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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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Switching to a higher performing range of cleaning products can seem like a step into the unknown – you may worry about whether the initial investment, which is likely to be more than you have spent on cleaning products in the past, will pay off in the long run and help to improve the efficiency of your cleaning regimes. However, the business benefits of higher performing cleaning products are evident and will save your business both time and money in the long term.

Less is more

It is perhaps obvious that a higher quality product will produce more effective and long-lasting cleaning results. You can use less of the product to achieve the same result, complete the task more quickly and reduce the frequency with which your teams are cleaning specific areas. This means you are able to increase the longevity of your product stores, and can reduce costs in replacing products which are running low. Subsequently, you will also reduce your storage needs and waste production, and the costs these processes inevitably ensue.

Minimise your energy consumption

Investing in a high quality product range will minimise your energy consumption in a number of ways. Decreasing the frequency with which you complete specific cleaning tasks can reduce your total water consumption, and reduce the need to use electrical appliances. As your cleaning tasks are likely to take less time, you can also cut your running electricity demands during the cleaning process including lighting and heating costs.

Spend your time wisely

As cleaning tasks are likely to be completed more quickly, and to a high standard in a consistent manner, your business will have more time to review your current practise, isolate areas of potential weakness and improve the efficiency of your cleaning processes to match the efficacy of your cleaning products.

Consolidate your product range

Higher quality products are more likely to tackle a wider variety of surfaces or target areas, allowing you to consolidate your product range. This will allow you to reduce the resources needed to store your cleaning supplies. You can also cut the time normally spent training your staff, and can ensure that your workforce has a comprehensive understanding of how the products work and which surfaces they target.

So make the most of your cleaning and maintenance budget and don’t waste time or sacrifice on results; realise the long term business benefits of investing in a higher performing range of cleaning products.

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It is easy to think of key sources of dirt and contamination in an organisation – you may consider the flooring, bathroom facilities and windows, for example. However, there are a host of other places where dirt accumulates and bacteria can spread quickly. On average, people will touch roughly 300 surfaces in 30 minutes, which equates to approximately 840,000 germs. It is imperative that your organisation minimises the risk of contamination, using efficient and thorough cleaning strategies.

  1. Your desk

On average, desk surfaces are thought to harbour 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat, and viruses like influenza can survive on hard surfaces like this for up to 24 hours. Make sure employees keep their desks tidy so that your cleaning staff can access them quickly and easily.

  1. Keyboard and mouse

Computer keyboards can become a haven for nasty bacteria, lurking between the keys where it is difficult to reach them. Make sure you shake the dust and crumbs out of your keyboards and clean them regularly; either with a soft, lightly dampened, lint-free cloth or disinfectant alcohol wipes.

  1. Sponges

The sponges in the kitchen of your organisation are likely to be used by a host of different staff members throughout the day, and bacteria can survive and thrive in the network of crevasses inside the sponge. Make sure you replace your sponges regularly, or disinfect them at least once a week to prevent a build-up of harmful bacteria.

  1. Water fountains

Although water fountains are a quick and accessible way of keeping your staff and customers hydrated, they can be a significant source of bacteria in your workspace. In fact, there can be between 2-7 million bacteria per square inch on the spigot alone! Make sure your cleaning staff are disinfecting your water fountains at least once a day, paying particular attention to the mouthpiece.

  1. Phones

Be it your mobile or a landline, your phones are in use consistently throughout the day, and can quickly become a target for harmful bacteria. Check your line-level cleaners are giving desktop phones a regular wipe clean, to keep them germ free and ready for calls any time of the day.

So bear these less obvious places in mind when training you cleaning staff and other employees, to prevent unnecessary illness in the workplace and keep your building spotless!

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When budgets are tight and expectations are high, keeping your cleaning operations cost-effective whilst maintaining high quality results is not an easy task. These handy tips will help you to maximise the efficiency of your cleaning regimes.

  1. Understand your space

Make sure you evaluate your site and the cleaning requirements for different areas of your building. You need to assess how long it takes to complete all necessary cleaning tasks, identify priority areas which are more likely to become dirty during the day and establish the frequency with which specific sites should be targeted.

  1. Evaluate and re-evaluate your practise

Just because your cleaning practise has worked in the past doesn’t mean it is serving you as well as newer techniques could. Have a thorough look over your cleaning procedures and make sure you are utilising your staff and product resources in the most efficient and productive way. Be honest about which practises are still working well for your team, and which have room for improvement.

  1. Utilise innovative advances

The technology behind the design of cleaning products and systems is constantly evolving; don’t fall behind and miss out on advances which could help to improve the efficiency of your organisation’s cleaning systems. Read blogs and articles about new trends in the cleaning industry on a regular basis, and keep an eye out for recent innovation award winners in the cleaning sector.

  1. Learn from your mistakes

Making significant changes to your organisation’s cleaning operations may seem to be a daunting prospect, but it is essential to address where you may have gone wrong in the past and make improvements to enhance efficiency wherever possible. It will save your organisation both money and time in the long term. If you have had a past incident related to a problem with your cleaning regime, tackle the issue head on and rectify the problem before it arises again.

  1. Consistency is key

Ensure that wherever your cleaning staff are operating within the scope of your organisation, they have undergone a consistent training programme. You also need to make sure they are working under a single efficiency directive, and are using the same range of high quality, sustainable products and equipment.

Keeping these objectives in mind will help your organisation to keep costs low and results high, enhancing both your reputation and your Return on Investment.

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In a society where competition for business is ever-growing and communication between customers is unlimited, organisations are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of consumer opinions and recommendations. Hygiene and cleanliness can often be disregarded and undervalued, but poor cleaning standards can leave businesses fighting for survival in the long term.

The results are in

Recent findings from The Financial Impact of Poor Food Safety Management survey by checkit.net, showed that 61% of consumers would refuse to visit any type of restaurant (including takeaways, coffee shops or pubs) with a low Food Hygiene Rating. Unsurprisingly, this view is not limited to the food industry – cleanliness is prioritised by customers in the retail sector, as well as in public service buildings like schools and hospitals. For example, the UK government Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) Safeguarding in Schools best practice report states that hygiene and cleanliness are given the highest priority status, while 96% of UK care home residents and their families recently voted that care home owners should do more to keep their premises germ free.

The importance of a first impression

Whatever the nature of your organisation, it is clear that cleanliness is a factor which is highly regarded, and that consumers have consistently high expectations. This is even more critical in the age of social media, as information about poor standards of cleanliness and hygiene can reach thousands of potential consumers in seconds.

Do not underestimate the power of a strong first impression. For example, a spotless door or entrance windows will affect a customer’s impression of your premises, even before they have stepped across the threshold. You want your potential customers to feel comfortable and safe, and to create a space that they will want to give positive feedback about and be happy to return to.

Protect your reputation

Organisations need to consider cleanliness as a key determinant of success. If mistakes are made and poor reviews are received, rebuilding customer trust is a lengthy and costly process, and there is no guarantee that the reputation your organisation once held will ever be fully repaired. Organisations need to ensure they are not only meeting, but exceeding the standards required by the appropriate official bodies for their sector or industry. This will protect your reputational stability in the long term, as well as providing an environment which consumers and visitors find welcoming and reliable.

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Not all odours are deemed unwelcome. Our olfactory system plays an integral part in our everyday lives, from allowing us to understand our surrounding environments to evoking memories, emotions and eliciting important responses.

We all remember the scents of our childhood, from the comforting smells of Granny’s banana bread wafting through the house to the overpowering, pungent stench of the sickbay at school. Odours can instantly transport us to a time and place that we otherwise may not have consciously recalled. It is said that sense of smell is closely linked to memory, probably more so than any of our other senses. This is due to our olfactory receptors direct connection to the limbic system, the most primitive part of the brain. When smells are relayed to the cortex, cognitive recognition begins but the most unconscious parts of the brain are first to be stimulated, triggering certain memories or emotions. Because of this, odours are an integral part of our survival instincts. Certain smells can alert us to potential dangers such as smoke from fire or gas from a leaking pipe, to contaminated food or surfaces.

Individuals will have different perceptions of different odours, it is not only due to the sensation of the odours themselves but of the experiences and emotions associated with them. Think of why certain fragrances are preferred by some but despised by others. Many studies have shown reactions to odours and our olfactory likes and dislikes are based purely on emotional associations, with even the power to alter people’s moods. Retailers have certainly tapped into this notion by dispensing comforting scents like cinnamon within their stores that have a proven positive effect on customers which in turn can lead to increased spending. On the other hand, foul odours can be associated with uncleanliness and poor hygiene especially in washrooms, which is enough for customers to black mark an establishment, seriously impacting a business’ reputation.
Odours, whether deemed good or bad, can elicit powerful emotions and create meaningful associations for everyone. It is worth elevating them as part of your assessment process in the maintenance of your workplace or business.

We love odours because they are simple to manage and fixing them can have a dramatic turnaround in how facilities are perceived, allowing you to create a positive and enjoyable environment for everyone, from employees to patrons.

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