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Cleaning Like a NASCAR Pit Crew - Process Cleaning for Healthy Facilities™
Healthy Facilities™

Cleaning Like a NASCAR Pit Crew

By Ruben Rives

It's possibly time to stop whining and start winning. Do you agree? If so, you have much in common with the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (aka, NASCAR) pit crews that keep race cars winning through specialized, team-oriented, organized work. Exactly how do they do it?


Let’s explore traits of NASCAR pit crew members and see how a Process Cleaning for Healthy Schools® (PC4HS™) program may help cleaning managers (CMs) emulate these winning teams.


Team Players


All members of a NASCAR pit crew have a specific job precisely orchestrated and synchronized with the rest of the team. For example, Shawn Ward was the front-tire-carrier for the number15 Chevy driven by Michael Waltrip in the Winston Cup Series.


Does your cleaning team have a “front-tire-carrier”? 


According to Rex Morrison, founder and president of the non-profit Process Cleaning for Healthy Schools® Consortium, “In Process Cleaning, we begin by workloading the entire building or group of buildings so we know exactly what must be done and when. Then we assign and train specialists (‘front-tire-carriers’) to get the job done in the quickest and easiest way to ensure an affordable, healthy outcome with the lowest stress to workers and budgets.”


NASCAR pit crews, like winning cleaning teams, first analyze the entire set of job functions, orchestrate the work, and decide what tasks must be done and in what sequence.


Seconds and Training Count


According to one pit-crew-school instructor: ‘It’s amazing how much time students can shave off a pit stop with just minimal instruction.’ In setting up the first PC4HS teams, Rex Morrison used a stop watch to determine the quickest and easiest way (process and tool) to get the job done.


“By using a stopwatch, we determined the best tool and approach to use in vacuuming a classroom,” Morrison said. “We typically use backpacks, well-trained workers, and a precise route (known as the ‘loop method’) to keep times within the quality, health and fiscal standard we created. It is saving schools many thousands of dollars, keeping classrooms cleaner, and workers prefer it over older, clumsier methods.”


It was similar in restrooms, where spray-and-vac technology proved to cut cleaning times in half with better, more hygienic results and happier workers.

“Importantly, though, when workers are not cleaning, they are training,” Morrison adds. “This is key. Even with the right equipment, we spend the most time up-front on training and setting up training at each school, because this makes the difference between winning and losing - it must be done and done well.”


Focus and Flow


According to Breon Klopp, who works for the 5-Off 5-On Race Team Performance pit crew school: ‘You have to be able to shut everything else out.’

Morrison’s approach with Process Cleaning for Healthy Schools is similar: “We try to simplify the work to the point where workers can focus on a highly streamlined process, move effortlessly, and easily flow through the job with a simple focus and a clear mind.”


Experience is Key


It takes time, commitment and experience for pit crew members to qualify and get up to speed. Pit crew trainers encourage applicants to exercise to stay in good physical shape and practice their pit moves several times per week. Then, aspiring pit crew members typically get jobs within smaller racing circuits before breaking into NASCAR. Lesson: Only experienced pit crew members can train others to perform at the level needed.


Morrison’s experience is similar. “When I started out, I knew nothing about cleaning. I was shown the building, handed my keys, and told not to make any mistakes.” After years of trial and error, and practice, Morrison perfected his moves, as have other qualified PC4HS trainers such as Bill Blumenthal of Douglas County NV schools. They know the ropes and can bring this to the two-day PC4HS training events to be held nationally beginning in 2012.




Process Cleaning for Healthy Schools – Two Day Training Event


Healthier cleaning processes in schools are good for workers, students, staff, attendance and the long-term bottom line, but how do you implement a healthy cleaning program in a time of immediate budget crisis? In a word, Training.


At the 2012, PC4HS Two-Day Training Event, attendees will receive one day of classroom instruction on the philosophy, benefits of healthy schools, getting costs under control, driving the health agenda, defining a program and steps to implement it.


Day two will be entirely hands-on at an actual school to experience first-hand how to set up a Process Cleaning for Healthy Schoolsprogram and a system for cost-effective process improvement.


For more information, contact Rex Morrison, president of the non-profit Process Cleaning for Healthy Schools (PC4HS) Consortium, Inc. Email - rexpc4hf@att.net or rex.morrison1@gmail.com. Phone: 775-530-8933.


An edited version of this article appears in Cleaning and Maintenance Management magazine.

About Ruben Rives

Ruben Rives is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Miami, Florida-based H2Only Renewable Cleaning, Inc., is a renewable cleaning advocate and foundational supporter of the nonprofit Process Cleaning for Healthy Schools Consortium (PCHS). He has been in the cleaning business for 20 years, with special focus on infection control. Email rubenrives@bellsouth.net.