Tag Archives: Cleaning

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Cleaning Consultants tip – Laundering Microfibre Cleaning Cloths

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FM Contract Solutions team of expert cleaning consultants often encounter cleaning issues relating to poor maintenance or lack of maintenance of Microfibre cloth. Effective Laundering of Microfibre cleaning cloths is essestial to maintain cleaning standards and prevent cross contamination.

Microfibre is, by design, a superior cleaning agent that attracts and holds onto a variety of organic and inorganic soils. If these contaminants are not effectively removed by the laundering process there will be a rapid deterioration in cleaning efficacy and increased risk for staff and building occupants. Microfibre cloths can act as an ideal breeding ground for bacteria growth and cross contamination.

It is important that contractors and in-house cleaning managers look closely at the care and maintenance of microfibre mops and cloths, with a particular emphasis on effective laundering procedures and protocols to minimise cross contamination.

Many cleaning contractors ‘clean’ their microfibre by manual rinsing or dipping the cloth in disinfectant. This is very poor practice as it does not release the soil load and can lead to rapid deterioration of cloths and mops and loss of cleaning effectiveness. Common Quat-based disinfectants, for instance, reduce cleaning efficiency of microfibre and have limited effectiveness in lowering bacterial contamination unless the cloth is thoroughly cleaned beforehand. Consequently, contractors could find that they are increasing their workload and exposing their workers and clients to health risks by spreading dirt and contaminants onto surfaces, rather than removing them.

To read this article on the Australian Hospital and Healthcare Bulletin Click here..

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Performance Management of Government Cleaning Contracts

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conditions-680x400Performance Management of Government cleaning contracts is essential for Government Departments who have a legal obligation to obtain best value for money from their contracts.  This is especially true with soft service contracts and in particular, Government facility cleaning contracts. Cleaning is a key factor in building maintenance as cleaning, or the lack thereof, can have a massive impact on asset life cycle, the Health and safety of building occupants and users and the productivity of building workers.

The standard of cleaning in Government buildings is critical to protect public assets and  public health. The implementation of Contract Performance Management for Government Cleaning contracts will bring about measurable outcomes and high standards  of service delivery.

Guides to Contract Performance Management

The Queensland government Department of Housing & Public Works Procurement Transformation Division has published an excellent guide on managing & monitoring supplier performance.  The document is intended to serve as a guide to Queensland government procurement officers.  However, it is a handy guide to had to any government or business seeking to procure goods or services.  It addresses the need for contract-specific auditing to identify risks associated with supplier engagement and to take action to mitigate those risks.

The guide also recommends regular contract specific audits to monitor performance and identify and manage risks. FM Contract Solutions specialises in development of sustainable soft Service Contracts for cleaning, waste and grounds maintenance services.  FM Contract Solutions also supplies Audit Services including Cleaning Audits, Grounds Maintenance Audits and contract compliance audits.

The Queensland Government guide also recommends that contractors provide ‘written reports on performance as one of the contract deliverables, for example, consultancies‘ as an additional mechanism for monitoring and managing the supplier’s performance.  FM Contract Solutions recommend the implementation of CiMAS Contract Performance Management Software for monitoring and report generation.  CiMAS offers a configurable reporting dashboard that enables viewing of contract performance in real time combined with powerful Data filters which enable users to drill down on data and deliver meaningful comprehensive performance reports quickly and easily.

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) also publish a handy guide to developing contracts and contract performance management.

All Government Departments and Organisations have a legal obligation to obtain value for money from their contracts.  Contact FM Contract Solutions now for more information on how we can assist in developing and implementing Contract Performance Management strategies to make cleaning and other soft service contract activities transparent and accountable.

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Customer Service in the Cleaning Industry

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restroom audit cropFM Contract Solutions help Facility Managers develop sustainable service contracts that enable positive outcomes and long term contractual arrangements and high standards of customer service from cleaning service providers. The reader may notice that we prefer to refer to cleaning contractors as ‘Cleaning Service Providers’. As Contract Performance Management specialists, we believe that a proactive approach to customer service provides a massive advantage for contractors.

Good Customer Service provides a critical Point of Difference in winning and maintaining contracts for Cleaning Service Providers. A online article by Ron Kaufman highlights the importance of leadership in developing a customer service focus and emphasises that ‘A strong service culture leads to sustained improvements to customer experience, and a sustainable competitive advantage for organisations.’

Unfortunately, many cleaning service providers have a slap dash approach to customer service and regard customer complaints as an annoyance, rather than as an opportunity to improve their business and add value to the relationships with their customers.   Furthermore,  there seems to be a reluctance from some cleaning contractor management teams to understand customer service and place more emphasis on this critical part of doing business.

Over the last 30 years, the team at FM Contract Solutions have seen many contractors lose tenders and customers through poor customer service.

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10 Tips for writing Tender Submissions

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10 Tips for writing Tender Submissions

FM Contract Solutions offers specialist consultancy services in the development, engineering, evaluation and performance management of soft service contracts in the facility management and healthcare sectors. One of our areas of expertise is the preparation and evaluation of cleaning tenders.

Writing stand out tender submissions is a key requirement for success as a service business.

Statistics suggest that approximately 60% of submissions for service tenders are incomplete or marked as non-compliant because the respondents had not fully complied with the customer’s requirements. This is an astounding statistic when you consider how much time and money is involved in costing and preparing tenders. Many contractors for cleaning tenders are left wondering why they consistently don’t make the short list or win tenders for which they have the capacity and capability to win, yet will make same mistakes time and time again.

Here are 10 basic tips to make your tender stand out from the rest.

1. Read the documents thoroughly and highlight areas of importance and areas where you need to do some research or extra work. Most importantly ensure that you understand the customer’s needs, the criteria and the timelines that the customer is looking for.

2. Answer all the questions. It is surprising how many otherwise good submissions are disqualified or marked down simply because they didn’t answer the questions or provide enough information. The questions are there because purchaser wants to understand aspects about your company, your service or your product that are important to them and they also need to ensure that you comply with their procurement rules. Above all avoid answering questions with waffle or smart comments or criticisms of the question or the rationale behind the question and never patronise or question the customer’s integrity or intelligence.

3. Be careful with cut and pastes. Tenders often ask for detailed information. To save time, a natural tendency is to cut paste from previous documents and, while there is no problem with that, sloppy cutting and pasting from previous tenders or other documents will damage your submission and your credibility with examiners. Sloppy cuts and pastes often include names of other organisations or past contract submissions. Frequently they introduce errors in spelling and grammar and make the document difficult to read.

4. It’s all about the customer. When a customer calls a tender they have already identified the need for a particular product and service. What you need to do is convince them that you are the right provider and have the solution they need. It is important that you make your submission relevant to the customer and the customer’s needs and expectations. Most of all, your submission must negate all risks involved if they are to select your proposal.

5. Ask questions through the specified channels. Don’t be afraid to ask questions but make sure that you go through the correct channels. Going direct to the customer or to stakeholders outside the official tender channels will disqualify your company and your submission. Ask questions that are clear and succinct and don’t be afraid to ask for qualification if the answer is not clear. All questions and answers to those questions are generally made available to all tenderers in order to provide a level playing field but the person or the company asking the questions is not identified.

6. Don’t be afraid to point out errors in the tender or to question specifications that may not comply with legislation or standards. Procurement is about avoiding and minimising risk for the customer. Sometimes customers make mistakes or miss vital considerations in the specifications. Companies that draw attention to errors that may expose the customer to risk show their expertise and enhance their credibility. In a recent case a submission from a supplier pointing out that a laundry equipment tender specification was illegal and offering a solution resulted in all offers being declared null and void and the tender was awarded to that supplier.

7. Offer real and relevant Innovation and outline how it will benefit the customer and provide value for money. This is where you can change the rules. Tenders are not about price but your customer needs to understand the value for money that you offer with your proposition and how that will benefit them if your company is awarded the tender. Many companies, and most frequently big companies, see this as an opportunity to tell the customer how good they are and the wonderful things they have done elsewhere but fail to offer innovation that is relevant to the customer or establish a real point of difference from their competitors.

8. Make your submission easy to read and understand. Answer all questions in the required format and in the correct order and make it easy for examiners to read. Avoid handwritten submissions and ensure that your spelling and grammar is correct and that your writing style is fluid and easy to understand. Tenders generally have requirements for the order and placement of attachments, brochures and extra information. Tender submissions that are difficult to read and where attachments are out of order, in the wrong place or completely omitted are often marked as non-compliant or put aside by examiners.

9. Don’t leave it till the last minute. Rushed submissions are inevitably sloppy and it is obvious to the tender examiner that significant effort or research into the customer’s needs and requirements has not been properly conducted. Above all, ensure that your tender is submitted or uploaded with a submission receipt before the published deadline. Tenders received after deadlines are inevitably declared non-compliant, regardless of the quality of the content and the preparation.

10. Do not offer inducements or approach stakeholders with offers or enticements at any stage in the tender process. Corruption is a serious issue and you will find yourself disqualified from current and future tenders and even facing criminal charges.