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EXPERT ADVICE


Fail To Plan Or Plan To Save


It’s February, and most of last month’s New Year resolutions will have been swept under the carpet by now. But don’t despair; it’s never too late to make a plan for floorcare.


For those who haven’t drawn up an annual maintenance plan (or dusted it down recently), the prospect may seem daunting or pointless. But read on, and you’ll see why it will benefit your budget and boost your performance.


Here are half a dozen reasons with tips on how to do it:


Why have a floorcare plan? If you want to ensure that floors are maintained properly you should write down the duties, frequency of tasks and other services required. Involve your colleagues and team, and make them aware of the now-formalised cleaning regime.


Establish cleaning procedures. As well as the tasks, your plan should outline the kind of equipment and methods to be used, how often floors are to be refinished or carpets deep cleaned, and what chemicals and products are appropriate for both cleaning and refinishing. The floor manufacturer’s guidance should be consulted if necessary, but your cleaning contractor or in-house experts can advise.


Set expectations. It’s your job to set cleaning standards (in agreement with your line manager or client) and the budget for achieving them. Your assessment of what the floor is worth will help determine what


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kind of equipment and how many cleaner-hours are justified.


Perform preventative maintenance and daily care. These are crucial elements of the annual plan. Placing and maintaining mats at entrances, vacuuming and damp-mopping floors regularly all help keep floors looking their best for longer.


Train and re-train. Ongoing training for all workers – supervisors and managers as well as cleaning staff – is essential. Training eliminates bad habits that we all tend to slip into, even when there’s a formalised cleaning regime. This applies to health and safety too – don’t wait for an accident or near miss to jolt you out of complacency.


Some new training will usually be required for new equipment, and manufacturers or suppliers should be willing to provide it for free – which brings us to the final point.


Consider the case for automation or new equipment. If you’re thinking, ‘She would say that, wouldn’t she?’ let me soften your cynicism with some hard facts. Traditional hand-cleaning methods like mopping are not just laborious – as the mop and water become soiled, dirt and contaminants end up being spread around. More often than not, it’s not only insanitary, it’s an ineffective use of your team’s time and your cleaning budget.


Research by the University of Minnesota has shown that hand- mopping 5,000 square feet of floor space would take one person up


to two hours, compared with 15-30 minutes using an automatic scrubber. Based on this and its own work, our sister company Tornado Industries estimates that compact scrubber machines are more than three times as productive as mopping. So, depending on the frequency of cleaning, the labour savings could pay for a new machine in less than a month and a half.


A larger walk-behind scrubber would be 5-8 times more efficient depending on the size of model, and the payback time would be no more than 2-3 months even for this greater investment.


If your cleaning operations are already automated, you should still factor equipment replacement options into your annual planning. You might be surprised how much faster and more efficient the latest cleaning kit can be. And when considering new equipment, look at all the available technologies, not just what you’re used to. This might be backpack vacuum cleaners or cylindrical brush machines that could save you significantly more cleaning time and cost.


I expect you’ll agree those benefits are well worth planning for.


www.truvox.com


It’s never too late to write (or dust) down your floor maintenance plan for the year. According to our resident expert Natalie Dowse, Marketing and Product Manager for Truvox International Ltd, the time and cost savings should be worth it.


www.tomorrowscleaning.com


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