Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online
April 2014 Lets Talk Shop

The Importance Of SPACE Inventories

Maintaining facility data is the only way to make informed decisions.

April 2, 2014

Operating in today’s business environment and keeping those operations healthy requires data –– volumes of it.

So much that you might ask yourself, “Why bother?”

You have to bother, because knowing, reliably, where you are and where you are going requires complete and accurate information about every facet of your business.

In several of the articles in this series, we’ve discussed “space inventory” as it relates to workloading.

This article focuses on what to do with the space inventory once you’ve gone to the trouble of capturing it.

Specifically, keeping the space inventory current is critical to the success of the operation.

You can’t keep operations up to date with outdated information.

Healthcare And Housekeeping

One example I can give is a large healthcare organization.

The site had purchased a workloading program that required a space inventory in order to fairly assign rooms and tasks to the housekeeping staff.

A test sample using the site’s floor plans revealed some inconsistency between what was on the floor plan versus what was actually on the floor.

It was decided that a complete physical inventory would be required in order to validate the floor drawings.

One day, an employee in a small, three-cubicle office approached the person conducting the inventory for the environmental services group (EVS).

She asked why the EVS always skipped her office.

As it turned out, on the floor plan, her office was shown as a storeroom.

The employee was assured that a correction would be made and that she could expect housekeeping services from then on.

Those floor plan drawings were over six years old.

Most sites have some changes every year.

So, it stood to reason that there would be more than a few inconsistencies.

Unfortunately, the process to communicate changes was deficient at this site.

Aside from some areas not getting cleaned, those inconsistencies made workloading under their old system more than a little suspect.

Establishing A Process

This example highlights the importance of maintaining up-to-date information/data.

It’s easy to underestimate the ramifications of a small change in a floor plan.

Removing a wall to convert a patient room into a nurse’s station impacts more than just the nursing staff.

It impacts everyone from admitting to housekeeping and maintenance.

Keeping everyone in the loop and operating efficiently requires a system for communicating changes on a timely basis.

To work well the process needs to involve:

  • Documentation of all changes
  • A flow of information to all impacted parts of the organization
  • Updating workloading software accordingly.

Our example is one in which the EVS department consisted of in-house staff.

However, one can imagine how improper information could impact cost and service.

Since the tasks can differ depending on what a room is used for, the only way to maintain control of human resources, and know where best to utilize them, is to maintain the information that governs the output of the software.

That is the space inventory, and it has to stay accurate and current.

In Behind The Broom, A Manager’s Guide to a Professional Cleaning Operation, my co-authors and I use the phrase “garbage in-garbage out” when referring to the quality and reliability of information being used to make decisions about our facility.

Having the right data and maintaining that data is the only way to make informed decisions you can stand behind.