Don’t Get Caught in the Cleaning Industry’s Perfect Storm

Don’t Get Caught in the Cleaning Industry’s Perfect Storm

Facility managers increasingly face the challenge of having to do more with less. They struggle to optimize their cleaning programs while working within tight budget constraints.

Adding to this challenge are three current trends, affecting not just cleaning but also a broad range of industries. Collectively, these trends are creating a perfect storm that can sabotage cleaning operations if facility managers don’t head them off.

Trend No. 1: Retirement of an Experienced Workforce

As the population ages and workers move into retirement, industries are losing a wealth of knowledge. This trend is particularly hard on companies that have relied on a long-term employee who can walk into a building and instinctively know how many people it will take to clean it and how to set up the job routines and schedules. Managers will be hard-pressed to find replacement workers with the experience necessary to keep cleaning programs running smoothly.

Facility managers wear many hats today and may not have the detailed knowledge or experience required to operate an optimal cleaning program. Fortunately, they can hire experience in the form of cleaning consultants, who can help managers achieve their goals quickly while saving them valuable time.

Trend No. 2: Short Sightedness in Making Cutbacks

Across the board, companies are cutting back on operating budgets to meet financial mandates. However, if not planned carefully, these reductions can result in loss of revenue down the line. Poor cleaning of a mall, for example, can make a retail space less appealing to shoppers. In an office setting, workers may spend so much time doing the work of cleaning staff that they forfeit time for their regular tasks. And in health care delivery, the results of a reduction in cleaning staff could lead to the spread of infectious disease. These devastating results will all come back to the cleaning service, which may have blindly cut cleaning staff to meet budget requirements rather than coming up with other solutions.

By implementing technology, facility managers can increase their cleaning productivity dramatically while cutting costs. New cleaning products, equipment, and software programs will also provide the accountability, transparency, and real-time results to arm managers with data to navigate their seas. There are many ways to seek out the latest industry developments, such as going to a trade show, subscribing to magazines, or joining cleaning organizations.

Trend No. 3: Reluctance to Change

While some industries are constantly innovating, older industries are not always ready to meet a changing dynamic. This is particularly true of the cleaning industry. It is human nature to fear change, but doing more with less, while still maintaining a high-quality outcome, requires new approaches.

When implemented properly, change can be very empowering for a cleaning team. Recent changes within the industry have led to a more advanced level of professionalism. Additionally, senior executives now have a better understanding of the importance of good cleaning to the overall well being of their building and its occupants. However, it’s not enough for facility managers to be open to change and implement it from the top down. It takes very strong leadership to ensure the cleaning team fully understands and adapts to the changes and implements them in a way that can help improve productivity.

Avoid the Rain

Trends can threaten to overpower facility managers, blowing their companies out to sea. Implementing these recommendations will help managers avoid any looming storms and ensure smooth sailing for the future of their companies.

Posted On December 11, 2017

Judy Gillies

Founder and President of The Surge Group, Inc.

Judy Gillies is the founder and president of The Surge Group, Inc., a cleaning consulting company in Toronto that helps facilities managers improve their cleaning operations. She is a co-author of Behind the Broom. For more information, visit

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Don’t Get Caught in the Cleaning Industry’s Perfect Storm
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