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Bidding and Estimating – The Impact Technology

When it comes to being competitive in the marketplace. Technology has the potential to be a game changer. There are multiple ways you can apply the impact of technology to reduce costs without a loss of quality. I find that technology and better processes can allow you to reduce costs while improving the quality of the service you provide. Validating the numbers, you see being used in the marketing of technologies impact on cost reduction can be difficult to confirm.

Let’s take a look at some of the areas where technology can impact your ability to increase production rates and reduce costs.


You can’t operate a cost-effective department or business today without taking advantage of the benefits that computers and associated software bring to work place. Tracking of costs, bidding, communications, timekeeping, and quality control are just a starting place when it comes to the aspects of cleaning that are now much easier, faster and more accurate when processes are computerized. Taking it a step further requires that you do as many of these processes on a smart phone, the notebook and desktop machines are quickly becoming old school and far less productive than the phone in your pocket. (more…)

Cutting Floor Care Costs by 50% or More

Hard floor care is a major cost in most facilities and plays a key role in overall building appearance, health and safety. Floor care costs normally range from as little as sixty cents per square foot to over two dollars per square foot per year and represent 5% to 20% of the cleaning budget in most facilities. Cost reductions of up to 50% or more in floor care cost in any size and type of a facility is a realistic goal that can be achieved when new processes and technology are applied to how floors are maintained.

Making Cost Reduction Work in Your Facility

Reducing costs is not a one size fits all or one step process. True savings come about when all aspects of a floor core program evaluated and changes customized to meet the needs of the facility and its occupants in a way that improves processes, without a loss of service quality. Change and improvement that reduces costs takes time, part of the process involves the tracking, monitoring and adjustment of processes and frequencies based on testing and factual information.

Put together a “can do minded team”, do the needed research, develop a realistic plan and time line and you’ll be pleasantly surprised how much can be accomplished over a fairly short period of time. I didn’t say it would be easy or fast, but floor care cost reduction is definitely doable without a loss of quality. (more…)

Technology Steals the Show – ISSA INTERCLEAN – Amsterdam 2016

The world’s largest cleaning show was held last week in Amsterdam, NL. In case you missed it, here’s a review of some of the highlights.

ISSA INTERCLEAN – Amsterdam is truly an international show with 28,000 plus attendees, from over 80 countries visiting 800 booths over the four day event. The booths and aisles that are spread out over 11 different display halls at the RAI Exhibition Center were busy from opening to close on the first three days of the show. Even a cleaning freak like me can only look at so much cleaning equipment in one week without going into overload mode. I skipped the last day of the show as both my head and my feet were sore and I needed a break.

The Amsterdam show takes place every two years and is a regular event on my schedule because this is where new cleaning products are introduced that will show up in distributor warehouses and janitor closets around the world over the next 3 – 5 years. I don’t know why Europe leads the way in cleaning technology, but this is a definite trend that I have noticed over the last 20 years. I attend the ISSA INTERCLEAN Show to gain a better understanding of where the cleaning industry is headed and this year was a real eye opener. Amsterdam is one of my favorite places to visit with friendly people, great food and weather and something to do for everyone. (more…)

Junk Science and Green Cleaning

Mike Berry Takes a Swing at Junk Science and Green Cleaning
Michael A. Berry Ph.D, Retired EPA Research Scientist and Author of Protecting the Built Environment: Cleaning for Health was recently interviewed as part of the Bridgepoint Interlink Teleconference Series 2007. I listened in and here are the highlights of what Dr.Berry had to say.

“My pet project today is confronting junk science regarding environmental issues. There is too much Eco babble and hype floating around in the cleaning industry that has no scientific basis. This type of misrepresentation of the facts is giving the cleaning industry a bad name.

“There is no data that proves that green cleaning works any better than other ways to clean. Green cleaning needs to be tested and verified before it is promoted as science. At this time more research is needed.

“It is irresponsible for companies and individuals to promote green cleaning, green chemicals and green processes as being effective or better than existing products or processes without scientific research, testing and validation.

“There is too much hype about switching to green cleaning. Chemicals aid in the cleaning process by helping to separate the soil from surfaces and materials so it can more easily be removed and disposed. Chemicals do not clean by themselves.

“Mismanagement of any chemical is bad. Misuse and improper use of cleaning chemicals is a big issue.

“For scientific research to be valid, it needs to be certified with scientific methods, followed by peer review. When it comes to green cleaning, what we are seeing passed off as science is actually consensus. A group of people get together and agree on their personal opinions about the subject. This is not science – it could just as well be babble.

”What we are seeing is certification in the absence of science. Full disclosure is needed. Cold water cleaning is insane and moronic. Science gives you the knowledge to do the work.

“Although I am troubled by all the misinformation and hype about benefits of green cleaning without scientific support, I am encouraged to see professionalism grow and take hold in the cleaning industry.

Cleaning is of value in society for these reasons:

  1. It allows for increased productivity
  2. It reduces risk and costs
  3. It protects surfaces, areas and people
  4. It projects a positive image
  5. It improves health
  6. It promotes ownership and human dignity

“The definition of clean is the same today as it has been in the past; condition and surfaces that are free of unwanted matter that gets in the way of human activity.”

If you\’d like a copy of Mike Berry’s interview contact:

IAQ Radio
Now here’s something you want to check out. This is where technology and the cleaning industry come together. Personally I’m excited about the concept and think this is the start of something big. Give it a listen and I think you’ll see what I mean.
Go to: scroll down on the right side and click on IAQ Radio with Cliff Zlotnik.
I see a lot of potential in the concept. It’s a live call in show and pod cast and more all built into one.

BSCAI 2007 Convention and Trade Show
The last time I wrote about the Building Service Contractor Association, myself and the publisher got threatening letters from the association’s lawyers threatening legal action if we didn’t retract what I said. Well it turns out what I said was right on the money.

So now I’m ready to try it again. It’s my opinion and prediction that this years BSCAI Convention and Trade Show in Chicago will be the worst attended BSCAI Show in the history of the association and it will be the last BSCAI show as we know it. If you’d like more info visit:

Green Seal Goes after the Green
Green Seal recently released its GS-42 Standard for Green Cleaning Services. Great document, it tells you what you need to do to have Green Seal certify your firm as an official Green Seal Certified Green Cleaning Contractor. What they don’t tell you, except in the fine print is that the fee to get certified is between $6500.00 and $10.000.
If you want to get in line to pass your green to this greedy group, visit:

Cleaning in the USA

One of the things I’ve been talking about recently is how science and technology is and will continue to impact the cleaning industry. When I say technology, most people think of a new green chemical or a piece of floor care equipment with a lot of bells and whistles. Although such things will impact the industry, I believe the greatest impact in the years ahead will come from our and our customers ability to test and validate the work we do. No longer will it be good enough to say I cleaned it, over the next few years, your customer’s will begin to respond back with, ok show me the data.

This month I’m going to review some of the latest technology that’s on the market and being used to validate that the work you did, actually obtained the desired results. This isn’t science fiction; this is reality that is already being put to work in other industries and will soon come to a janitor closet near you. (more…)

Good Bye Sales Pitch, Hello Science

One of the major changes that have taken place over the last 10 years in the cleaning industry is that science is slowing replacing seat of the pants. It’s used to be enough to go thorough the motions, sweat a little and say that we cleaned a floor, wall or carpet. As long as there was no visible soil on the surface, the job was done and everybody was happy. Now we know that what we can’t see (bacteria, viruses, micron size particulate) can be more dangerous, hazardous and damaging to our health and surfaces than the soil that we can see.

Even today sales pitches and marketing literature often contain wild and unsubstantiated claims of effectiveness or results. Removes 98% of the moisture, kills all the harmful germs, get’s your dirtiest carpets clean, neutralizes all household odors, it’s magic. Over the years, I think I’ve heard every claim imaginable. (more…)

Cleaning in the USA

The Impact of Mold on Human Health
I was headed to South Dakota to go fishing for a week and to spend some time with my parents. But when an opportunity arose to attend a two-day symposium on mold at the Harvard School of Public Health, I let the fish live and my parents wait a couple more days. I flew into Sioux Falls, So. Dakota had lunch with my parents and got back on a plane three hours later for Boston. It’s not every day you get a chance to attend a cutting edge symposium on mold at Harvard, so how could I say no.

As for symposium on June 7 & 8th, about 200 people were in attendance from around the world and a tremendous amount of information was presented. Nearly all the speakers had PhD’s and are involved in research related to wet environments, fungi and its impact on human health. Quite frankly, I didn’t hear anything earth shattering, although some new information was presented. What was most important is that what we have been saying and teaching over the last 10 or 15 years is now being validated by independent studies and scientific research. One theme that I heard repeated throughout the program is that there is more about mold and fungi and it’s impact on human health that we don’t know, than we do know. (more…)

Cleaning in the USA

Summer is a busy time of the year for me. I travel a lot, attending shows and seminars wherever I can find them. In the last couple of months, I’ve been on the road at least three weeks each month, often returning home for a day or two before heading off in search of another learning adventure.
Here are some of the highlights of my June and July travels.

Cleaning in the USA

JohnsonDiversey, President and CEO Greg Lawton Talks About the Future
On Friday May 3rd, the sale of Diversey Lever to Johnson Wax Professional became a reality when documents were signed and money changed hands. And on that day JohnsonDiversey became the new global name for the company. The purchase is unique for many reasons, one of which is that Johnson Wax, a $1 billion dollar a year company, bought Diversey Lever, a $1.6 billion dollar a year company.

Having talked with CEO Lawton in Scotland after he spoke at the World Federation of Building Service Contractors Association Congress, I was invited to attend a JohnsonDiversey (JD) press conference with Lawton and other senior executives at the ISSA/INTERCLEAN Show in Amsterdam.

Science of Static Control

Electricity plays a key role in our lives. Can you imagine getting to work this morning without it? That would mean no lights, no alarm clock, no heat and a cold shower. Doesn’t sound like much fun does it? An example of static electricity is lightning. When it lights up the sky and crackles with millions of volts of energy, we stand in awe at the power of Mother Nature. These are common examples of electricity that we all recognize and respect. However, very few cleaners see much connection between static electricity and our daily tasks like dusting, sweeping and vacuuming.