Know your enemy
The prevailing uncertainty may be holding back business
investment. But James White of Rawlins argues that the
real enemies of contract cleaning are false economies,
ineffective methods and passing up proven returns from
Uncertainty is holding back investment in the UK: political uncertainty
about Brexit and its impacts on business – and wider economic
uncertainty amid trade wars, faltering economic growth, and fears of
Economists tell us this is the reason foreign investors and local
businesses are delaying decisions on investment in new ventures,
buildings, acquisitions, plant and equipment.
Contract cleaning is not insulated against that economic chill. Your
clients would feel the effects too. So, given all this uncertainty, should
contractors put investment on the long finger too?
Yes and no. Before acquiring a rival or taking on bigger premises, it’d
be prudent to re-examine projections and assumptions. But the
business case may still stack up.
And when it comes to certain investment decisions, you can have
certainty – not least, about better equipment that increases productivity
and boosts performance.
Remember, in bad times even more than in good, it is the efficient
and competitive contractor that survives and thrives.
Equipping your cleaning team more effectively is not a matter of
investing with hope, but hard-headed calculation.
Will this kit reduce the time our people take to do their job? Will it
match, or preferably, improve the cleaning results we deliver? What will
be the savings in payroll and/or output, and usage of cleaning solutions
and consumables? And finally, how quickly will these savings from this
new way of working pay back on our investment?
This is what we call Return on Innovation.
When cost of ownership and cleaning performance give clear, proven
returns, then innovation is no longer a cost. RoI turns innovation into
a cost cutter and a profit provider. The best of innovation also helps
you deliver a higher standard of service, providing a competitive
advantage and/or justifying a price premium.
So it may be true that uncertainty is the enemy of investment. But be
careful you know where the real enemy lies.
It could well lie in caution, aversion to change and in false
economies. For example, a contractor may assume that sticking with
mops and buckets is the most economical set-up for cleaning floors.
But first, factor in the cost of labour (around 75% of the cleaning
budget), and consumption of disinfectants and chemicals, and then the
cleaning time and cost per square metre of floor or toilet. Then
compare with a reliable automated method. The comparison tends to
change minds and the bottom line.
An alternative, relatively low-tech system can automate mopping at a
fraction of the price of labour-intensive mopping or a scrubber-dryer.
Unlike mopping solution in a bucket that becomes increasingly more
contaminated, the OmniFlex dispenses clean solution and suctions
away the soils.
As this crossover system is modular, contractors can even make the
transition to more efficient cleaning in steps, adding modules and
spreading the comparatively low cost further.
Tests show that mops at best temporarily displace dirt and bacteria –
another real enemy – as mopheads drag them back into cleaned areas.
And they fail to dislodge embedded contaminants in crevices and grout
The OmniFlex is 30-60 times more effective at removing dirt and
contaminants from kitchens, dining and washroom floors than entirely
manual cleaning methods.
In the case of washrooms and toilets, the contractor can exploit
automation further with a No Touch Cleaning system. It allows the
operator to spray solution at high pressure on all surfaces – from floors
to toilet bowls and all touch points, and wet-vacuum away the soils.
This approach is 2-3 times faster, so the payback is rapid. In both
cases, a truly hygienic standard of cleanliness can be delivered reliably
For the client, there’s the assurance of a healthier environment for
building users. And because daily cleaning is effective, the need for
disruptive and expensive deep cleans is avoided.
Finally, it is important to note that the cleaning results – like the
business case for innovation – can be proven, by ATP testing.
You can flush away the
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