6 ways to save on cleaning & bathroom supplies for your facilities

How facilities managers can save money on cleaning

Supplies cost more than you realize.
Here’s how to bring costs down.

Cleaning: No matter what facility you’re managing, you know that ‘cleaning’ is going to be a significant line item in your budget. Depending on the type of building, the size, and whether you need specialized cleaning procedures and precautions, you can count on cleaning costs running at somewhere between$1-3/square foot annually, and more if you’ve got healthcare or cleanroom tenants and occupants.

But once you’ve got a handle on the people-hours you need to adequately clean your facilities, and put cleaning contracts in place to do that, how can you trim costs – or at least keep them from getting out of control?

It’s time to think about cleaning and bathroom supplies.

While ‘cleaning supplies’ don’t always seem like a big deal, the truth is that, like any other group of items in the procurement process, putting some best practices in place can reduce costs by 5-20% annually – which starts to really become significant when you’re managing 100,000 square feet or more.

So how can facilities managers save money on their cleaning supplies, right now?

1  Consolidate purchases with a single provider.  Like any other element of your supply chain, when you arrange to buy all cleaning and bathroom paper supplies from a single supplier for a given length of time, you’re able to negotiate more favourable rates across the board. Seems simple, but it’s surprising how many organizations overlook this.

2  Stop ‘last minute’ purchasing. One of the biggest unnecessary costs in cleaning is when workers – whether cleaning staff or employees working in the facility – buy products at a retail store because they ran out of supplies unexpectedly.  For most companies, letting an employee ‘run to Staples’ for stuff can end up costing more than twice as much as it would have cost using the negotiated rates from a single supplier.

3  Start tracking actual usage.  Most facilities know exactly how much they pay for water and electricity and maintenance every year, and many have data that tracks this info on a daily basis. But very few have a good handle on how much toilet paper they use, how many gallons of glass cleaner or how many times their entrance mats are changed in the winter season. Tracking this information isn’t sexy, but it’s the best way to ensure you’re choosing the right supplies, suppliers and inventory management. (What’s more, data tracking can also alert you to sudden spikes in usage, which can be an indication of employee theft – which can also put a dent in your budget.)

4  Don’t assume that ‘national’ is better.  Sometimes, it makes sense to go with a large supplier that can provide products to all your facilities across the country. But with cleaning supplies, choosing local suppliers in different regions may reduce shipping costs, overhead and improve customer service, all of which can help you lower costs.

5  Remember to compare apples to apples. A great price on giant rolls of toilet paper for your public restrooms aren’t a bargain if your visitors are using two or three times as much of it because it’s such poor quality.  No matter what supplies you need to clean or run your facility, chances are there are multiple options at different price points and quality levels. Before you commit, do some field tests.

6  Establish a regular cost/inventory review.  You conduct regular reviews of all your other suppliers; cleaning supplies should be the same. In the first 12-18 months, as you transition to a more formal supplies management process, you’ll want to review and meet with your supplier every 3 months. Once you have a program in place and it’s working smoothly, you can do a high-level review twice a year with a 360-degree feedback assessment annually.

We know that bringing Big Data and 360-degree feedback to cleaning supplies and toilet paper might sound unnecessary. But take a look at your company’s expenses for last year and ask yourself: If you could save even 10% on that, wouldn’t your bottom line look better?

 

 

 

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