Mechanization is one of the main drivers for improving cleaning program productivity. It is ergonomically preferred for the health of your staff. It improves overall facility safety. It delivers better results and consistency. And, surprisingly, an effective mechanization program can be put in place for only a couple pennies from your total square foot cleaning budget.
According to International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA) data, damp mopping a 10’ x 100’ foot hallway with a string mop and bucket takes 12 minutes. The same surface covered by a 20” battery-operated walk-behind autoscrubber takes 6.5 minutes. And, using a 30” ride-on autoscrubber cuts the task down to 3.2 minutes. In this example, as you move up the productivity curve, at each step, the time it takes to complete the task is almost cut in half providing the opportunity to re-allocate labor to other tasks or lower total FTEs.
Worker Health / Ergonomics
Damp mopping is hard physical work with repetitive motions that can cause permanent injury and workers compensation issues. Walk-behind scrubbers eliminate the hard, physical, repetitive work, but they still require staff to walk behind the scrubber for possibly hours per shift. Ride-on scrubbers do not require any physically demanding work or walking. Ride-on scrubbers help keep staff energy levels high allowing them to complete more demanding tasks like restroom cleaning.
Damp mopping leaves the floor wet. As it air dries over time, staff and building occupants are exposed to dangerous slip/fall accidents – opening up worker comp issues and liability concerns. Autoscubbers scrub and dry in a single pass. Leaving the floor clean and dry as soon as the scubber passes.
Results and Consistency
Damp mopping delivers inconsistent results because too many variables are left to the staff.
How often is the water changed? Or, WAS the water changed at all? Mopping with dirty water simply spreads dirt. Is the right amount of chemical added to the mop water? How often is the mop changed out? Additionally, damp mopping does not provide any down-pressure or scrubbing action requires to release soil from the surface. The poor results of damp mopping are easily recognizable and costly.” Ring-around-the-wall” is created from soiled mops rubbing up against the wall. Hazy floors are created from dirty water drying on the surface. The dried dirt creates micro-abrasions in the protective floor finish that dulls the floor reflection. By not removing soil, the life of the floor finish can be shortened dramatically – requiring more scrub and re-coats or strip and finish processes.
Autoscrubbing delivers better results. Fresh water and cleaning solution is consistently and constantly applied to the scrub head(s). Down-pressure and scrubbing action release soils from the surface. High-powered suction and squeegees remove soiled solution, leaving the surface clean and dry. By removing soil, autoscrubbing can extend the life of floor finish and lower scrub and recoat costs.
Autoscrubbers like the Hillyard Trident R30 Plus Series provide variable settings to pinpoint the right level of cleaning action. The operator, via a touch screen, selects an area to be scrubbed. Each area, like hallways, gymnasiums, or cafeterias can be pre-programmed for different levels of speed, cleaning solution, and scrub pressure to maximize resources and results. When an operator encounters an area with heavier soil than normal, a power button can be pressed to deliver more cleaning power (lower speed, more cleaning solution, and more pressure) for a short period of time effectively removing the soil from the surface.
Mechanization Impact: Case Study, 250,000 sq. ft. High School
An Indiana school district used the Hillyard CCAP (Cleaning Cost Analysis Program) to analyze its high-school and determine the impact of different mechanization options. Through the program, it was determined that 23% (58,000 sq. ft.) of the flooring could be autoscrubbed daily. That area consisted of hallways, gymnasiums, lobbies and the cafeteria. Moving from damp mopping to a 20” walk behind scrubber could free up 5.3 hours per day. And, moving from damp mopping to a 30” ride-on scrubber could free up 8.5 hours per day – valuable time to re-allocate to other tasks or lower FTE counts.
The Right Mechanization Package – Life Cycle Costing
While each scenario may be different, a highly effective mechanization package for a school like the 250,000 sq. ft. school mentioned above, would include about 17 pieces of equipment with varying years of useful life expectancy.
- 2 – Single Disc Floor Machines / Useful Life - 10 Years
- 2 – Wet Dry Vacs / Useful Life - 5 Years
- 2 – Carpet Blowers / Useful Life - 5 Years
- 6 – Upright Vacs / Useful Life - 5 Years
- 1 – 20” Walk-Behind Autoscrubber / Useful Life - 7 Years
- 1 – 12” Carpet Extractor / Useful Life - 7 Years
- 1 – 20” Carpet Extractor / Useful Life - 10 Years
- 1 – 20” Orbital Floor Machine / Useful Life - 10 Years
- 1 – 30" Ride-on Autoscrubber / Useful Life - 7 Years
The capital cost of this package would be about $43,000. However, when spread out over the useful life, the annual cost would only account for a couple pennies per square foot of a cleaning budget that is generally measured in dollars and cents.
Finding the Money for Mechanization
While many schools use capital budgets for cleaning equipment, there is a growing trend toward leasing cleaning equipment. Leasing offers low monthly payments, preserves cash flow, provides flexibility, and can increase buying power to get the right amount of equipment that starts delivering results instantly. Companies like Hillyard offer special municipal lease programs with 0% interest, 36 month terms, and $1 buyouts. They are able to offer special lease programs because of the excellent credit worthiness of schools. For the example above, $43,000 of equipment can be leased for under $1,200 per month for 36 months.
Mechanization is the number one way to improve productivity and results. The cost per square foot for the right equipment package is a fraction of the total cost to clean. And, today there are ways to invest in mechanization without using capital budget funds. It may be time to reassess your cleaning equipment program and put a new high-level mechanization program to work for your facilities.
Visit our website to learn how Hillyard can help you improve cleaning results at the lowest total cost.