By Laura Craven
Expert Interview – Increasing Floor Care Productivity
The New Year often brings new budgets and goals for reducing costs while improving productivity. For this issue of The Expert Interview I spoke with Jim Lety, Imperial Dade’s Regional Director of Janitorial Sales and a champion of productivity initiatives. With over 30 years of experience in the janitorial industry, Jim has held positions with distribution companies, national marketing organizations, chemical manufacturers and a floor equipment manufacturer. For the last 16 years, he has been part of the Imperial Dade team.
LC: What are the major changes that you have seen in recent years that impact facility managers?
JL: Microfiber technology has been a game changer in the cleaning industry. These specialized mop heads and cloths attract and hold soil, absorb seven times their weight in liquid, are not susceptible to quaternary binding, and can be washed hundreds of times.
Another important advancement has been in battery technology. AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) batteries are now used in auto scrubbers. They are safer, lighter, and more reliable compared to standard lead acid batteries. They also charge five times faster. Lithium ion batteries are now used in many vacuums and have eliminated the need for power cords which increases productivity.
LC: Saving time is a big factor.
JL: Yes, facility managers are now required to do more with less. They have additional square footage to maintain yet their budgets have been cut and they have fewer employees. That is their biggest concern today.
LC: What can they do to address that issue?
JL: Understanding proper cleaning procedures, including the use of power equipment, to increase productivity is paramount. I often compare floor care to lawn care. Lawn care companies have a trailer full of equipment and just two people in the truck. They complete each job quickly and move on to the next. Now think about a janitor’s closet. In most you will find a lot of mop buckets and wringers and if you’re lucky a walk-behind scrubber. But cleaning 15,000 square feet of flooring with a mop and bucket takes a very long time. It would be like a groundskeeper using scissors to cut grass. The answer is to increase productivity with proper education on the use of chemicals and the introduction of rider floor care equipment.
LC: That makes sense, but what about the cost?
JL: Rider equipment pays for itself. There is a minimum 20% increase in productivity compared to a walk-behind scrubber and 500% productivity increase over a mop. New models are available in smaller sizes as well. Micro-riders have the same foot print as a 20 inch walk behind. We have productivity calculators that can determine the ROI based on square footage, frequency of cleaning, and the hourly wage of the crew. It is an investment that really pays off.
LC: Sustainability is a hot topic right now. How does floor care fit into a green cleaning program?
JL: Manufacturers of floor care equipment have been tasked with creating equipment that fits into a green cleaning program. The use of orbital technology prevents cleaning solutions from “slinging” out, or spraying into the area being cleaned. This type of equipment also uses 50-70% less water and chemicals compared to conventional scrubbers. Chemical-free stripping is another process that is ideal in education and healthcare facilities where indoor air quality is critical.
LC: What is something a facilities manager can do today to improve their operations?
JL: Consult with a knowledgeable supplier about their challenges. There are many new cleaning technologies on the market today that can save time and money and produce better results. Also, never trade service for price. Expect both and partner with a supplier that provides the overall best value.
Jim Lety and his team are available to consult with customers about floor care and facilities maintenance programs. Jim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.