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Servi-Tek reinvents the janitorial services offering
Cleanzine talks to Eric Friz and Kurt Lester of Servi-Track, a company that provides green janitorial and landscaping services for large retail centres, medical office buildings and pharmacological companies in California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and Florida.
If you're a cleaning contractor and are striving to improve efficiency and provide a great service, but can't find the technology you need to help you do the job in the way you want to do it, what's the solution?
Well if you're Servi-tek, the San Diego, California-based contractor, you create your own...
"While there are several computerised work order systems on the market, none of them offered what we envisioned - laser-like focus on client happiness," says partner Eric Friz. "So we created our own trademarked programme called Servi-Trak."
Eric explains that whilst Servi-Trak tracks employees' hours and the time worked at each location by telephonic login system, it is, most importantly, a means of quality assurance. Each of the company's accounts has specific needs that are dynamic, i.e., unique alarm codes, cleaning time requirements, areas not to be cleaned, desks that need detailing as well as those that should not be touched, particular days of the weeks and or particular months that certain detail work has to be carried out etc.
These are crucial parts of a cleaning contract but parts that can easily be missed (or misunderstood) unless there is a cast iron way of ensuring that the relevant information gets to the right operative at the right time.
The Servi-Tek team gets this information by visiting each tenant in the building, or, in the case of retail and single owner facilities, the end-user. All of this information is put into the individual client's Site Analysis Report before the service is even started.
Once the service is up and running and the Quality Assurance Manager visits the building or project, and he or she uses the information to conduct an inspection which is not just any inspection, but one that is tailored to that particular project or building.
Everything is logged on an iPad - with images if appropriate - and the information is uploaded into Servi-Trak, which builds up an accurate picture of the facility's cleanliness and the 'end user's' level of satisfaction with the cleaning service.
Once this has been done, two things happen: First, Servi-Tek sends the inspection report to the client's computer or Personal Digital Assistant, which makes the client aware that an inspection has taken place. Second, it generates a series of work orders - or job cards - based on those areas that have been deemed by the inspection team to be deficient.
"For example, a specific property may have consistent dusting issues," explains Eric. "Armed with this data, our Compliance Manager and Field Manager can focus on this specific problem during the routine training we regularly carry out. If the specifics are not outlined on the Job Card, new cards are created which reflect the changes so everyone is aware that the problems are being given the right attention.
"To ensure that the problem is a one-off, when the Compliance Director goes to the site to carry out the training, he or she will look at the last 90 days of work orders so as to focus training on areas that have been deficient."
The work order has two components: The front part is a review of our customised training programme. It has the pictures of the training for that employee, who will specialise in a particular area of work. For example, the Vacuum Specialist's card will have all the relevant information in pictorial form as well as the training process icons in the sequence that should be followed. On the back is the information collected from the Site Analysis Report. It's called 'Special Request' and this is the section that mentions the specific needs of the tenant/end-user, as well as a final section that tells which days of the week the worker is supposed to perform which detail cleaning task.
"The operations team springs into action and tackles the required issues, all the while, documenting their efforts," explains Eric. "By using this method, no important information is lost or diluted. Furthermore, when someone is sick or cannot complete a job, another team member can simply follow the work order that has been produced.
"If there is an unexpected occurrence, such as a spillage or breakage that needs cleaning up, this job can be added to the worksheet by one of the cleaning team, the Quality Assurance Manager, the client or even other contractors that may be providing the engineering service, or lift services.... Our system allows these people, who may not be associated with Servi-Tek, to add work orders when they notice a deficiency.
"All of this process is completely transparent in that the client can see it all following a simple login process. They can even see what the tenants are saying, as well as what is being worked on in the building... all without ever having left the comfort of their office!
"In effect, Servi-Tek becomes a virtual extension of our clients. Each month, all of our customers receive a report in PDF format that summarises all of the inspections and work orders with a graphic that shows trending."
Eric's business partner Kurt Lester explains that all crew members are specialists in specific areas of cleaning including Light Duty, Restroom, Utility, Vacuum, Landscape and Irrigation. He says that cleaning specialists work together as a team with assigned equipment and tasks. But there's plenty of scope for personal development...
"We provide a two hour 'orientation training' and then monthly training done on-site," he says. "The orientation training is followed by a simple test to assess if the candidate was paying attention. Going one stage further, Servi-Tek University offers our employees (we like to call them co-workers or associates) a no-cost scholastic path towards improving their business, computer and job skills. Completion of specific curriculum qualifies the candidate to move into management positions within our organisation.
"Servi-Tek University has courses that include some of the Specialist training, but it is much more than that. It is a pathway for promotion. Let's say an employee (associate) of our wants to go from being the Light Duty Specialist to becoming one of our Quality Assurance Managers. He or she will select that option, then a list of the appropriate courses will be flagged up. The associate then has to complete all of these 'courses' before being promoted."
Kurt explains that these courses include English, Customer Service Skills, Problem Solving, Servi-Trak 300 (this is what the company calls the highest level of understanding of the Servi-Trak system).
All these courses are offered on line at the company's offices. The employee logs in, completes the course and takes a test. Servi-Tek tracks which courses an employee has completed.
And of course all employees are schooled in the need to protect the environment wherever possible... "If it is a single floor tenant, we clean by zones so as to prevent the entire project from having the lights on," says Kurt. "There is simply no need to have the building lit up like a Christmas tree. It's damaging to the environment and a waste of the client's money!
"A commitment to being 100% green, our use of innovative technology and our mind-set of providing a top quality service, is what sets us apart from the competition."
Eric has one further point to add: "Janitorial services are not a commodity! At Servi-Tek, we strive to prove this every day through the use our technology and real-time data.We are not 'janitorial as usual!'," he says.
3rd November 2011