Sustainability is broadly defined as the ability to meet current needs in a way that will allow us to meet the same needs in the future.
As a BSC, the goal is to create a program that looks well planned out and organized, saves your customers’ money and resources, and helps you create a more profitable bottom line. By making a sustainable program, you meet all of these requirements for a successful package AND help propel your business, local environment and our community towards a more viable future.
Have you looked at how your competitors are handling the sustainability of their programs? Here are five ways your competitors can easily out-sustain you if you aren’t working to stay ahead of the curve.
- Properly educate and train employees. Have you seen the chemicals and tools we work with?! If someone doesn’t know what they are doing with a 23% acid bowl cleaner or mishandles a swing machine, the effects could be disastrous. Don’t let your team fall victim to a preventable injury. Proper training goes a long way.
- Save resources like electricity and water. Day cleaning programs, though harder to sell, help cut electricity use drastically since your team is working when your customers are working. Also, to pull off a successful day program, you must use quiet, energy efficient vacuums and machines as to not interrupt their business. This forces you to use eco-friendly equipment that doesn’t waste resources. There are also many great machines on the market that use less or no water, or recycle water. They will make a great addition to your fleet when you are trying to sell your sustainable program to your customer.
- Use green cleaning chemicals and supplies. Green cleaning products are better for the environment and human health. Third party certifiers like Green Seal make this easy for you to find these products. They do the testing—you just need to find which chemicals and products they recommend. Most approved products will have their logos right on the packaging for easy identification.
- Go paperless (or use as little paper as possible). Offer your customers paperless invoicing and statements. You can also set up your sites with tablets where they can find procedural charts, training videos, SDS and any other documents they need. This looks more professional and is more organized than trying to manage an overflowing binder of paperwork. It also gives them access to more in-depth information so you are supporting your team’s right to understand, and fostering a safer, more sustainable work environment. They can also place supply orders for the site virtually, so they aren’t wasting time and paper with faxing or hand-writing their orders. There are also apps that are specially designed for our industry. Have you checked out CleanBid? No more keeping track of usage charts and paper quotes, you can easily organize your information and calculate your bids on your phone.
- Plan for the future. With every decision you make for your business, you should be thinking about the future impact it will have. If I keep using this chemical, will my very loyal, hardworking employee still be able to work for me in 10 years if he wants? When I choose to use this brand of equipment, am I going to be replacing it in two years or is it made to hold up? If I am overly-generous in serving this company now, will this help build my reputation for future prospects? Strategic, sustainable planning makes for a successful business and a competitive edge that can’t be met.
We could all make a little more effort to be sustainability-minded in our work. Take a look at your program and look for places where you’ve done things the same way for more than five years. These things are the key to your sustainability program. If it is working well and has been keeping your program safe, effective and profitable, then it is a sustainable practice and you should continue using it. However, if it has become outdated and is no longer the best solution to whatever problem, do some research and find a greener, more successful way of performing that task.