THE INTERNET OF THINGS (IoT): HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO THE CLEANING INDUSTRY?

By Vickie Holland

Do you use a Fitbit or Apple Watch to track your fitness activity? Do you use a Nest thermometer or other Smart Home devices? How about a remote car starter to warm up your car when temperatures dip below freezing? If you answered yes, you are one of many people already using the Internet of Things (IoT).

IoT is made up of devices, vehicles and appliances embedded with sensors or software that can connect and exchange data. IoT devices send and receive information from devices such as your computer or smartphone. This communication enhances the performance of the object and/or provides valuable information (“Did I meet my step goal?”, “Did I turn off the lights in the living room?”, “Has the package I am expecting been delivered?”). Soon almost everything we touch will be connected.

In addition to changing our personal lives, IoT devices are already making inroads in our industry. Several manufacturers have already developed dispensers and equipment with this technology.

Here are some exciting things you can already see in the market:

  • Restrooms
    • Restrooms that are low or out of products are the number one complaint of clients and users.
    • Dashboards with real time information provide product levels in your IoT connected dispensers. Knowing when, what and where products are needed helps to take a more proactive and efficient approach to cleaning, saving labor hours.
    • Information on the traffic flow of each restroom will minimize complaints and increase user satisfaction. Higher volume can dictate a more rigorous cleaning schedule. Patterns can be analyzed to dispatch staff at peak times. Alerts can tell you about situations that need immediate attention.
    • IoT devices can support compliance monitoring by employees in health care environments (e.g., use of hand sanitizer).
    • Better real time information can provide procurement and budgeting efficiencies based on actual usage.
  • Equipment
    • Cleaning equipment is often moved around a large building or campus and is sometimes “lost.” Equipment with built in sensors allow managers and supervisors to view where each machine is on their property. This is great for large campuses with multiple buildings and large buildings or office complexes.
    • Equipment breakdowns can disrupt your cleaning program and reduce productivity. Alerts can be set to notify a manager when there is an issue in your fleet.
    • Do you know which machines are most often used in your fleet? Are they being used as much as they should? Comparing equipment usage by site and machine can identify any underutilized equipment. This information can be used in developing your cleaning plans and your capital budget.

We have just begun to scratch the surface with IoT in the cleaning industry. As this technology continues to expand, more customers will be participating in programs that will increase efficiency and save money.

If you would like more information, please contact your Imperial Dade Sales Consultant today! Visit http://www.ImperialDade.com for a location near you. 

 

High Labor Costs Impacting Bottom Line? Invest in Innovative Equipment to Lower Costs!

By Vickie Holland

Whether you are a building service contractor or an in-house service provider, your budget may be your biggest challenge. And while you could spend plenty of time “shopping” for lower supply costs, you may be missing a much larger opportunity to impact your bottom line: decreasing your Labor Costs. In the past few years, new innovative equipment has been introduced to the cleaning industry to increase productivity and reduce labor time for your employees.

New equipment is designed to increase employee productivity by working faster, smarter, and safer.

A mop and bucket are OK for small areas, but for larger areas an auto scrubber is best. Some equipment manufacturers have designed smaller scrubbers that are perfect for areas too small for an auto scrubber, but too large to cover with a mop & bucket. Scrubbers, such as the Clarke Vantage Auto Scrubber and the Windsor Recover Wet/Dry Vacuum, are excellent additions to any fleet.

Having the right equipment for the job will maximize efficiencies, allow employees time for other projects and ultimately save on your labor costs.

You may be thinking about the last time you bought new equipment that was innovative but did not provide a return on your investment. Perhaps the large auto scrubber sat idle for months and the batteries weren’t maintained. Bad decisions can lead to underutilized or improperly maintained equipment.

Features and Benefits on Innovative Equipment Mentioned

Clarke Vantage Auto Scrubber

scrubber

  • Easy to operate. Foldable/adjustable handles with control panel
  • Quickly and easily remove solution tank for refills
  • Leaves floors safe, dry, clean, and ready-to-use
  • Battery Charger saves time and increases productivity
  • Easily transport up and down steps or ramps
  • Integrated squeegees allow forward or backward cleaning

Windsor Recover Wet/Dry Vacuum

vac

  • Ideal for wet or dry-cleaning tasks
  • Designed for ease of operation and heavy use
  • Equipped with on-board tool storage compartment
  • Features built-in handle and transport wheels

We can schedule time to tour your facility and learn your cleaning procedures. Our expert Sales Consultants can recommend the best equipment based on your needs.

Visit us at http://www.ImperialDade.com for more information and a location near you.

 

 

The Power of Electrostatic Cleaning

By Laura Craven

In his career, John Thomas has been a microbiologist, high school chemistry teacher, product marketer for leading chemical companies such as Ecolab, and is now leading the Health and Wellness initiatives for the Philip Rosenau Division of Imperial Dade.

LC: Tell me about Philip Rosenau’s experiences with No Touch Disinfection.

JT: The Philip Rosenau Company started looking at different approaches to environmental disinfection almost 10 years ago when the use of electrostatic spraying was being introduced into the cleaning industry.  At that time facilities were trying to react to infection threats using the same manual cleaning and disinfection practices that had been in place for decades.  We knew that there had to be a better method and electrostatic technology offered an improved method for applying disinfectants to all of the commonly touched surfaces in any given environment.

LC: What is electrostatic spraying technology?

JT: The basic concept of electrostatic spraying is to apply an electrical charge to the liquid particles being generated by the spray device.  This minute charge causes the particles to be attracted to the surface being coated, allowing for a full, even coat of liquid on the surface. As the force of this attraction is greater than gravity, there is a slight wrap around effect where the particles can attach to underneath surfaces and behind obstructions.

This effect is further enhanced by the process of atomization. Since all of the particles are similarly charged, the particles are naturally repelled by one another.  This causes them to more freely disperse over a surface and results in improved surface coverage.

Historically, electrostatic spraying has been used for a number of applications, such as painting and agriculture and has been proven to provide high productivity with greater product economy.

LC: It is! So how did you take this technology and create a solution for the commercial cleaning industry?

JT: Initially, we found the claims being made could not be substantiated and that EPA label instructions for the disinfectants being promoted did not say that the products could be applied in this fashion.  Also, the demonstrations conducted by the equipment manufacturers did not show the proper technique to achieve the listed dwell times required for the disinfectant.  It was a little like the Wild West and customers were being given a lot of incorrect or misleading information.

Fortunately, we were able to work with a limited number of equipment and disinfectant manufacturers and developed a program which combined effective and convenient spray technology, an effective and safe disinfectant, and, most importantly, proper in-service training of the cleaning staff.  We now call the program No Touch Disinfection.  First introduced to our customers seven years ago, we have continuously refined the program and added products and technology that give our customers the greatest range of options to meet their infection prevention requirements.

LC: How does the program work? For example, when used to disinfect a hospital room?

JT: When working with healthcare, we need to communicate with the environmental services staff and/or health professionals to make sure that we are implementing a program appropriate to the infection threats they are facing.  This applies to an acute care hospital where the issue is an infection caused by an organism known as C diff or a LTC facility where the concern may be an outbreak of influenza.  We can then select the appropriate disinfectant, match it to the electrostatic applicator, and conduct the in-service training needed to insure effective application.

Once the area is ready for disinfection, all touch points are evenly sprayed so as to deposit a thin film of disinfectant solution over the targeted areas and then to allowed to air dry within the specified dwell time for the product.  The electrostatic effect causes the disinfectant to come into contact with all of the frequently touched surfaces, even those that are rarely, if ever, disinfected.

LC: How much faster can an area be disinfected using electrostatic spraying compared to traditional cleaning methods?

JT: It is key to understand that surfaces still need to be manually cleaned using the proscribed daily cleaning practices in place for the facility.  What No Touch Disinfection can then provide is assurance that you are effectively treating all of the commonly touched surfaces in any given area, whether it be a classroom, breakroom, or resident room.  After cleaning, a typical hospital room can be disinfected in under two minutes, a school classroom in under three minutes and an auditorium in under ten minutes – a time frame that could never be matched with manual spray application of the disinfectant.  In the end, this is a relatively small investment that provides for a safer and healthier environment.

LC: What other types of businesses can benefit from this technology?

JT: Many institutions serving the public are interested in cleaning for health rather than merely cleaning for appearance, especially now that most understand that part of their job is to help stop the spread of infections.  This includes all levels of education from early learning centers up to the largest universities.  For example, we have a number of public school districts and colleges using No Touch Disinfection to control the spread of infections like Norovirus and the flu.

Likewise, large LTC and continuing care retirement communities are our customers.  For offices and other public spaces, some building service contractors are offering No Touch Disinfection as an add-on option when employee absenteeism increases.  The list can go on and on.

LC: Preventing the spread of illnesses in any facility is a daunting task. What are the biggest challenges facilities managers and infection control specialists face today?

JT: The challenges facing those responsible for providing a clean and healthy environment are those they have always faced – time, staff, budget, and training.  This is where No Touch Disinfection, in combination with an effective facility hygiene plan, can help them get the most out of the resources that they do have.  It always comes down to making sure that you are using the correct products for the task at hand, the most up-to-date tools available, and providing the proper instruction and knowledge.  This is how No Touch Disinfection can make a difference.

Imperial Dade’s subject matter experts are available to consult with your organization about the latest cleaning technologies. Visit http://www.imperialdade.com for more information and a location near you. 

 

 

Increasing Floor Care Productivity

By Laura Craven

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 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 17 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: One of the most significant changes is the availability of labor to perform the task of cleaning the facility. Turnover is one of the toughest challenges that face many of the facility managers today. Properly training an ever changing workforce on proper product usage is a major challenge.

An answer to such a challenge is the new P.L.U.S. labeling system. The PLUS label system provides a universally understood icon based system to train your team. The label is easy to understand, reduces product waste, encourages proper product usage and requires less time to train.

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. Increasing the productivity of their labor is a major challenge.

LC: What can they do to address that issue?

JL: Understanding proper cleaning procedures, including the use of powered equipment, to increase productivity is paramount. I often compare floor care to lawn care. Lawn care companies have equipment purchased based on the increased productivity of their labor. This increased productivity allows the crew to complete each job efficiently and move on to the next project. Floor care productivity can be increased by using equipment designed for the square footage of your facility.

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 such as Imperial Dade’s Greensafe 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 jlety@imperialdade.com.

 

5 Ergonomic Janitorial Tools

By Vickie Holland

Many work-related injuries are internal and occur after months or years of exposure to lifting, bending, reaching, twisting, turning and generally repeating the same tasks over and over. These conditions can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, rotator cuff injuries, muscle strains, lower back pains and more.

According to the US Department of Labor, these types of injuries, known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are among the most frequently reported causes of lost of restricted work time.

MOST COMMON AREAS CAUSING WORKER INJURY AND ILLNESS

  • Excessive lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, reaching, or stretching
  • Repetitive motion
  • Working in awkward positions
  • Sitting or standing for prolonged period
  • Vibrations from equipment (vacuums/buffers)

 The good news is many work-related injuries can be prevented by reducing workers’ risks. Daily communication between supervisors and their teams will pinpoint any problem areas. For example, simply adding an employee rotation to a repetitive task can help reduce injuries. Companies can also invest in ergonomic products to improve efficiencies while avoiding muscle strains and other injuries.

 5 ERGONOMIC ITEMS FOR YOUR JANITORS’ CLOSET

  1. Microfiber Flat Mops – If you are still using string wet mops, we urge you to give flat mopping a try. String mops get heavy. Ask any custodian who’s had to rinse one out after a long shift. Microfiber mops are thinner and lighter than string mops. Their lightweight design is much easier on the lower back when moving over several hours.
  2. Ergonomic Handles – Do you use a handle for tasks that require pushing, pulling, reaching, and stretching? If you answered yes, you need an ergonomic handle. These handles are designed with bends to minimize the force and leverage required for smooth mopping. Some have unique handle grips that swivel avoiding wrist strain. Many handles can be adjusted in length based on the task, reducing the user’s effort. Don’t forget; the longer the handle, the heavier it will feel!
  3. Material Handling – Employing dollies, flatbeds, utility, and janitor carts for easier transporting will help with awkward loads and improve efficiencies. Dollies are not just for brutes. Dollies are also available for Slim Jim containers with an ergonomic foot pedal release. New Utility Carts have ergonomic adjustable handles for maximum comfort. Janitor cares are lightweight and have proper space for tools and equipment to glide along floors and carpets.
  4. Vented Brutes & Slim Jims –Rubbermaid Commercial Products improved their refuse line by adding venting channels to their Brute and Slim Jim Containers. These venting channels make removing liners from the container up to 80% easier, improving productivity and reducing the risk of worker injury.
  5. Ergonomic Cleaning Equipment – Backpack vacuum users have more neutral position compared to an upright vacuum user. The custodian’s legs and large back muscles are doing most of the work. The arms of an upright vacuum custodian are more likely to be easily fatigued. Walk-Behind Floor Scrubbers are easy to operate. Many units, like the Focus II Boost, have an ergonomic design using orbital scrubbing actions to produce high speed agitation. This allows for less water and chemicals to be used.

For more ergonomic equipment ideas please reach out to your Sales Consultant or visit www.imperialdade.com.

5 Best Labor-Saving S.T.E.P.S

By: Vickie Holland

Labor costs can add up fast! Today’s organizations are continually searching for new and creative ways to save. Here are 5 Labor Saving S.T.E.P.S that will save you money and help increase your bottom line.

  1. SAFETY: All employees are entitled to a safe workplace. Personal protective equipment “PPE” should be included in all training programs to protect the employee from injuries. Risk exposure factors include lifting heavy items, bending, reaching, pushing and pulling, and performing repetitive tasks. Another great practice in protecting employees is investing in ergonomic equipment or tools. Some good examples are the Backpack Vac and Victoria Bay’s Bucketless Mop. These tools are designed to be more efficient by requiring fewer trips back and forth to refill chemicals and avoids bending, lifting and tripping hazards. Both are ergonomically engineered to minimize strain injuries that can occur with repeated use.
  2. TRAINING: Training reduces overall costs and improves performance. In addition to saving on hiring and on-boarding costs, training promotes consistency throughout the organization, leading to increases in efficiency and improved performance. Training provides an excellent path for your team to adopt new methods or technology. For example, are you using team or zone cleaning? Team cleaning is a more modern approach that allows the custodian to focus on one specific task (for example vacuuming or dusting). This strategy will save time and has proven easier to supervise.
  3. EQUIPMENT: When is the last time your company purchased new equipment? Newer equipment is designed to increase employee productivity by helping your team to work faster, smarter and safer. Having the right equipment for the job will maximize efficiencies, allow employees time for other projects and ultimately save on your labor costs.  One valuable and affordable investment is a micro-scrubber. Micro-scrubbers are smaller pieces of equipment designed to pick up more soil than a traditional mop bucket. Their smaller footprint reduces the risk of slips and fall injuries. These machines are easy to maneuver and can scrub small congested areas, increasing efficiency. We recommend the Windsor Micro-Scrubber or the Clarke Vantage Auto Scrubber.
  4. PROCUREMENT: Your purchasing habits can have a huge effect on your bottom line. Think about all the steps involved in procurement: taking inventory, placing an order, checking the order in on delivery, putting away the supplies, reconciling the packing slip and invoice, preparing and mailing payment. Limiting the number of orders placed will allow for more time to be spent on the things that add value; for example, cleaning, disinfecting or maintaining your facility. Also, having the correct item in stock when you need it is crucial. Wasting time sourcing product at the last minute is counter-productive, stressful and time consuming.
  5. SUSTAINING FLOORS: So much time and labor is spent finishing your floors to a dazzling shine and maintaining spotless carpets. Are you pulling out all the stops to sustain your efforts? Simple steps will keep your carpets and hard floors looking great. Our #1 recommendation is investing in entrance matting. Not only does matting help keep your workplace safe from slips, trips and falls, matting helps to keep dirt and moisture out of your building.  Another excellent way to keep your floors looking bright and glossy is to use chair protectors. Chair protectors protect floor surfaces from scratches and preserve floor finishes.

 

We can schedule a time to tour your facility and understand your cleaning challenges. Our expert Sales Consultants can recommend the best equipment, products, training programs, and procurement solutions based on your needs.

Visit http://www.imperialdade.com and contact us today!