Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Search For The Best Of The Best: Part Two

September 19, 2010
Last month, we started our search for the best of the best cleaning strategies.

We set the groundwork and also presented some findings.

Let us pick up right where we left off.

Customer satisfaction
The best of the best satisfaction ratings were also delivered by Mixed Shift, which rated a 90.9 percent satisfaction level.

The distribution of satisfaction levels between high performance and low performance varied by cleaning shift.

Day Shift exhibited the smallest distribution, which might indicate more consistency in cleaning systems and activities.

On the other hand, Mixed Shift exhibited the broadest range in performance, and the highest top-end ratings.

Cost per square foot
On a cost-per-square-foot basis, Night Shift cleaning is delivered at a lower cost than Day Shift or Mixed Shift.

While some Mixed Shift sites actually delivered a lower cost than some Day-only locations, on the whole, Night Shift sites were 39 cents per square foot lower in cost than Mixed Shift-cleaned sites and 23 cents per square foot lower than Day Shift.

The cost of cleaning ranged from $1.26 per square foot to 72 cents per square foot for Day Shift cleaning; 86 cents to 43 cents for Night Shift cleaning; and $1.85 to 52 cents per square foot for Mixed Shift.

The best: Team or Zone?
The best-rated quality was delivered by a Zone-cleaned facility, which rated a high of 95.7 percent cleanliness.

Team cleaning averaged a 73.6 percent attribute-free appearance; this compared favorably to the 70.7 percent for Zone cleaning averages.

We then did a drill-down on the data to examine the underlying makeup of these performance numbers.

We wanted to know if the different cleaning system also produced the same or different satisfaction.

We found that the best Zone-cleaned facility rated a 90 percent satisfaction.

On a cost-per-hour basis, cleaning services were delivered at a low cost of $1,006 per hour for Zone cleaning, compared to a low cost of $1,434 per hour for Team cleaning.

Zone-cleaned sites actually delivered a lower cost than some Team locations.

On the whole, Zone cleaning was delivered at a low of 43 cents per square foot, compared to a low of 52 cents per square foot for Team cleaning.

While Team and Day cleaning strategies averaged better overall, when compared to the best of the best cleanliness, satisfaction and cost, Mixed Shift, Zone cleaning strategies outperformed all other alternatives.

Why the best strategies work
When we reviewed the data with these characteristics as a screen, we found the cleaning systems that were the most documented, structured and aggressively managed delivered a higher cleanliness quality, more satisfaction, and lower cost than cleaning systems that were less structured and organized.

What seems to be involved is the realization that Team and Day cleaning strategies, in general, are more structured, more closely managed, and better documented.

Yet, when examining the best of the best performers, we found even greater structure, documentation and management focus than the other alternatives.

The lesson seems to be that cleaning companies can achieve extraordinary performance for quality, satisfaction and cost if they are willing to invest in developing a best of the best system of service delivery.

Beyond individual initiative, I believe that manufacturers have a remarkable opportunity to engage with cleaning companies, besides just selling cleaning products.

This is an opportunity that is being left to consultants and self-promoting advocates.

The market is wide open and is waiting for the manufacturer(s) who are willing to be the thought leaders and champions for achieving the best of the best in a highly fragmented industry.

Vincent F. Elliott is the founder, president and CEO of Elliott Affiliates Ltd. of Hunt Valley, MD. He is recognized as a leading authority in the design and utilization of best practice performance-driven techniques for janitorial outsourcing and management. For more information on Elliott Affiliates, visit