Dilution Dilemmas and Labor Efficiency in the Cleaning Industry

A substantial amount of resources are needed to manage cleaning a facility substantial amount of resources are needed to manage all the cleaning operations of a building or facility. So it should come as no surprise that most businesses have jumped ship from ready-to-use cleaning products in exchange for concentrated solutions. It doesn’t make much sense to pay for water and plastic bottles.

But a new problem has surfaced that is affecting their bottom line - whether they realize it or not.

The case for concentrated solutions is evident. Beyond the water and plastic savings, concentrated products weigh less and take up less space, requiring less energy to transport and less space to store. Both of those benefits translate to savings. 

“When one bottle of concentrate can remove 65 or more bottles of ready-to-use products, that’s an immense resource saving,” says Michael Bertucci, Diversey product manager at Sealed Air. “Costs can be reduced to a tenth of what they were previously, and cleaning becomes more sustainable. But there is a trade-off.”

The convenience of having a pre-mixed cleaning product is sacrificed for a step toward sustainability. Before a concentrated product can be used, the cleaning staff needs to dilute it at the precise ratio. 

That adds additional stress to a resource that already accounts for the majority of building maintenance costs - labor. 

Facilities managers are constantly under pressure to reduce their costs. Anytime their cleaning staff is not cleaning reduces labor efficiency and affects the bottom line.     

“Not only are you wasting labor resources but also there’s no guarantee that those cleaning products will be mixed properly,” says Bertucci. “So the chemicals are not going to work how they were designed to, which means you might not be cleaning well.”

The simple solution is to train cleaning crews on how to dilute the products correctly, but with an industry turnover rate that averages 75 percent, the employees taught today might not be there tomorrow.  

Even with proper training, accidents do happen. Spills not only waste the cleaning product and water, but also time required to clean up them up — all valuable resources are at risk of being lost.  

Facilities managers can take a cue from the on-demand economy and leverage technology to deliver what their staffs need, when they need it, in exactly the right ratio. 

Dilution systems improve labor efficiency through reduced training

“There are systems today that are intuitive and foolproof,” says Bertucci. “Dilution systems reduce the time needed to train employees, improves their safety, and prevents misuse of the products. It’s going to save you money just due to the reduced labor alone.”

Larger facilities have already seen the benefits of using automated dilution systems. By auditing their cleaning process and switching to ready-to-dilute products, one large multinational department store has saved $7.5 million annually

But now it’s time for small facilities to adopt these technologies, according to Bertucci. “Larger facilities go through thousands of gallons cleaning products, so they see the cost savings immediately,” he says. “The smaller facilities, however, are just beginning to catch on.”

To discover exactly how businesses can leverage an on-demand mentality to improve their operations, read “Urbanization: Why Every Business Must Start Thinking On Demand.”