Software platforms can give you the eyes on the ground and the verification in your reporting to confidently demonstrate to your retail clients that your team are completing the work as required, writes FreshOps director Mark Jones.
Cleaning in retail environments is competitive and demanding. The space to be cleaned is a public one, which means that the work we are doing for the client is on display to their clients. There are also OH&S issues around access and safety for the public and staff while our cleaning staff are completing their work.
In the case of 24/7 stores, the team need to be able to do their work ideally at low impact times and in a way that has low impact to the retailer being able to continue trading. This may appear simple at first but those in the business know that this can introduce a host of challenges.
Proof of performance
When we clean an office with employed staff we can expect that these staff have some respect for their workplace. But when we clean in a setting that allows access to the public, especially where that is 24/7, the public may have no respect for the premises at all.
The public can dirty an area, or worse, make it unserviceable in the case of public toilets in a matter of minutes after your team has cleaned it. This can lead to challenges from the client that work has not been done at all when they inspect it shortly thereafter.
Proof of performance is necessary to be able to show the client with photographic evidence for tasks completed in publicly accessed spaces. Once you have this evidence the conversation that was about to be indefensible leads to stronger trust from the client and can even be an opportunity to be paid for additional remedial work.
Where photographic proof is not needed it can also be very helpful to ensure that tasks are being checked off by staff in the field as they are completed. With many duties being periodical in nature, there is a need to highlight to clients when these tasks have been completed.
We also find that the high rotation of staff around shifts leads to staff in the retail store not knowing what has been cleaned by your team on a prior shift. Again we see this become more difficult with 24/7 operations that have three shifts across each day and your own cleaning staff on a rotation of duties.
Have your team verify task completion during their shift and provide the client a portal to see at any time what is being done, when and where. This level of transparency requires software to support the activity and to make it quick and easy for staff to report on their work. Your workforce management software needs to make this a part of the work flow so it feels very natural to do so.
When your team is in a setting that is 24/7 you will want to track those tasks that are repetitive. Tasks such as toilet cleans and mopping of high flow areas need to be done at certain intervals. Using your scheduling software you can start to monitor these intra-shift activities. In freshops.com.au and in other systems, there should be an option for waypoints to have the team check in when they clean or maintain high-use areas of retail settings.
This lets you report to the client the frequency and the times this work is completed each 24 hour period. And importantly when it comes to contract renewal time you will know how much actual time the contract costs you to maintain as required, and how you can pitch your margins better in any negotiations.
Many retail clients are in multiple cities or states. This introduces the need to monitor and report on work consistently across time zones. To attempt to win any national retail contracts you are going to require a software suite with the listed features and an ability to report by site, by state, by work team and for each client overall.
With proof of performance for periodical work, task verification for regular tasks and waypoints in high frequency work you can be across the cleaning your team is doing for your clients in retail settings. Software platforms can give you the eyes on the ground and the verification in your reporting to confidently demonstrate to your retail clients that your team is completing the work as required.
*Mark Jones is a board member of the BSCAA Qld and a director of www.freshOps.com.au.
This first appeared in the November/December issue of INCLEAN magazine. To subscribe, click here.