Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Operational improvement technologies

September 19, 2010
Web- and mobile-based software technology provides a platform for operational excellence, driving continuous performance improvements and saving time and money by automating laborious business processes.

Some important business process improvements come from increased ability to expedite response to customer concerns and complaints.

These systems assist in pro-actively identifying troubled areas of below-par performance and enhance corrective operational effectiveness from and to the field, keeping the customer in the communication loop.

Lead, they will follow
Excelling at tackling problems and achieving performance excellence is a top-down-driven process executed by management teams who understand and believe that, “what gets measured gets done and what gets measured and reported continually improves,” until agreed-upon performance standards are being met and consistently sustained.

Top officers understand that there will be promoters of excellence within their organization and detractors of any new technology or improvement program.

They know that they must weigh in on the side of the promoters of excellence and not allow detractors to maintain the status quo.

Both in-house and outsourced housekeeping/ environmental services/janitorial services and maintenance operations within the enterprise are all hiring from the same labor pool.

The difference for success
A basic differentiation of one organization over another is how well it is able to hire, manage, motivate, train and sustain its labor force.

All programs, processes and procedures aim to accomplish the quality standards of the facilities correctly, each and every day.

The most trouble-free, best-executed programs win; execution is the key differentiator and technological advancements make excellence possible.

Organizations and departments are also attempting to distinguish themselves through certain certification programs, such as the new ISSA Cleaning Industry Management Standard.

For JanSan operations to achieve such certified operational excellence requires technological advancement of their organization and operating systems.

All of these programs and credentials inform facility users and owners that you are offering the best possible service available for the dollars being spent and will give the highest responsiveness to concerns and complaints.

It is all about how well we resolve complaints and problems, tackling trouble areas for our customers, the users of the facilities we maintain.

Improvements to expect
Here are some of the operational improvements that come from the use of Web- and mobile-based operating and inspection software systems:

Standardized operating an inspection platform — These systems tie together multiple locations and various departments, standardizing quality assurance inspection systems. You can show benchmark scores against current service performance and show trends of continuous improvement.

You can achieve regulatory compliance, manage programs, such as “green” initiatives, document training and safety programs, conduct customer surveys and automate any number of other data collection and audit tracking functions, even worldwide.

These systems provide periodic task scheduling that calendars frequency and extra work, as well as PMs on equipment, safety and trainings and any other necessary planning. They optimize the coordination of personnel, resources and assets, maximizing the effectiveness of the organization. They act as a tickler file sending out action item/work orders by e-mail and text messages, alerting those involved in the scheduled events.

These systems also allow for the housekeeping/maintenance departments or contractors to enter into a true partnership relationship with more customer oversight and performance disclosure by allowing the customer to view online submitted inspections, open action items/work orders and run their own reports of the operations performance.

They also document complaints and operational improvement trends giving proof of sustainable acceptable levels of performance.

Inspection and data collection advantages — The data collection can be entered from a number of different sources, such as your laptop or desktop, or be entered from handheld devices through the Internet.

The inspection system will be completely customizable, allowing it to be used for numerous data collection purposes, with multiple score values or score types achieving customer satisfaction in the required rating systems.

The system will also calibrate instantaneous scores in the field upon inspection completion, giving the inspector immediate feedback.

Inspections and score results can also be validated through the systems capability to upload from the handheld device, both pictures of deficiencies or corrections, and verifying signatures of both the inspector and the customer agreed upon score values.

Revenue and profit enhancements through operational efficiencies — These systems save inspection time in the field, data input time in the office, consolidation and report generating costs and travel and vehicle expense uploading data worldwide from wherever.

You can avoid or reduce fines by being pro-actively prepared for OSHA, MSDS, Right to Know, HACCP, HAZMAT and other audits.

They automate all maintenance inspections, such as: Custodial, landscape, equipment, I.T. systems, roofs and others.

New services — These systems provide in-house operations the commoditized expertise to be pro-actively prepared for regulatory compliance audits and inspections. The systems give contract service providers new service opportunities assisting customers with the above as well.

New customers and improved customer retention — Companies that are leading their marketing efforts with technological advancements in communications, periodic task scheduling, calendaring, inspections and reporting, are providing advantages to their customers through these systems that are winning greater contract opportunities from less sophisticated competitors and they experience higher customer retention rates.

Make sure to choose the right system.

The greatest challenge is having the system do many complicated things in a very simple fashion so that virtually anyone can use the system effectively with a minimum amount of training and expertise.

The system should be set up in ways that the programs and forms themselves commoditize the expertise of the collection processes and contain costs potentially eliminated through automation.

Embracing continuous improvement and being a leader through enhanced technologies is the sustaining position of an organization.

This is the direction of the industry and the wave of the future.

Dennis Parker is the president of VES, which markets several facility software programs, leading with VEKTR Operational Software - for quality assurance, opperating compliance, risk management and Safety, Sales management, and other data collection processes and reporting. Visit for more information.