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Aaron D. Glazar By Aaron D. Glazar • May 4, 2017

A Facility Manager's Guide to the Best Hand Soap Program

 Hand washing for healthy hands

For the Facilities Manager or another person responsible for building health and cleanliness, these nagging conversations may be all too familiar. 

“The restroom on the 4th floor is out of soap. Please send someone in right away to get it filled.”

“Sandy in receiving has been complaining that the soap in the bathroom irritates her skin. Please see if you can find something new.”

“We are out of the soap in those bags with the little rubber nipples for the bathrooms in the east wing.”

“The flu’s going around, and the nurse says we have to start using antimicrobial soap in all bathrooms.”

“Our budget is getting cut by 20%, so call around and make sure we’re getting the best price on hand soap.”

Are requests, complaints, and misinformation causing misalignment and costing you valuable time? How much time would you get back if you never had to field another call like these again? If the hand soap program in your facility was aligned to organizational goals and communicated in a way that enabled you and your staff to focus on more valuable tasks at hand, would you be excited?

 

To Change or Not to Change

 

That is the question… One of the most common causes of empty hand soap dispensers happens what the facility staff is faced with the following conundrum – “Do I change the soap cartridge now and possibly waste the rest of the soap in the cartridge, or do I gamble and hope it lasts until tomorrow?”

Trained custodial staff will be taught one of three things-

  • Change soap cartridges before they are empty. It is better to waste ¼ of the soap in the dispenser than to leave the restroom empty of soap for employees and guests.
  • When the soap level gets low, check the dispensers more frequently so all the soap is used and also to prevent a poor user experience.
  • Wait to change the soap until it is completely out. The organization can't afford to waste money. When someone alerts us that the soap has run out, it'll be changed.

Untrained custodial staff will make their own decisions. The question is whether their judgement will be right for your situation.

This seemingly little detail can have a major impact on the experience a facility delivers to its visitors, management, and staff. Properly choosing systems from a janitorial supply company that align to an organization's goals and providing custodial staff members with training will help achieve outcomes that spell success.

 

How Many Different Systems Does a Facility Need

 

Some facilities end up with several different hand washing systems causing facility managers and custodial staff to inventory and replenish replacement products and dispensers. This can pose unnecessary problems.

  • Remember to communicate which hand soap system is located in what part of the building. This is particularly important with temporary staff or whenever turnover is experienced.
  • Remember that inventory for each system must be managed separately to prevent emergencies where products get confused and the facility temporarily runs out of hand soap and related products.
  • Optimizing hand washing expenses when several systems are managed simultaneously is not very effective. Labor costs are high due to the increased product management discussed above. 

Facility teams that find themselves using several hand soap systems are not doing so by proactive design to achieve organizations success. Instead, they may find themselves in this position simply due to numerous changes that have occurred over time without review or proper optimization of the best hand soap system. Staff turnover, janitorial supply company changes, and individual requests can all be contributing factors to this misalignment of resources.

Teams with these problems have an opportunity to improve outcomes that impact employee engagement and promote healthy initiatives for staff and visitors alike.

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