • Develop work assignments and track cleaning quality through the use of inspections linked to exact space locations.

Some systems being introduced to North America include the option to to color code floor plans in creating work assignments, quality profiles and area types, removing the language barrier and showing your detailed cleaning operation at a glance.

Employee Tracking Software

Providing reports that track employees’ whereabouts, this software can improve your bottom line by guarding against payroll fraud and enabling you to hold employees accountable.

This tool is also useful in showing clients that staff is completing assigned tasks.

Other Software Systems

Software for tickets, work orders and scheduling will also help track and manage your operations.

“You can’t expect to meet the challenges of today with yesterday’s tools and still be in business tomorrow.”

While the source of that quote is unknown, it could have been someone in today’s cleaning industry.

As Jim learned, success means being open to change.

Cleaning software is part of the change.

Are you up for the challenge?

 

Judy Gillies is the founder and president of The Surge Group Inc., a cleaning consulting company located in Toronto that helps facilities managers improve their cleaning operations. She is one of the authors of Behind the Broom, A Manager’s Guide to a Professional Cleaning Operation. For more information about Gillies or to get your own copy, visit www.BehindTheBroom.com.