Earlier this month, Procter & Gamble Professional® released the findings of its “Cleaning in a Down Economy” survey, which revealed that 85% of surveyed cleaning professionals have adopted a “doing more with less” approach in response to current economic conditions. P&G Professional launched the survey to gauge how decision makers managing in-house or contract cleaning services in the health care, education, retail, commercial, foodservice, and hospitality industries have reacted, and adapted, to recent business conditions.
The findings point out that cleaning service managers have often had to tackle the same amount of labor with fewer employees, placing increased demands on staff productivity and cleaning efficiency. Many managers have been forced to streamline operations, with 76% reporting being under pressure from upper management to keep operating costs down over the last six months.
To address these demands, nearly nine in 10 respondents reported making cut backs, including staff reductions. While these cut backs have not been easy, 97% of the decision makers surveyed feel they have been able to effectively keep expenditures down. And more than nine in 10 respondents using this “doing more with less” approach indicated they are likely to do so even after the economy improves.
“Managers in charge of cleaning services were faced with belt tightening activities at the same time as the H1N1 outbreak,” said Matt Koloseike, customer development manager, P&G Professional. “To meet this challenge and ensure the effectiveness of their cleaning program, decision makers maximized efficiencies across the entire breadth of their operations, including getting more out of their staff and the products they purchased. We found the past year has opened a lot of cleaning professionals’ eyes to the efficiency benefits of simplified cleaning routines and effective, multipurpose products—both of which are core components of the cleaning solutions, and philosophy, that P&G Professional brings to its customers.”
When it comes to increasing efficiency and delivering cost savings, the importance of product selection was particularly noted, with 22% of respondents highlighting “products that get the job done right the first time” as most helpful when it comes to performing their cleaning services. The survey also found that in spite of constrained resources, cleaning professionals primarily judge the value of a product based on its quality and effectiveness (56%) and versatility of use (36%) rather than its price point (5%).
- Nine out of 10 cleaning product decision makers would rather find ways to perform their services more efficiently than raise prices for their customers or clients.
- Over two in five (41%) respondents feel being as efficient as possible with current resources is what is most vital to their business right now. In fact, 35% think keeping customers happy is more critical than other fiscal matters like growing the business (10%), keeping all staff members employed (6%) or making a profit (3%).
- More than six in ten (61%) of those willing to spend more on a product would do so if it enabled employees to work faster by getting the job done the first time. Additionally, 43% would spend more if the purchased product could replace multiple cleaning products they currently use.
- Eighty-one percent of respondents do not think having more cleaning products in their arsenal will lead to getting the job done right.
- The biggest hurdle for cleaning providers who are not performing at their best is having to train staff on how to properly clean (68%). With a high staff turnover during tough economic times, this is likely to get even more difficult.