Remember February 2020? Life was so different for those in the cleaning industry. There were more than enough opportunities because most buildings were full of employees, work was steady but often times flew under the general public’s radar, and when a cleaning contractor started a new site—they could call their trusty local supply company and get start-up supplies the next morning. So many things are different for cleaners now that we are almost a year and half into a global pandemic. One of the biggest pain points, however, is the shift from just-in-time ordering to what’s required now.
Over the last couple decades, most industries have moved to JIT for their inventory management and up until recently, it had been wildly successful. However, COVID-19 has changed things on every level of the supply chain. Over 4.2 million people have passed away from COVID-19 which has impacted the labor force. Additional circumstances have also thinned the labor pool in recent months. This has led to worker-related challenges in many industries, including manufacturing and transportation. The whole supply chain is running on what feels like a skeleton crew.
With shortages of select raw materials, slower output from manufacturers, and delayed shipping times, what was once a well-oiled machine is now facing many new challenges. Add in the bottle-necking we’ve seen in the supply chain because of the push to reopen, and it is a distribution crisis. JIT is not designed for crisis mode. What does this mean for contract cleaners who are responsible for one of the main tasks related to keeping COVID-19 under control? It means that there needs to be a shift in how they manage their supplies.
Cleaners cannot afford to run out of the chemicals, tools, and equipment they use to keep our facilities clean, disinfected, and safe. Here are some tips of what cleaners can do to better prepare for the coming months while the supply chain continues to be unstable and the world reopens:
- On-hand inventory– maintain your own on-hand inventory and keep at least 4- 6 weeks’ worth of supplies on site.
- Commit to controlled systems– controlled chemical and paper systems reduce waste and help cleaners better plan, use, and reorder their refills and supplies.
- Utilize equipment and technology– there have been many advancements in the cleaning industry; make sure you’re taking advantage of them! From workloading software to floor machines, there are a lot of tools at your disposal to help maintain your inventory, tighten up your cleaning process, reduce waste, and make your cleaning team more productive with less people.
- Engage in the conversation– manufacturers and distributors are on the cleaners’ side! Open communication from all parties helps ensure that all levels are aware of the needs and realities of the industry and its supply chain.
If you’re a professional cleaner and are concerned about your supplies and how to best move forward with ordering, reach out to your distributor contact so they can help you make a plan today. We’re all in this together!