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Reduced Client Cleaning Budget Over $60,000 - Dows Entertainment Case Study

Summary:

When Retailers Supply became the Supplier-partner of choice for Dows Entertainment, they had stable but mediocre cleaning standards using a long time vendor that supplied what they ordered at a fair price and reasonable service. Their cleanliness was gradually going downhill against the competition. We were replacing a vendor who had supplied their cleaning products for the past 10 years and some Dows’ employees felt they had a “good relationship”, why change it.

The change was made by the purchasing department, with management encouragement, not the cleaning team and supervisors. Purchasing and management recognized that the “total cost” of cleaning includes:

  • Cleaning equipment and consumable supplies
  • Labor costs for cleaning
  • Safety and health time lost over cleanliness issues
  • Waste and pilferage
  • Lost opportunity costs in business because of customer perception of cleaning
  • They insisted we not only save them money directly on cleaning supplies, but that we also make dramatic improvements in cleanliness with no additional labor costs.

Goals and Challenges:

Prior to Retailers Supply, the Dows Entertainment cleaning team was very comfortable with the current vendor and felt somewhat threatened by us. We had promised an initial site survey audit to identify processes and products that could save money and improve cleanliness. They knew that they were going to have to learn new techniques, new safety rules, and use more modern procedures.

First, we had to develop a plan to reduce cost by $50,000 from an annual cleaning budget of $350,000. Second, we had to perform a site survey audit that not only focused on the products but the procedures used to clean a very large property with some real resistance from the team. Our expertise and knowledge was going to be challenged at every step and we knew we would have to prove our suggested changes. Finally, we had to establish a very good relationship built on trust and partnership.

The Solution:

In reviewing the site survey audit, we had a number of products that did not fit the needs of Dows. A few examples were that can liners were not sized properly, roll towel dispensers were not functional, toilet paper was under stocked, soap was leaking and ineffective, cleaning chemicals were not being diluted properly and their basic processes for cleaning were dated.

We supplied exact fitting can liners that would be easy to install and easy to remove when full. The appearance to the customer was a neat professional operation. The roll towels were an easy fix with new dispensers that improved hygiene, made customers happy to have the basics of a clean towel for hand drying, and gave the bathrooms a modern, professional look consistent with the brand image of the company. Foam soap was substituted for the messy, ineffective liquid; we guaranteed they would have significantly improved hygiene by the combination of foam soap and paper towels. Although hard to measure, saving one employee sick day paid for each new dispenser.

We watched each cleaning procedure and helped them implement best practices for each one. Where new procedures were necessary because of new products, we provided detailed training on the new processes. Not only did we provide solutions to these issues we worked side by side with their cleaning team. By working with the cleaning team, we were able to show them one-on-one the better ways to work. In the end they appreciated our professionalism and our partnership. They knew we were interested in their success!

Customer’s Return on Investment:

In the first 12 months, we were able to save Dows Entertainment $60,000 while creating a true partnership with their team. Their facility cleanliness sets a high standard that is the pride of employees, customers, and sets the branding image that management insists upon. Now we set new goals each year for both cost savings and cleanliness areas to improve. As we attack these goals, our team effort improves both the facility but also the morale and professionalism of the cleaning team.

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