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 teabags 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 means that there is one for all main cleaning requirements, and they are quick and easy to swap at the point of use.
  • QUICK & EASY, complies 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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Apart from the more obvious environmental benefits of adopting an eco-friendly cleaning regime, sustainable services can provide a number of other advantages to your organisation as a whole, including reduced expenditure, improvements to staff wellbeing and brand value. These objectives will provide some useful guidance which will help you to increase the sustainability of your cleaning services systems.

  1. Reduce your transport requirements

It is commonly understood that transporting goods and services has a huge impact upon an organisation’s carbon footprint. A number of variables can be addressed in order to minimise your transport requirements including where you source your products, quantity per carton, and product concentrations.

  1. Choose the right products

It’s essential that you choose products that are designed for sustainability as well as safety. Make sure you work with suppliers that responsibly manage their manufacturing impacts. Try to favour more concentrated products, where applicable, as you will need less of the product per use. Using innovative chemical-free cleaning products like microfiber technology clothes can help reduce the health impact on both cleaning service workers and other building occupants.

  1. Streamline your operations

Make sure you service your cleaning equipment regularly, particularly critical items such as dosing pumps for automated machines to ensure the right amounts of the products are dispensed. Provide environmental awareness training for your employees so they are educated on how to reduce their environmental impact. Ensure your staff are following one set of procedures to maximise task efficiency.

  1. Limit your electricity consumption

Ensure your staff are trained properly to minimise the amount of electricity they need to use when completing cleaning tasks, and make sure electrical resources are only used when truly necessary and cost-effective. If you can, try to provide your cleaning services during daylight hours, as this will mean that the heating and lighting can be switched off overnight.

  1. Minimise your wider environmental impacts

It’s important that you try to reduce your overall energy consumption, to preserve the world’s natural resources, reduce emissions, and minimise pollution. Try to use environmentally friendly products, lessening the impact on water pollution in rivers and seas. Non-biodegradable chemicals take a long time to break down (if at all); this can cause further harm to wildlife and can eventually get into the human food chain. Try to source recyclable products with zero-to-landfill waste.

With these key objectives in mind, switching your organisation’s cleaning services to a more sustainable system needn’t be a daunting or vexing task. Use these points as a starting platform from which to guide your transition towards a more sustainable cleaning regime, and reap the rewards in the long term.

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What does the future hold for the cleaning industry? New products? New services? All innovations should ultimately be driven by an end customer (meaning the public) need, but what do they really want?

In a recent survey*, members of the public located across the United Kingdom looked at public perceptions of cleaning and the cleaning industry.

The good news

100% of people think that cleaning is essential and not only protects us from infections but gives us a sense of well-being. A clean workplace is happier, more productive, and gives a better impression to visitors and clients. This fundamental importance of a cleaned environment is often forgotten and not regularly recognised. Suggestion: Regularly remind staff and clients/visitors that cleaning is important and celebrate success.

The public have a view on innovation, for example 78% of participants believe that “machinery is more effective than a mop”. This means that public perception is not only swayed by results (66% said that effectiveness is the single most important aspect when designing cleaning equipment or services) but also how those results are achieved. Suggestion: Keep colleagues and the public informed on your use of innovative solutions. For example, hold demonstrations for colleagues on the effectiveness of new machines or when seeking feedback start off by saying “These floors are cleaned by the latest cleaning machine technology, if you have suggestions for improvements please contact us”.

Image is important. 51% of those surveyed would prefer to see cleaners in branded uniforms. Although not completely decisive on dress, the “brand” of cleaning operations will be reflected in everything they do, particularly those in operation during normal business hours. Suggestion: Encourage staff members to feel proud of their work through positive feedback and educate how this is reflected in everything they do, including their appearance. This association with achievement can only serve to increase productivity and satisfaction.

Room for improvement

34% of the public never talked to a cleaner at work yet 72% said that cleaning makes them feel satisfied. This in our view is a bit disappointing. Increasingly cleaning staff overlap with the working hours of other functions and clients or visitors. A big majority of those surveyed reported that cleaning makes them feel good and presumably the better the cleaning the better they feel. The disconnection between these two statistics feels like an opportunity lost for positive re-enforcement to cleaning staff in particular. Suggestion: Encourage visitors and customers to give their feedback and directly where possible. Maybe notices when cleaning is in operation that request “Let me know if doing a good job” or “How was my cleaning today?” alongside safety notices could prompt more engagement.

Conclusion

All in all the signs are good. Cleaning is appreciated by end users and they have positive views on how this should be done. Embracing innovation is seen as progressive and worthwhile and identifying and engaging with end users, particularly to gather their feedback could be really positive. Capturing the feel-good-factor can bring encouraging results in terms of end user satisfaction and staff morale and retention.

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Nearly all organisations are looking for cost reductions, asking the question how can we do more for less? These efficiency requirements may move from department to department but at some time the spotlight will inevitably fall on cleaning operations. It is better to be prepared for when this happens. This article offers some practical tips to see how efficiency savings can be made.

  1. Preparation

Thinking well in advance of deadlines allows more open and creative thinking to solve problems. So, set aside some time each week and capture your thoughts. Don’t be afraid to be radical and to think the “unthinkable”, you are not making decisions at this stage. Look at the payback of each option over a long period. Quite often, tactical savings cannot be sustained over the long term. Match the ability to implement any change to its long-term benefits and make sure any changes considered align within the overall strategy of your organisation.

  1. Look at your organisational structure

Being forced to consider change can be a great time to re-organise how you deliver services. Look at all the functions you provide and work out whether there are benefits in re-organisation. Look for duplication and consider whether parts of your service could be better outsourced or insourced. Look at your management structure to make sure that the workload is being shared equally with the right levels of training and ability to get the best out of the teams.

  1. Be a smarter buyer

Instead of focusing on the price of a supply of products and materials as a tactical saving opportunity, take a long hard look at value. It is often the case that products and suppliers can deliver increased value over price. For example, does your supplier work with you to recommend efficiency savings or new innovative solutions to help you with your challenges? If not, find one that does, as this constant care and support is invaluable. Perhaps look for a supplier who will assess and challenge the way you currently do things and recommend overall savings. Products too that are right for the job, can often reduce consumption and cost.

  1. Negotiate good terms

Having selected a supplier that offers a fully supportive ongoing service, negotiate on price. You may find that consolidating your purchases to one supplier can bring savings against multiple suppliers whose numbers have built up over time. Trade quantity for discounts as the suppliers can save on delivery and administration costs and share the benefits with you.

  1. Embrace innovation and technology

Innovation is everywhere. Trial new techniques, materials and machines on an ongoing basis (perhaps one per month), analyse the results and store up the benefits for when you have to respond to cost pressures. When change comes, there is often the opportunity to renew equipment through one off investments to save over the long term. Look at your ageing equipment and ask yourself, can this be done more effectively, reliably and with less time and effort if we change the tools and materials we are using? Doing this analysis on an ongoing basis demonstrates to your stakeholders that you are being proactive and trialling new things can often be achieved with little or no additional cost.

  1. Consider sustainability

Sustainable practice in terms of the environment, doesn’t have to cost more, in fact it is often a route to cost savings in itself. Think of reducing waste for example. As well as good practice, the reduction in waste, can also mean a reduction in consumption and costs reduced. In this way, you are not only responding to the cost pressures but also contributing to your organisations responsibility targets.

  1. Get stakeholders involved

If you start early enough with good preparation it is a great opportunity to float ideas and get stakeholders involved. Ask colleagues in other areas (like the finance department for example) to help analyse your trial results so they can see your initiatives at first hand. Get your teams involved in trialling new ways of working, or new products, so that they can contribute feedback and come up with their own efficiency ideas. Maybe set a challenge with a prize at the end of it for the best efficiency idea?

  1. Measure and compare

When the time comes, it is much easier to discuss what changes can be made if you are armed with facts. So, benchmark your performance so that you can have an informed discussion about your current levels of delivery. Again, good suppliers and industry experts should be able to help you here. This data is very important to help you maintain your service levels with the appropriate resources, rather than being arbitrarily asked to make cuts and do something it is impossible achieve. It is often an idea to share and socialise your benchmarks with other colleagues in other organisations perhaps through online industry forums or discussion groups.

So, the message to tackle cost reduction pressure when it comes, is primarily be prepared. If you have good data, good analysis and ideas, and engaged stakeholders who understand your challenges, you can transform the whole exercise into a positive organisational development program that can deliver not only cost benefits, but a re-energised and engaged labour force and secondary benefits like environmental responsibility.

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