Facility cleaning and maintenance is an integral component of every business’s operations plan, having a profound impact on the company’s Total Cost of Operations (TCO). For many business leaders tasked with a goal to reduce operating costs, a reduction in cleaning costs is a powerful TCO strategy.
Traditionally, facility management has focused on cleaning programs that obtain products at the lowest possible prices. The practice no longer aligns with a profitable TCO reduction strategy. This short-term view neglects the long-term costs that such products can entail.
A much more cost-effective Total Cost of Operations strategy considers TCO’s three pillars—Chemistry, Equipment, and Labor—and recognizes that price-per-bottle cost is only one facet of a holistic plan to save money and reduce maintenance costs.
The first pillar of a successful Total Cost of Operations strategy, Chemistry, revolves around the type of cleaning products utilized within your facility’s maintenance plan.
A common impulse for many businesses, particularly those driven by strict budget considerations, is to lean towards more affordable, ready-to-use (RTU) cleaning products when evaluating bid sheets searching for the lowest cost per gallon. However, this seemingly frugal approach costs companies much more in the long run.
The more sustainable and economical choice is in purchasing super-concentrated, and ultra-concentrated, cleaning products. Super-concentrated, dilutable cleaning products deliver value in terms of both cost-effectiveness and environmental stewardship.
Imagine you’re comparing a gallon-sized bottle of super-concentrated cleaner that costs $75.00 on a bid sheet. Compare it with a gallon of regular, ready-to-use cleaner, that costs only $20.00 as listed on the bid sheet.
The $20.00 gallon seems like the better deal at face value. But let’s break the cost down further.
Mixing the $75.00 super-concentrated gallon with water produces a whopping 128 gallons of cleaner. This is because it has a 1:128 dilution yield, meaning 1 ounce of cleaner can be mixed with 128 ounces of water at the facility (128oz = 1gal).
Now, if you wanted to get 128 gallons of ready-to-use cleaner out of the $20.00 bottles, you’d have to buy 128 separate gallon bottles outright. This is because ready-to-use cleaners are pre-diluted, unlike super-concentrates.
Ultimately, to get 128 gallons of cleaner from the ready-to-use $20.00 bottles, it would cost you $2,560.00, plus shipping, compared to only $75.00 for the super-concentrated cleaner.
The big difference in price is often ignored because people only compare prices on bid sheets.
In other words:
Super-concentrated cleaning products offer significant savings in terms of shipping costs, too. Ready-to-use products, given their water content, are substantially heavier. When purchasing ready-to-use products, you’re effectively footing the bill for the shipment of water, which is not the case with super-concentrated alternatives.
By reducing the volume and weight of the products being shipped, super-concentrated cleaning solutions lead to considerable cost savings on freight and handling.
Beyond pure economics, super-concentrated cleaning products often align better with corporate social responsibility goals. These products are designed to be eco-friendly, producing significantly less waste and demanding far less fuel emissions to ship.
Switching to super-concentrated products not only helps reduce your company’s environmental footprint. This is especially true for cleaning products from our TerraGreen® suite that provide a LEED certification advantage.
Implementing environmentally friendly practices can lead to financial benefits, can position you for potential tax incentives or credits, improve your corporate image, and contribute to the global drive towards sustainability.
By opting for super-concentrated products, you can substantially reduce costs while simultaneously aligning with environmental best practices. Every decision made regarding your cleaning product choices has a ripple effect on your Total Cost of Operations.
The second pillar, Equipment, addresses the impact of cleaning products on the machines your facility uses to clean. Superior, effective cleaning solutions can significantly impact the longevity and performance of your equipment, directly influencing your Total Cost of Operations.
When you use efficient cleaning products, they reduce the operation time of your machinery. This time-savings means less frequent usage of heavy-duty equipment like auto scrubbers, robotic scrubbers, and floor machines.
The result? A marked reduction in wear and tear, extending the lifespan of your equipment. An extended lifespan might not seem like a game-changer at first, until you consider the cost implications.
A piece of equipment that lasts longer before it needs repairs or replacement reduces not just the direct cost of maintenance and replacement, but also downtime costs. Every hour that your equipment is out of service or underperforming can represent lost productivity, delays, closures and in some cases, increased labor costs.
Consider the case of floor scrubbers. The upfront cost of these machines can range from $20,000 for ride-on models to more than $80,000 for advanced, automated, robotic models.
If you’re able to extend the lifespan of your current equipment, then it gives the business time to wait for the market to dictate more affordable prices as technology advances. This advantage allows businesses the ability to reserve capital for a longer period, while competitors spend higher amounts at the cost of being early adopters.
Even if upgrades are necessary, imagine the cost-saving potential of extending the usable life of such a substantial investment by even 10 or 20 percent. The savings are not merely substantial – they’re transformative.
Using superior cleaning products ensures that your equipment performs at its best. This peak performance enables employees and contractors to complete tasks faster and better, reducing the need for rework or additional cleaning.
In the long run, this improved efficiency can lead to further reductions in operational costs.
The optimization of equipment use and maintenance is a critical factor in managing your Total Cost of Operations. By choosing cleaning products that maximize the lifespan and efficiency of your equipment, you are making a strategic decision that decreases losses in the form of lower costs and more efficient operations.
The third and final pillar, Labor, represents the most substantial chunk of cleaning and maintenance expenditures for most businesses. Maintenance labor costs account for 90% of the overall cleaning expenses, according to industry estimates.
Labor cost underscores the critical role that labor efficiency plays in your Total Cost of Operations and the vast potential for savings on labor expenses.
Using superior cleaning products not only improves the speed of cleaning but also efficacy. A highly effective cleaner means tasks can be completed in less time and with fewer repetitions, enabling the workforce to move on to the next task faster.
Increased speed and effectiveness translates directly into reduced labor hours without any compromise on the quality of cleanliness.
Every new maintenance employee or contractor brought on board requires training in the use of cleaning products and equipment. By using superior cleaning products that require fewer reapplications and reduce equipment wear and tear, you can decrease the frequency and cost of training.
The implications of your labor strategy reach far beyond the apparent wage or contract costs. Employing superior cleaning products, streamlining procedures, and boosting workforce productivity, creates a leaner and more cost-efficient cleaning and maintenance operation, lowering your Total Cost of Operations.
Understanding the concept of the business’s Total Cost of Operations enables a shift from focusing solely on the immediate costs of products. Leveraging the advantages of a better facility cleaning program reduces TCO, reduces operating expenses, cuts costs, and increases profit margins.
The power to create impactful change lies in your hands through informed, strategic decisions that favor long-term savings and efficiency over short-term cuts.
Super-concentrated, dilutable cleaning products represent one such strategic decision. By transitioning to these highly efficient solutions, you can unlock significant reductions in your Total Cost of Operations. Their usage leads not only to cleaner and more efficient facilities but also yields a beneficial impact on your financial bottom line.
To truly optimize your operations, a comprehensive and tailored approach is key. Facility operations advisors can provide invaluable insights and guidance to help you navigate the complexities of facility maintenance. They can assist in crafting customized, cost-controlled maintenance plans, perfectly tailored to fit your company’s unique needs and goals.
These professionals delve into multiple aspects of your maintenance operations, examining costs and processes to identify all areas for improvement. They have the expertise to recommend the most suitable super-concentrated cleaning products, determine optimal equipment usage, and suggest efficient labor practices.
In short, they can help you address the three pillars of facility maintenance: Chemistry, Equipment, and Labor, in a manner that is both cost-effective and performance-driven.
Embracing the services of a facility operations advisor empowers you to gain control over your operational costs and align your practices with industry-leading standards. It’s a proactive step that places you at the helm of your company’s operational efficiency, ready to guide it into a future marked by streamlined processes, sustainable practices, and significant cost savings.
The time to implement change and reap the benefits is now.