Viewing posts from : January 2017

Is it possible to improve staff productivity, and decrease ongoing maintenance costs? Absolutely! With a significant amount of financial pressure impacting organisations, maintenance budgets are regularly being cut, putting pressure on staff and their productivity. Facilities and Operations Managers are often faced with tight maintenance budget constraints, leading to delays in small repairs which can increase costly labour activity in cleaning operations.

However here at Arrow County we want to share with you these 5 tips to help you improve staff productivity, by responding promptly to small maintenance needs.

  1. Take Care of Your Equipment

Ensure that your equipment is taken care of, using the right products to safeguard your tools will decrease your need for costly maintenance checks.

  1. Conduct Regular Evaluations and Set Incentives

Most organisations’ carry out frequent performance evaluations, however you can make yours more influential, by setting goals for reducing errors and increasing staff productivity. By providing incentives to employees, they become more inspired and are more likely to maintain the building in exchange for rewards.

  1. Understand Your Environment

It is crucial to know how many hours it takes to clean and support your building space. It is easy to underestimate, so getting the hours right will ensure the correct number of staff are deployed. For example, if you need two members of cleaning staff instead of one, this extra support will ensure the task is carried out properly reducing pressure and decreasing the need for maintenance.

  1. Train Your Employees

It is imperative that organisations train staff to use their products and equipment properly, this helps avoid errors and mistakes. These faults can cause expensive maintenance bills, and if staff are unsure, these mistakes can lead to increased maintenance jobs.

  1. Get Staff Involved

Get your staff involved, they work on the front line so it is vital they are on the same as page as you. Explain your desire to reduce maintenance costs and invite their input on better ways to do that. Involving staff members in decisions, help them feel more invested in the business and they will do all they can to be supportive.

Following these 5 simple steps will help you create a plan to ensure your staff are productive and your maintenance and cleaning operations costs are managed. Click below to download our FREE infographic.

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Public Contracts Regulations 2015 currently apply in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – these regulations state that any public procurement activities over a given value must be advertised in the European Union’s Official Journal (OJEU). This value is estimated based on the total amount payable, excluding VAT, but including any potential options or renewals as specified in the procurement documents. New financial thresholds have been confirmed by the European Commission which apply to public procurement from the 1st January 2016 until the end of 2017. These thresholds apply to all EU member states regardless of whether they have introduced the European legislation or not, including Scotland.

We’ve summarised the new threshold values in the table below, with the outdated thresholds in brackets.

Supply, services and
design contracts
Works contractsSocial and other
specific services
PublicCentral Government£106,047 (£111,676)£4,104,394 (£4,322,012)£589,148 (N/A)
Other contracting authorities£164,176 (£172,514)£4,104,394 (£4,322,012)£589,148 (N/A)
Small lots£62,842 (£66,672)£785,530 (£833,400)N/A
Utility authorities£328,352 (£345,028)£4,104,394 (£4,322,012)£785,530 (N/A)
Defence and security authorities£328,352 (£345,028)£4,104,394 (£4,322,012)£785,530 (N/A)

Although the threshold values have risen when calculated in Euros, conversion rates actually result in a reduction in threshold value when the contract value is estimated in Sterling. European procurement directives must be designed to comply with the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Government Procurement Agreement (GPA). The GPA defines these financial thresholds in a specialised type of asset established by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) known as Special Drawing Rights (SDR), rather than in Euros. The value of the SDR varies over time and is dependent on the relative values of a number of major global currencies including the Euro and Sterling.

This means that UK contracts valued close to the threshold level are much more likely to require publication in the OJEU when calculated in Sterling, so both suppliers and buyers in the UK can expect more competition from European organisations. Your organisation needs to be aware of these changes and the possible impact they may have on your future procurement strategy.

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It makes good business sense to consider your customer’s opinions; you are likely to centre your promotional materials, social media and website design around your client’s preferences and personas, and your cleaning regimes should be focused in the same way.

First impressions are key

The first impression that your organisation gives to customers or clients is of the utmost importance. It is difficult to recover from a poor first impression and cleanliness is a vital part of making an environment appear attractive and welcoming. Make sure your display windows and entrance areas are kept spotless at all times to ensure every person who walks through your door is impressed with your facilities.

Focus your attention

There are certain areas which clients and customers will naturally focus on when assessing the cleanliness of your building, including kitchens and bathrooms. Interestingly, specific surface types are also perceived differently; for example, it is easier to determine that a hard floor surface is clean when compared to a thick carpet.

Smell matters

Odours are one of the key ways in which people judge the cleanliness of public spaces. Studies have shown people readily associate particular scents, like pine for example, with sanitation. At the same time, heavily scented cleaning products can be perceived as off-putting and overbearing. Strike the right balance by keeping the rooms of your building well ventilated where possible, and choosing a range of cleaning products with an appealing odour.

Seeing is believing

Surfaces will only look clean if they are clean. In fact, 63% of people would rather eat in a restaurant with an open kitchen in order to judge the cleanliness levels. Make the most of large and pale or transparent surfaces in your building. Where dark colours and heavy prints can easily mask stains and grime, dirty streaks and marks are obvious and easily identifiable on windows or white walls. These types of surfaces can therefore be difficult to maintain properly throughout the day, so take the time to plan your cleaning tasks carefully and efficiently.

The cost of clutter

It can be difficult to distinguish between untidiness and dirtiness, with cluttered rooms and messy areas like storage cupboards and kitchens easily giving an impression of a dirty environment. Make sure your buildings are kept tidy – use stylish storage units to keep areas that are prone to clutter-free of unnecessary mess and empty bins on a regular basis.

Keep these useful tips in mind when assessing your cleaning regimes and prioritising maintenance tasks, to impress your clients and create an environment that emphasises the values of your organisation.

Get in touch today to find out how we can help improve your cleaning regime, contact us

Essential natural resources are becoming increasingly valuable and are ultimately irreplaceable. Businesses must do everything they can to maximise their sustainability profile and reduce their carbon footprint. These helpful tips will allow your business to evaluate areas where you may be able to improve and ensure your business runs in the greenest way possible.

  1. Make your meetings green

Make the most of technological advances to communicate quickly and efficiently across different parts of the business. Utilise tools like Skype and conference call facilities to reduce the need to travel for meetings. Keep other daily tasks like taking notes and making bookings online-only to minimise your paper construction.

  1. Target the staff kitchen

There are a number of ways you can reduce the waste and consumption in your staff kitchen. Make sure the dishwasher is full before you switch it on, and make sure appliances like water boilers are switched off overnight. Provide a small compost bin for used tea bags and food, and if you provide catering facilities try to source local, fresh meals.

  1. Create a culture of recycling

Recycling paper is often the extent of a business’ recycling policy, but there are so many more opportunities to reduce the amount of waste you send to landfill. Make sure you also recycle ink cartridges, batteries and old mobile phones. Place recycling bins in convenient places across your buildings which your staff and visitors can access easily.

  1. Streamline your cleaning and maintenance operations

There are a variety of ways you can shake up your cleaning and maintenance operations to maximise your sustainability profile. Switching to an eco-friendly cleaning product range which boast chemical-free ingredients, specialised dose control mechanisms and recyclable packaging can make a significant contribution towards your responsibility targets.

  1. Find a new way to commute

Cars making the daily commute to your buildings will produce considerable levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Introduce a carpooling scheme to motivate and enable staff members to share lifts to and from the workplace, and promote public transport and cycling as alternate means of transport for those who live close by.

Keep sustainability in mind throughout the working day and make your staff aware of the importance of eco-friendly business practice. Keeping these principles in mind will help your business to smash its responsibility targets over and over again.

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The cleaning industry is constantly evolving, and new technology and procedures are improving the quality and efficiency of cleaning and hygiene practice worldwide. Here is a list of some of our favourite recent innovations in the cleaning sector.

  1. RA 660 NAVI – a hard floor cleaning robot by Cleanfix Reinigungssyteme AG.

Why it’s an innovation favourite: Winner of the ‘Machines, Accessories and Components’ category at the 2016 ISSA Interclean Amsterdam Innovation awards.

Tell me more: The robo RA 660 Navi is equipped with a unique patented laser navigation system, three cleaning brushes and a suction cup. RA 660 Navi scrubs and vacuums independently and with high levels of efficiency whenever you want. It is easy to operate and is cost-effective.

  1. Healthcare Cleaning Mobile Management System by Leviy

Why it’s an innovation favourite: Shortlisted as a finalist for the ‘Best Use of Technology by Contractors in the Cleaning Industry’ category in the 2016 European Cleaning & Hygiene Awards.

Tell me more: This pro-active platform provides continuous insight into the real-time processes and the cleaning status of hospitals. Cleaning staff and other users are connected throughout the day and can view the progress of specific processes, quality control, the cleaning status of beds and rolling stock e.g. wheelchairs, planning, technical issues and protocols. Maps of rooms and buildings are updated in real-time, allowing detailed day-to-day planning of cleaning activities. Cleaning staff can report back on completed tasks using comments and photos.

  1. Quick & Easy cleaning sprays by Werner & Mertz Professional / tana-Chemie GmbH

Why it’s an innovation favourite: Winner of the ‘Equipment/Tools for Cleaning, Care and Safety’ category at the 2016 ISSA Interclean Amsterdam Innovation Awards.

Tell me more: Quick & Easy is a portable dosing system which needs no installation and no instructions. It provides a simple, practical and safe cleaning solution. The operator wears the system on a belt and can move from room to room with five selected formulations, interchanging between them quickly and easily and without coming into direct contact with the formulation. It boasts an easy ‘plug-and-play system’ which dilutes the formulation and creates a “foam-spray” effect. The refill cartridges are C2C GOLD certified, material health platinum.

  1. SMARTtrak information management system by ICE

Why it’s an innovation favourite: Winner of the ‘Best Management System’ category at the 2015 Cleaning Show Innovation Awards.

Tell me more: SMARTtrak gives real-time visibility of cleaning and maintenance equipment. It can deduce the location of each machine, when it has been used and how long for. It also provides detailed information about maintenance schedules, equipment security, battery and motor performance, and service deadlines. This information can be accessed remotely from any PC, tablet or smartphone and also includes easy-to-follow on-site training via video links.

  1. SpillEx Super Absorbant Pads by Vileda Professional

Why it’s an innovation favourite: Winner of the ‘Best Cleaning Product’ category at the 2015 Cleaning Show Innovation Awards.

Tell me more: SpillEx is a disposable floor cloth designed for fast spill removal of a wide range of water based liquids from hard floors e.g. blood in operation theatres and soft drink spillages in restaurants. The cloth is highly absorbent and ensures fast, safe removal of liquids before actual floor mopping takes place. The spill remover absorbs up to 1.200 ml of water and once absorbed, the liquid is quickly converted into a gel. This means there are no leaking fluids, no direct hand contact, no risk of soiling the bucket water with the spillage and therefore no risk of cross-contamination.

These examples showcase some of the exciting developments taking place in the cleaning industry today, and gives insight into how businesses are able to continually improve their cleaning services over time.

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We have listened to our customers and developed a versatile solution for all your decision making needs. New and improved functionality requested by our customers has been incorporated into the creation of our latest web shop.

  • 24 hour ordering and access to your account details allows you to shop whenever is convenient for you.
  • A cleaner, fresher design with powerful features.
  • The new ‘My Favourites’ feature stores all your top most ordered products in one place.
  • Built for full access on any mobile device or computer.
  • Filtering by category, size, brand and type.

Your account is personalised to you, set up with your own price list and delivery site addresses which can be easily selected from a drop-down menu at the checkout. Purchase order numbers and delivery requirements can now be added during checkout to ensure you receive your delivery where you want it when you need it.

To apply for an account, click here.

Or to find out more, contact our team.

Investors In People is an internationally recognised accreditation based on 25 years of leading practice. The standard is underpinned by a rigorous assessment methodology and a framework which reflects latest workplace trends, essential skills and effective structures.

Investors in People is often the sign of a great employer and an outstanding place to work with a clear commitment to sustainability with a strong focus on employee satisfaction and ultimately customer satisfaction. After undergoing a rigorous assessment process, we have been awarded Bronze by our assessor, the highest level achievable during a first assessment.

Investors in People practitioner Howard Jones undertook Arrow County’s assessment in March and was impressed by the way the staff responded; “The workforce feel a strong sense of identity with the company but are also encouraged to contribute ideas, make decisions and achieve their full potential. The company is a great place to work and they are proud of it’s reputation and ongoing achievements.”

On Thursday 13th June we held our Investors in People award ceremony to share the achievement with our brilliant team, without whom this award would not have been possible. We were joined by our local MP Daniel Kawczynski who took the time out of his busy schedule to congratulate us on being one of only 14,000 organisations to of achieved this accreditation.

“We believe in the continual development of our staff to ensure that they reach their full potential. Everyone at Arrow is encouraged to be the best they can be, and to take ownership of their opportunity to make a real impact on the company and provide exceptional service to our customers.  We take pride in our workforce, recognising their efforts and achievements because without them we would not be the company we are today.”  Bruce Blackledge, Managing Director Arrow County Supplies

During his speech, Arrow’s CEO Richard Blackledge, praised the staff for all their efforts, going above and beyond for the company and their commitment to it’s customers;

“Having this accreditation demonstrates to the world that we are a company with high corporate and social responsibilities. It shows that we are committed to our values and our belief in The Arrow Way which reassures customers both existing and future.”

All of our customers can be sure they’re working with a company who believes in equality for all, sustainability and great customer service which is at the heart of The Arrow Way.

To find out more about Investors In People, click here.

Arrow County Supplies are delighted to announce that they are the exclusive UK distributors for an award-winning new cleaning product QUICK AND EASY that delivers professional cleaning results without compromise with a revolutionary new mobile dosing system that is safe, green, practical and powerful.

We know that many organisations have a strong desire to embrace more sustainable cleaning processes but have become frustrated with the results that they get from green cleaning formulations, but not anymore as Quick and Easy sets new standards in performance, sustainability, user safety as well as productivity.

  • An innovative foam spray head that automatically dilutes the QUICK & EASY concentrated formulas for easy, exact and safe dosing using foam to ensure improved product utilisation with effective contamination reduction, when compared to conventional cleaning sprays.
  • Four powerful and effective QUICK & EASY formulations mean that there is one for all main cleaning requirements, and they are quick and easy to swap at the point of use.
  • QUICK & EASY, comply to a new standard of environmental sustainability – Cradle to Cradle. The robust accreditation process only certifies products that are sustainable and all formulations are “Gold Certified”.
  • All ingredients are certified as safe for people and nature, the innovative automatic dilution of the product makes it “CLP free in application”, recognising that it is free from hazardous materials as set out in the EU CLP Regulation on classification, labelling and packaging of substances.
  • The QUICK & EASY belt, combined with a water cartridge that can be refilled anywhere, means this is a portable and powerful system that ensures cleaning professionals are as productive as possible.

As the UK’s exclusive distributors of the QUICK & EASY innovative cleaning solution, we are delighted to answer any questions you may have so why not get in touch? For more information, please visit the new QUICK AND EASY website.


Come and explore the new 3D washroom experience from Metsa and Katrin. This is an all new way of viewing and choosing your washroom products using the latest Virtual Reality (VR) technology.

Upgrading your washrooms is no small undertaking but by using the latest technology, Arrow County Supplies can give you a fantastic insight into the options available to you. Our insight team travel across the UK and have the unique opportunity to bring the VR experience to Arrow customers to help visualise a brighter future.

Having already received great feedback from those who have already experienced this, we are looking forward to bringing this unique customer service offering to more of our customers.

Whether you’re already an Arrow customer or not, if you are looking to upgrade your washrooms and improve accessibility and aesthetics whilst reducing costs, get in touch with a member of our team to book a virtual reality tour of your next washroom.

As most of you know COSHH is the implementation of a key bit of health and safety legislation and ordinarily as soon as we hear those words “health and safety” our hearts start to sink. Don’t despair, as well as complying with important legislation designed to improve safety in the workplace, implementing and adhering to COSHH can have some surprising benefits for your cleaning operations.

  1. COSHH improves efficiency: Implementing regulations can sometimes bring a sense of order to processes where before these may have been lacking. Investing the time to evaluate how to comply with the regulations, naturally leads to an evaluation of practices that can present opportunities for overall improvements. Although there may be additional actions required to comply with the law, these can often be outweighed by a broader evaluation of best practice and the discovery of new, more efficient ways of doing things that haven’t been looked at before. A safer workforce is often a healthier workforce, and raising awareness of health and safety can often lead to lower levels of ill health and consequently more productivity.
  1. COSHH saves you money: Strange as it might seem, as there are always extra things to do to comply with regulations, complying with COSHH in cleaning operations can often save money. This is a result of the re-evaluation of current working practices and a heightened understanding of the correct amount of cleaning products to use, especially those that are hazardous. Regular reminders of compliance practice to cleaning teams can also contain messages about the correct dosages to use for effective cleaning and the responsibility to focus and monitor this.
  1. COSHH builds happier teams: If communicated the right way, focusing on COSHH can give teams a real uplift. It demonstrates that their employer takes their health and safety seriously and instils a greater sense of responsibility within them to look after their work environment, their colleagues and the users of the facilities they look after. Overall this can improve morale and enhance their sense of purpose beyond just doing a great cleaning job.
  1. COSHH reduces risks: Demonstrable adherence to good practice and regulations reduces risks overall. The workplace can often be tidier and more efficient through the correct handling of hazardous materials. This in turn can lead to measurable reduced risks in the workplace. This can be used to save costs by reducing insurance premiums and other risk management costs.
  1. COSHH can give you a better reputation for corporate responsibility among customers and communities: Focusing on managing hazards including hazardous substances and reducing their overall usage levels can lead to reduced waste and less impact on the environment. It offers the opportunity to switch to greener products. This responsible approach can contribute significantly to overall sustainability targets.

So perhaps the phrase is “every cloud has a silver lining”. If something must be done, like complying with COSHH, there are welcome opportunities to turn this obligation into a really positive experience with measurable constructive outcomes for all.

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