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Update your ordering pattern: why it pays to understand your cleaning supplies usage

When ordering cleaning supplies for your company workspaces, it can be easy to get familiar with a particular product or brand and become reluctant to try anything new. However, familiarity should not be mistaken for efficacy. By continually reordering the same products, companies often fail to take advantage of opportunities to optimise their cost-efficiency as well as their hygiene.

These failings can often stem from a fear of not abiding properly to health and safety regulations, or simply from a lack of awareness surrounding the best products and methods to use in a specific environment. However, choosing the right products is crucial and there are significant business benefits to be gained from overhauling the cleaning supply ordering process.

As it stands, many companies are ordering far too vast a range of products, deeming this necessary where, in truth, a small selection of carefully selected products would be more suitable. In getting stuck in the mindset of simply reordering a list of supplies, companies often end up ordering a whole host of superfluous products, many of which are not well-suited to their situation and environment. This is simply not necessary and can be avoided by proactively engaging with the ordering process and consolidating the product range.

Many companies are failing to take advantage of economical industry solutions simply through lack of awareness. For example, selecting lighter, easier to store concentrate chemicals, as opposed to the pre-diluted cleaning fluid, can help organisations minimise costs and storage space. ‘Dilution Control’ systems for chemicals have come a long way in recent years, and are now available as fully plumbed in systems for high usage larger sites, easier to use portion control systems suitable for smaller sites, or as free-standing systems for sites with no access to a plumbed in system. Regardless of size these systems can provide a concentrated chemical which not only reduces storage, but also decreases waste from both packaging and unused solutions. The alternatives, ready to use bottles of product, or manually diluted versions, necessitate the storing of a large number of bottles where one container of concentrate could fit the bill.

Despite the variety of options to choose from, as well as a whole host of other cleaning and hygiene choices available to businesses, cleaning supplies are often ordered without much thought and the same vast range of supplies are bought year after year.

The types of products being procured are often not the right fit for both the way in which they’re being used and for the surfaces they’re being used on. Working with other companies with specialist cleaning and hygiene industry information could help to address this pitfall. Getting advice is key and partnering and communicating with an expert supplier would allow businesses to assess their requirements individually, rather than making their own judgements based on one-size-fits-all guidelines.

Companies will often assume that spending less on their cleaning supplies means they will be less effective, less hygienic and less likely to meet health and safety standards: this is generally a misconception. In fact, by misusing an often expensive and extensive range of supplies through lack of specific environmental or product awareness, companies can end up dealing with a whole host of health and safety nightmares, causing damage to company property and endangering staff through slips, trips and even fire hazards.

Some solutions to these potential difficulties and dangers are universal. For instance, clear and descriptive labelling can help signpost appropriate products and chemicals. However, in many cases choosing the right products depends entirely upon the setting. Chemicals and equipment all need to be compatible with the environment in which they are to be stored and used. For example, anti-bacterial hand wash is often perceived to be a ‘cure all’ for workplace hygiene. However, in truth, while it is a necessity in certain specific environments such as hospitals, in others it is not particularly relevant. As long as a proper handwashing regime is implemented, other, cheaper products can be just as effective, less harsh on the hands and produce less of a cost burden. Only with an assessment of each business in turn could optimisation of cleaning standards and costs be fully achieved.

Blindly reordering cleaning products simply because they’re what’s always been issued is never the best approach. Nor is making assumptions regarding the best products to promote cost-efficiency and hygiene. Seeking a suitable partner and supplier to help bridge the gap between the business and supplier will help businesses streamline their cleaning operations significantly. Tapping into the knowledge of industry specialists will help save time and money and will make sure to avoid the potentially disastrous consequences of using the wrong product in the wrong place.

Rob Abrahams is Senior Director for cleaning, hygiene and catering at Office Depot EU


About Sarah OBeirne

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