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Process Cleaning - Seeking the One Best Way to Clean - Process Cleaning for Healthy Facilities™
Healthy Facilities™

Process Cleaning - Seeking the One Best Way to Clean

By PC4HS Staff

Frederick Winslow Taylor's ideals of systemization and standardization, developed in the early 1900's, underpin Process Cleaning for Healthy Schools' mission to streamline cleaning processes through systematized methods and standardized products and equipment.

Finding the one best way to clean means analyzing the facility's needs and the tasks involved in meeting those needs. It means assessing method and equipment options and available workforce and then putting it all together in a systematic cleaning program that runs like a finely crafted watch.

Conducting a Needs Analysis

Just as every wheel or gear in a fine watch performs a specific integrated function, so should every part of a viable cleaning program. By designing a plan, selecting the finest parts and fitting them all together in synchronized fashion, the watchmaker creates an accurate timepiece. Finding the one best way to clean begins much the same way - with a carefully devised plan.

A needs analysis, including the desired level of clean and the frequency of cleaning necessary to reach that level, can serve as the groundwork for such a plan. This often keys on the building's use, traffic flow and outside influences such as weather conditions.

Schools and universities require daily clean-up of classrooms and common areas, daily disinfecting or sanitizing of desk tops, water fountains and doorknobs, and more frequent restroom cleaning than many other facilities.

A thorough needs analysis should include any special needs the building may have. In addition to routine cleaning and monitoring, are there other tasks, such as window cleaning, that will need to be performed? What are the budget constraints? A clear understanding of the building's needs in relation to budget allows cleaning managers to develop a plan that works - for both the customer and the cleaning operation.

Identifying and Timing Tasks

Finding the one best way to clean means identifying the tasks that will achieve desired results and how much time is needed to complete each of those tasks.

Frederick Taylor's system of scientific management hinged on "getting the most exact information regarding the time required to perform each smallest element of the operation... so the quickest elements and motions may be selected..." More and more, this same approach is being applied in the cleaning industry. Such information not only aids in product and equipment selection, but allows cleaning managers to determine how long it will take to finish the job and how many workers are needed.

Standardized task and timing benchmarks, such as those published in the ISSA publication, 540 Cleaning Times, can help, but are only a starting point. For example, these figures demonstrate that a typical classroom can be vacuumed in 7.5 minutes, using specific methods and equipment. Many times, Process Cleaning shortens these average times considerably.

Eliminating Wasted Steps

Statistics show that workers spend at least 15 minutes, and sometimes much more, per eight-hour-shift walking back and forth to the supply closet, removing trash from the building, etc. Developing efficient workflow patterns, using standardized products and equipment, and equipping workers with all the tools and products needed for the entire shift eliminates wasted motion.

Working With the Workforce

Building commitment among workers increases productivity and reduces absenteeism and turnover. Involving them in the planning process, giving them a chance to share ideas and opinions, and providing incentives, such as recognition for a job well done boosts morale. Workers who feel good about what they're doing are more likely to do a better job and less likely to leave their positions.

Selecting the right people to do the work is another key element. Frederick Taylor strongly believed that some individuals were better suited than others for performing certain tasks. For example, a man who loaded pig iron or shoveled coal needed more physical strength than a molder or machinist. Many cleaning managers today hold similar beliefs. Assigning workers tasks for which they are best suited or permitting them to choose their own positions improves productivity and boosts morale while lowering absenteeism and turnover.

Sometimes cleaning managers are faced with the challenge of retraining. For instance, a school may choose to outsource its cleaning program, while retaining its current custodial staff. People who have done the same job the same way for years are often resistant to any kind of change, particularly if the change occurs too quickly. Giving workers time to adjust and supplying one-on-one assistance during training and beyond provides reassurance.

Beginning with a video that clearly explains the methods and concepts the cleaning manager wants to get across makes sense. Later, alongside a "trainer," workers can learn to perform, in the healthiest, simplest, fastest, most effective way, any and all cleaning tasks on every surface they may encounter. They should then be given time to perfect their skills before being placed independently on a jobsite.

Putting it All Together

Finding the one best way to clean is an endeavor of continuous quality improvement. A well-developed cleaning strategy identifies the facility's needs, the tasks involved in meeting those needs, and the workforce, methods, tools and training that will get the job done in the best way possible.