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Management And Training

Search for the best of the best: Part One

September 19, 2010
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Previously, I have examined the impact of the cleaning shift, such as Day, Night or Mixed, and cleaning strategies, such as Team and Zone.

I concluded that on average Day cleaning and on average Team cleaning delivered better performance for building cleanliness, occupant satisfaction, productivity and cost.

But, what happens when you ignore the averages and ask about what shift and strategy works best?

Best of the best
This two-part series explores that question.

Out of 145 properties throughout the country, how do you select the best of the best?

We conducted over 30,000 inspections, performed interviews and collected information both on-site and through third parties to evaluate performance against the key metrics described earlier.

We based our selection of the Best-in-Class properties on: Cleanliness quality, customer satisfaction and price factors.

Each property was ranked through a scatter diagram to evaluate their relative performance for the intersection of cleanliness quality, customer satisfaction and cost.



Overall portfolio cleanliness quality ranged from a low of about 45 percent to a high of about 96 percent.

Satisfaction ranged from a low of about 48 percent to a high of about 91 percent.

The adjacent portfolio-wide chart presents the relation between these two metrics on a set of 40 percent to 100 percent scales.

Given this distribution of cleanliness-satisfaction performance, we focused our attention on the properties that presented better than 80 percent satisfaction and 80 percent cleanliness.

They show up in the lower right-hand quadrant.

Narrowing the field
With a focus on the 16 best-performing properties, we examined the impact of price to refine the best of the best properties list.

The goal was to identify properties that delivered 80 percent cleanliness quality, at less than 90 cents per square foot.

On the basis of comparing price to cleanliness quality, the list of best performers was narrowed to six properties.

The other 10 properties exhibited exceptional cleanliness with pricing at or above 90 cents per square foot.

To validate our findings, we examined the impact of satisfaction, as another criterion for refining our best of the best properties.

On the basis of comparing price to occupant satisfaction, the list of best performers was again confirmed to the same six properties.

The other 10 properties exhibited pricing at or above 90 cents per square foot, notwithstanding acceptable satisfaction levels.



As a result of this “short-listing” process, we were able to identify properties that represent the best of the best performers for the combination of cleanliness quality, customer satisfaction, and price.

The net result of this combing of performance data was to validate the six properties that delivered best-in-class performance.

Profile of best-in-class performers:


These properties represent about 4.8 percent of all properties studied.

The logical question is: “What produced this best-in-class performance?”

To understand the elements that produced this performance, we undertook to revisit the best-in-class properties to examine the cleaning shift and strategies that produced these exceptional levels of performance.

What follows is the result of this inquiry.

The best cleaning strategy?
We examined the impact of the best-in-class performers for two distinct strategies: Day shift cleaning and Team cleaning.

On average, these strategies comprised the best performing cleaning approaches for their specific categories.

So, the next logical question is: “To what extent are these strategies present in the best of the best performers?”

Cleaning quality
When segmented by shift, this study found that Mixed shift cleaning delivered higher cleanliness than Day or Night shift cleaning.

When identifying the best shift for cleaning, we found that the highest Mixed shift facilities rated a 95.7 percent cleanliness level or about 10 percent cleaner than the highest Day shift strategies.

It is also worth noting that the wider the performance range, the less stable the cleaning system.

That is, there is more variation in the cleaning strategies where the range is the greatest.

We’ll pick up the discussion next month with more findings and conclusions.


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

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