Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Using Customer-driven Value For Cleaning Cost Reduction: Part Two

September 19, 2010

As you can see from last month''s discussion, there are three key interactive elements valued as important to customers: Various types of rooms are valued differently by each customer; some items are valued differently by customers; and some appearance defects or soiling conditions are valued differently by customers.

Let''s look at the customer-driven value model for an office cleaning function, as an example.

Values For Different Types Of Rooms

Customers value different types of spaces differently.

Typically, customers and building occupants value health-connected spaces above storage and rarely used rooms, for example.

When faced with dramatic cost reduction alternatives, customers can distinguish between space that has real value, reduced value or low value.

Based on this type of customer input, management can move to adjust resources around the value expressed for each type of space found within the building.

To communicate those expectations to the cleaning staff, quality targets can be established for various types of rooms to communicate the values of specific spaces in the eyes of both the customer and the facilities management team.

Item Values

As we have said, rooms are not cleaned — items and surfaces are.

So, a common way to reduce cost is to remove certain items from the list of what is to be cleaned.

Most often, the building manager and/or the contractor creates this "not-to-be-cleaned" list.

Customer-driven value uses customers'' perceived value to create this list by simply not cleaning those things that are of no value to the customer or greatly reducing the tasks or frequency of cleaning for other items that may have some value to the customer.

Process Values

Traditional cleaning is achieved by creating a description of the individual steps needed to complete the cleaning process.

This description is typically written text identifying the steps, activities and the frequency needed to achieve the results specified by the buyer or proposed by the contractor.

Customers value different types of soiling problems differently.

Typically, customers and building occupants want to see less dust versus seeing some streaking on pictures, for example.

When faced with dramatic cost reduction alternatives, customers can distinguish between cleanliness conditions that have real value or low value.

Putting It All Together

When you clean only what has value to your customer, dramatic cost reductions are possible.

Customer-driven value provides a graphic roadmap of what to clean and how to clean it.

Using customer-driven value, some rooms are not cleaned at all.

In other rooms, only some of the items present will be cleaned, and most of these items will have a substantially reduced number of tasks done to them.

And, all of these reductions are achieved based on the value that the customer places on the type of space, items found within that space and the appearance-related tasks performed.

Using the customer-driven value model for customer-driven cleaning, theoretical savings of 72 percent are potentially possible.

Let''s look at an example of customer-driven value.

The key question is, what part of this 72 percent potential savings can be realized?

We believe that it is reasonable to expect to save half of the available savings potential from an effective customer-driven value process.

It''s about using customer-perceived value to drive decisions to create the most cost efficient — and yet customer friendly — environment possible.

Thus, based on the customer-driven value model suggested herein, we would realistically expect to reduce cleaning cost by about 36 percent while maintaining customer appearance priorities.


Vincent F. Elliott is the founder, president and CEO of Elliott Affiliates Ltd. of Hunt Valley, Maryland, www.ealtd.com. He is widely recognized as the leading authority in the design and utilization of best practice, performance-driven techniques for janitorial outsourcing and ongoing management.