Clean – at all costs20th of January 2014 Article by Torsten Deutzmann
Torsten Deutzmann, managing director Unger's European division, writes his first blog for ECJ. He emphasises the importance of cleaning tool manufacturers working closely with their customers in order to develop the most effective, cost efficient solutions.
No country in Europe has been immune to the ‘age of austerity' that has swept the region, and the world. True, some have managed to weather the storm better than others, but it has encouraged us all to question how we spend our money - and to hold governments and big business to account over how they spend theirs.
Words like rationalisation, lean management and restructuring have leaked into our respective languages, making regular appearances in media reports and TV broadcasts. As competition increases in all sectors, business owners have to watch budgets and balance sheets closely, constantly searching for ways to make their output or service provision more affordable for clients that are becoming ever more demanding, thanks to seeing their own budgets reduced.
However when it comes to cleaning, quality standards cannot be sacrificed to cost cutting. Although slashing cleaning budgets is sometimes tempting when a quick financial fix is needed, this is a dangerous strategy as the resulting short-term gain often has a much bigger negative impact further down the line. Hygienic results must be maintained, as any dip in service provision can result in dissatisfaction at the best, and increased worker absenteeism, due to unclean surfaces spreading germs and viruses, at the worst.
Contract cleaners have to be realistic, though. Clients will always look to secure the best possible price for the products and services that they are procuring, age of austerity or not. So, can quality cleaning really be delivered on a budget?
I believe so. The cleaning professionals with whom I have had the privilege to work, when developing new products over the years, have all been wholly committed to delivering the very best service to their clients. They're not afraid to try new methods or products in order to remain competitive, and clean in a safer, more efficient way.
By investing in the best tools and equipment, professional cleaners can improve the way they work, passing on benefits to their clients. Product design has moved swiftly over the years, and tools now make cleaning less of a strain on the body, allowing operatives to finish their work more quickly, and preventing any break in service due to injuries or sick leave.
Cleaning tools have now also become more adaptable. Systems, such as window cleaning poles, can reach further thanks to the addition of extensions, and clean specific surfaces or shapes by using changeable brush heads. Additional savings can be made by choosing more ‘eco-friendly' equipment, such as machines that use less energy, or do not require chemicals to clean.
The challenge for cleaning tool manufacturers is to ‘keep it real'. They must not be remote from the market and their customers - instead, they should strive to ensure they have regular contact with the cleaners ‘on the ground'. Working in partnership with cleaning operatives is the only way to ensure that the equipment of the future continues to deliver the right results at the right price - which is a win-win situation for all involved.