Mr. Clean has been the city’s most trusted cleaning company for the past quarter of a century. It has concentrated mainly on cleaning private buildings and facilities for that length of time. However, it surprisingly won the contract to clean the public buildings of the city, including that of the City Hall, the city’s two public hospitals, the City Police Station, the City Museum and has been tasked by the city’s police force to clean crime scenes especially those that involve a homicide. It’s definitely new territory for the company, especially that it hasn’t cleaned any public building. It has no track record also of cleaning hospitals. That’s why with this development, the company has decided to ask the help of experts in Occupational Health and Safety to conduct training programs for their old and newly hired employees, programs which include Medical Waste Training, Hospital Waste Management, the Handling and Disposal of Biohazard Waste, Biohazard Safety Training and a specialized training program for a selected group of cleaners from the company who will undergo the Crime Scene Cleaning training program. This additional training will bring up the costs of doing business for the company, but the return on investment per employee will make the investment worthwhile in the long run. By venturing into new cleaning territory, the company gets out of its comfort zone and discovers new income streams aside from the usual private buildings and facilities. Also, by introducing training courses into the company, the employees may feel that their work is being validated and given more importance, especially that cleaning as a profession is just considered menial and something that anybody can just do.
Background of Mr. Clean
Mr. Clean is a small-sized local commercial cleaning company that offers reliable, high quality cleaning services for commercial facilities. The company is run and staffed by well-experienced cleaning industry professionals, veterans with expertise in commercial cleaning, office cleaning and janitorial services for many types of buildings and industries. The company’s portfolio of cleaning services, include office cleaning, carpet shampooing, steam extraction, floor stripping & waxing, and janitorial services. The company has been in business for 25 years and is considered the leading cleaning company in the city. The company’s mission is simple - to surpass the service expectation of our clients. Here are the critical service factors that help the company achieve this commitment - high professional standards, staffing practices, and how the company treats its employees.
Lately the company has had to hire a new batch of cleaners where the feedback from their work has been far from exemplary. Cleaning is mainly seen by most people as a menial job, a job that anybody can do, but the reality is, in today’s world, especially in the facilities and public buildings the company has been asked to clean, the cleaners have had to deal with issues on health and safety and encountering medical wastes and toxic wastes so the company has had to institute training programs specifically so that the company can address the cleaners’ demands for it. However, some of the clients do not inform the company beforehand of the type of cleaning to be done and sometimes the company sends a group of people inexperienced in handling that type of waste cleaning.
Identifying the Special Operation Issue
- Lobbies and Common Areas
- Trash Removal
- Restroom Cleaning and Supplies
- Kitchen and Break Room Maintenance
- High and Low Dusting
- Post-Construction Cleanup
- Pre/Post Move-In Cleanup
- Window Cleaning
- Spot Cleaning
- Dry, Steam and Foam Shampooing
Public Buildings and Unconventional Cleaning Requests
- Hospital Cleaning – Waste Disposal
- Homicide Scene Cleaning
- Public Buildings Cleaning
- Stripping and Waxing
- High Speed Burnishing
- Floor Care for all Floor Types
The chart above shows the cleaning services that Mr. Clean offers to its customers. The first three tables show what cleaning activities the company has been doing for the past 25 years. The fourth table is labelled public buildings and unconventional cleaning requests. This table was added because lately, the company won the bidding for the City Hall cleaning service, after the current mayor decided to outsource all the cleaning and janitorial activities of the city. The terms of the bidding for this particular contract include the City Hall building, two of the city’s public hospitals, the City Museum, the City Police Department including a special request to clean homicide crime scenes when requested. That immediately puts an immense demand for cleaners from the company as five new buildings have been added to the current list of buildings cleaned including a special group of cleaners who will only specialize in biohazard cleaning – cleaning needed for homicide scenes. These requests may be few and far between but this needs the help of an experienced cleaner who can also be detached from the environment one is working in.
Therefore, the company has to hire a new batch of cleaners for its other buildings and transfer the more experienced cleaners to the public buildings, especially the City Hall and the two hospitals, two places where a more specialized cleaner is needed.
Opportunities for Mr. Clean
There are definitely opportunities for Mr. Clean with this new contract awarded to them. First, it would introduce the company to three specialized cleaning needs – the cleaning of a public building, the cleaning of a hospital, and the cleaning of a homicide scene. The company has concentrated on cleaning private buildings and facilities for the longest time, the opportunity is there for the company to try these new challenges. This will mean that the company should ask for training, especially in cleaning homicide scenes and disposing of hospital waste – possibly the type of training the company needs is biohazard cleaning since those last two can be classified as biohazard areas.
Allocation of Human Resources
Easily each building can employ around 20-25 people and with five new buildings in the new contract, the company has to hire around 150-200 people and train them on how to do the cleaning. They have to hire this number of people because not all of them will most likely pass the training. However, the company will most likely hire around 150 people. These newly hired people will be assigned to the private buildings and facilities while three special groups composed of the most experienced cleaners will be assigned to the City Hall and to the two public City Hospitals. Also, the company will train ten people who will be asked to volunteer, to work on homicide scenes and will be on call whenever their services are needed.
With the new challenges the company is facing, the company will be bringing in experts from the outside to train them on how to handle cleaning of public buildings, handling hospital waste and biohazards. The trainers will most likely be experts in Occupational Health and Safety and the training programs they will be teaching the cleaners will be Medical Waste Training, Hospital Waste Management where they will be taught current methods of segregation, storage, collection and disposal systems, The Handling and Disposal of Biohazard Waste, and Biohazard Safety Training. The company will also ask for 10 volunteers to the Crime Scene Cleaning training program who will form this special group of cleaners. Those who are easily upset or have a queasy stomach will not be hired. The company will pay for the training because crime scene cleaners have to complete a certificate in crime scene cleaning. They will be taught how to clean different body fluids, remove the smell of death and decomposition from a space, how to deal with hazardous chemicals and cleaning up after a fire.
The Problem and the Five Main Performance Objectives of Operations Management
The writer will now analyze the problem using the five main performance objectives of operations management. In terms of quality, the company should follow all the required instructions in the proper cleaning of the place and the correct way of disposing of all the waste. In terms of speed (time), the company should be able to clean the assigned buildings immediately, keeping the places spic and span the whole day. In terms of dependability, the garbage of the buildings should be properly disposed and the place should be clean round the clock, especially the hospitals. The flexibility objective can apply to the crime scene cleaning activity. The specialized cleaners should be on call 24/7 wherever and whenever they are needed. The costs in terms of staff is high, purchased is high also since the materials needed for cleaning can be costly, and the need for technology is low, since all the cleaning products needed are just available in the neighborhood department store.
The Problem and the Changes to Performance or Outcomes
The problem will definitely be costly for the company but this contract is a big one and a prestigious one at that since Mr. Clean is the trusted cleaner of the City Hall and all its related services. The costs will come from the training of each of the new hires, the payment for the trainers of the specialized cleaning training programs, and the hiring of the new cleaners. It is also important to train the company’s cleaners on the virtues of Total Quality Management. Although the cleaners may feel that their cleaning job is just an ordinary one, it has an important impact on the city since they are servicing the buildings which house the most important services of the city. By teaching them the tools of TQM, the concept can be ingrained in them and allow them to see the importance of their work.
Potential Improvements That Can be Made;
The company should have a ready list of around 150 cleaners ready to be on call at any given time. Since this work is closely related to temp work, it would allow the company flexibility on how to use its human resources, especially when it wins important cleaning contracts like the one from City Hall. Also the company can continue to invest in training even to the cleaners of private buildings. By keeping everyone armed with the knowledge needed in cleaning hospitals and public buildings, that would give the company more leeway to assign human resources wherever they may be headed. Finally, the company can start keeping a logbook or a training manual for those specific cleaning SOPs so that whenever the company needs to review some procedure, they have a documentation of it.
Relevant Theory Calculations
With the additional contract that Mr. Clean has gotten and with the needed training for the hired cleaners on top of that, the company may look like it has to spend money now on training its cleaners especially that some of the buildings the cleaners are assigned to have specialized waste handling issues. However, the writer sees this new contract and new trainings needed as a way for the company to grow and improve the range of services it can provide its clients. Since the company is already a veteran of cleaning in the city, it may have been complacent in improving itself and looking for other areas of cleaning which it can actually do. So this new contract may just be a blessing in disguise since it opens yet another door for growth for the company.
Definitely, training is an important component in improving employee competencies. It would also help if the company keeps track of the training-cost-per-employee metric so that it can determine the investment it has to make in training at an individual level. This metric is computed by dividing the total training cost for an organization by its headcount, as shown in the formula below,
Training cost per employee
Total training costs
In 2012, the average annual expenditure per employee stood at $1670 and with a possible training list of 200 employees, the training cost alone for that batch would be at US$334,060. However, with a yearly contract from the City Hall alone of US$3.6 million, that contract should cover that expense nicely. Anyway, in the long run, that training will benefit the company. What it can do after the training is adopt that metric mentioned earlier and measure it against each employee who underwent the training, so the company can quantitatively find out the employees who gained a lot from it and those who just wasted the company’s investment on them.
Justifying the Costs
Companies commit to training for different reasons, such as improving the quality of service, to have operational efficiency by introducing a new technology, or minimizing mistakes or errors. However, sometimes, the cost can look a bit prohibitive on paper and for small-size companies like Mr. Clean, it may look too prohibitive and expensive. However, the company’s HR head can analyze the effectiveness of training by identifying operational results, if any, that training had on employee performance. The HR head can justify the return on investment of the training by determining the effects of the improvement in the employee’s performance on the field. The company can come up with a metric, or several metrics which can quantify if a certain training program has been helpful in improving the performance of an employee. That way, the company can also see which employees are serious about their work or have the ability to improve themselves professionally, even if their job description is just as a cleaner. This metric is also valuable since it will help the company in the budgeting process for the next year’s training program schedules.
- Training should be a year round activity in Mr. Clean. Since the attrition rate of cleaners is above the usual average of other companies, the company should be training new cleaners all year round so that whenever and wherever they may be needed, they may be utilized. In a previous discussion, the cost of the training stood at US$1670 per employee so the company has to find out if that investment is worth it for that employee. What it can do is to find out which employees deserve the training and those who do not, especially that the turnover rate in cleaning is big. However, the employees would also feel valued if they do undergo training. They would be able to contribute more to their respective workplaces since they underwent training. It would give them more self-confidence in their jobs, menial as it may look from the outside.
- The company should continue to seek out contracts of cleaning. Being the city’s most respected cleaning agency, the company should continue to seek growth and possibilities of making an income in whatever way it can. Crime scene cleaning, a specialized area is one area where they can really charge their clients, especially since this is the kind of work not many people would be interested to do.
- The company can make hiring a year round activity to ensure that the company always has an excess number of cleaners. That way, whenever the company wins a contract to clean a building or facility, it has the ready staff to take over the cleaning duties of that building.