Trends in Custodial Management: Do More With Less is the New Norm

Tighten Budget

On November 6th, our Executive VP, Jim Smith, was a keynote speaker for the Fall 2014 ACUBSS Conference, hosted by Ball State University. He addressed an audience of college and university building services supervisors about future trends in custodial management – specifically, how doing more with less has become the new norm in the industry.

If you are a building supervisor, financial tightening may be forcing you to rethink your cleaning protocols. It’s time to step back and take a look at your facility – what is the impression your customers have, and what will they remember when they leave? Look at what you’ve always done and see how you can continue to make improvements. When you analyze the routine details, it can be surprising how much you may not have seen yesterday.

Below are a few topics from Jim Smith’s presentation at the ACUBSS conference. Do any of these issues ring true for your facility?

Do More With Less

Doing more with less has become the new norm in the cleaning industry and is here to stay. Before you make a commitment to change, though, you must first determine your goals:

  • How much clean do you want?
  • How much can you afford?
  • Are you getting all the clean you’re paying for?

7 Steps to Get Started:

  1. Know your operation inside and out
  2. Train your managers to know your operation inside and out
  3. Automate your workers – improve their productivity with cleaning equipment
  4. Utilize dilution control devices
  5. Buy your matting vs. rent, to reduce overall costs
  6. Invest in air care programs to improve your score with customers
  7. Equip your people with the right tools

Consolidate Your Products

Apply the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle – less inventory leads to fewer regulatory issues and simplifies your product training program. Always consider everything from a cost-in-use standpoint. Also, a greater predictability of results allows for implementable programs.

Lean Management

Effective management will be more critical moving forward, due to continued budget pressures in this training-intensive industry.

Key Points to Consider:

  • Coaching, internal motivation
  • Proper training
  • Supervisory personnel – bi-lingual requirements
  • Proper personal protective equipment
  • Presenteeism/Paid Leave Time – 60% of employees today go to work with the flu
  • Value proposition for supplier consolidation – understand there is a cost to serve for meeting your stocking, delivery, training and service demands

Practical Sustainability

It’s not just about the goodness of being green. Practicing practical sustainability can lead to long-term business resilience. Today, you have a better selection of sustainable products that benefit the planet, as well as the bottom line. Paper products made from alternative fibers and can liners manufactured from post-consumer waste perform just as well as their less sustainable counterparts, at a comparable cost to the consumer. Technology has dramatically improved both in product performance and reduction of labor to implement – these are some of the best products available on the market.

Process Improvement

Pinpoint opportunities and report the results to improve the processes within your facility. Quick wins – consider day cleaning to cut electricity costs and outsourced management to address cost-driven issues.

Learn More

If you’re experiencing a tightening of the financial belt and would like to learn about how to do more with less at your facility, please contact Jim Smith at

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Kirsten DeHaai

Director of eCommerce Marketing at HP Products Corporation
Kirsten DeHaai is the Director of eCommerce Marketing for HP Products, a distributor of facility maintenance supplies throughout the Midwest. Kirsten has more than 8 years of experience in eCommerce development, brand management, online marketing and communications.