I recently worked with a customer who complained that their restrooms were always smelly, yet the customer claimed the custodial staff cleaned them at least twice a day. When I observed the cleaning procedure, I noticed that the custodians mixed a neutral floor cleaner in the mop bucket (no disinfectant), and further, the restroom floors were a grout/tile combination, so the (somehwat dirty) mop was not providing the necessary agitation on the grout lines. In addition, the custodian only used a Johnny mop to apply non-acid bowl cleaner on the toilets/urinals, and again, did not use a toilet brush, white pad, or other tool to loosen/remove the soil. This is a classic example of improper cleaning procedures, poor training, and lack of understanding of effective cleaning. (These situations certainly keep me in business.)
The High Cost of High Praise
I’m sure a lot of folks have seen the recent headlines on the unwillingness of some universities to spend extra money on getting the LEED certification for new buildings even though they built them according to the specifications and recommendations of the LEED-NC program. The reason, of course, is that the extra cash is not an inconsiderable amount when you are looking at a multi-million dollar project nor is the paperwork minor.
This appears to be the concern with many, if not most, certification programs. The cost of formal recognition for the accomplishment is too costly and therefore the program may be avoided by those most in need of its help. When this applies to technical or business training it can be serious, making the progeram and its concepts less used than is good for the industry.
CIMS is a case in point. The value of the program is undeniable, but the cost is a deterent to widespread use and application. Small outfits-and there are many- cannot afford several thousands of dollars every few years to get and remain certified. The result is that most will remain aloof and never benefit from the guidelines for running a competent cleaning business.
Is a make-it-available-without-certification initiative the answer? In my belief, yes. Call it an awareness program or maybe something else that shows the participants are CIMS cooperative. The result will be low cost recognition and the value to the industry will be far greater.
One of the most challenging problems we face in the cleaning industry is finding and keeping good help. If we could find a way to pay our workers according to a different formula that paid the person a percentage of the income based on their performance, would that help solve the turnover problem?
Big Companies buy up the Industry
It appears that the large manufacturers are buying up everything that is not tied down. Tennant has made several recent acquisitions as has Nilfisk Advance, Rubbermaid and others. Some may be for international positioning in what are seen as growth markets outside the USA.