Change In The Industry Is Needed
Distributors can help facility executives realize that cutting cleaning frequencies does more harm than good
By Dan Weltin
The theme of this year’s ISSA/INTERCLEAN trade show was “Reimagine Clean.” The message was, “quality cleaning is an investment, not a cost to be minimized.” Without showing facility executives and building owners that the cleaning industry provides value, we won’t be able to stop the price wars we see today.
I completely agree with ISSA’s message and feel it’s a constant battle to get facility executives to realize that cleaning is more than just a line-item in a budget spreadsheet. Too often the answer to budget woes has been to cut cleaning frequencies or allot departments fewer dollars. All the while facility executives are spending money on energy- and water-saving initiatives, knowing that they’ll have strong ROI in the long-run. Well, I have news for you: Cleaning can do that, too.
If facility executives bring back daily vacuuming and routine extraction, carpets will last longer. Floors that are mopped or autoscrubbed daily will not need to be stripped and recoated as often. The list goes on and on.
At the end of 2011, I was encouraged to hear that after nearly three years of neglect, facility executives again were requesting project work — window washing, carpet extraction, floor stripping, etc. Even more encouraging was the fact that the bill for these services was often higher than the cost would have been if facilities had just kept up cleaning frequencies. I thought that maybe this experience would teach facility managers a lesson and they would return to more consistent cleaning schedules this year. Sadly, it didn’t happen.
Maybe all the Dr. Seuss I’ve been reading to my sons is influencing me, but this quote from “The Lorax” seems quite appropriate: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
Facility managers and building owners hold the cards and it’s up to us in the cleaning industry to influence them. If we can’t convince facility managers of the damage they are doing by reducing cleaning frequencies and budget dollars, then building service contractors and in-house service professionals won’t clean as often and as a result, will buy fewer products from jan/san distributors.