Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Ahead Of The Pace

September 19, 2010

Staying ahead of the competition during uncertain — and worse than expected — times is easier said than done.

Although this may seem like strictly a building service contractor (BSC) concern, in-house departments feel the pressure to outwork and outperform the competition as well.

Appearance is still king, but the inquiry, "How much will this cost?" is now a close second place and challenging appearance''s reign as a facility''s main priority.

Look In The Mirror

In this month''s cover story, the author notes that one solid practice of outpacing the competition is focusing solely on your operation.

After all, you cannot control your competition''s or even your customers'' spending, buying habits, personnel decisions, budget cuts, marketing strategies, labor, etc.

You do, however, have complete control of your costs.

Sure an eight-hour workday is traditional, but can you get by with seven hours?

Fancy uniforms are nice, but during tough times, is there some flexibility or alternative choices available?

Additionally, incentives and customer appreciation "gifts" may be safe to put on hold right now.

Increase employee morale and training, but only when you can measure enhanced results and healthier surfaces.

These are all examples of choices within your control.

What you cannot control is what the competition is doing.

We''re not suggesting to ignore the competition, just to be more mindful of how to increase your value and spending.

Our cover story offers a more detailed look at this reader issue starting on page 10.

Environment Pushes Behavior

Sometimes it is hard not to let the current state of economic affairs dictate your business.

Although times have changed, there is no sense entertaining pity.

Instead, writes Dave Frank in his column this month, end users should be prepared for "zero-base budgeting and task-based workloading."

As Frank explains on page 45, to weather the storm, end users must work backwards to identify opportunities for savings.

Consultants are warning that what worked yesterday may not still work today.

The sooner you realize this fact — or the later your competitors do — the better off your business or department will be in order to survive these times. CM

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