Managed Janitorial Services Case Study
International Auto Parts Manufacturer Discovers a Managed Janitorial Services Partner They Don’t Have to Micromanage
This international auto parts manufacturer based in the Midwest was tired of having to manage the complaints generated from the poor delivery by their janitorial services provider.
Not only was their janitorial service crew leaving work incomplete, but its employees were also bringing their own complaints about their employer to the manufacturer’s facilities maintenance engineer.
With approximately 3,000 employees working around the clock on three shifts and nearly 1.5 million square feet of manufacturing and office space at two sites, the manufacturer needed a consistent and reliable cleaning solution without the drama.
They needed a company that could provide consistent cleaning services for dozens of bathrooms, breakrooms, offices, and trash cans across their facilities that are in near constant need of attention.
A switch to LACOSTA was the solution, beginning with cleaning up the mess the other company had left behind. LACOSTA provides onsite management, supervision and measures progress towards key performance indicators (KPIs), which allows the manufacturer’s facility employees to focus on their own work. There is no need to micromanage the work of LACOSTA.
The Problem: Unreliable & Undermanaged Third-Party Janitorial Service Creates More Problems than Solutions
The maintenance engineer who oversees facility support operations at one of the two locations said working with the previous company was a nightmare.
“They were horrible,” he said, “Stuff would get missed. Trash was not getting taken out. Bathrooms weren’t getting clean.” The lawn crew couldn’t get the grass maintained around a parking lot because of uncollected trash blocking the way.
The cleaning company, which offered low wages and no benefits, also suffered from constant turnover and struggled to cover weekend shifts at the facility. Some of the workers quit the cleaning company and went to work directly for the manufacturing plant instead.
At the manufacturer’s second location, the LACOSTA facilities maintenance point of contact that works most closely with the cleaning crew had a similar experience. The manufacturer’s employees were frequently complaining about the state of restrooms and break rooms. “We were constantly being called on restroom issues… out of paper towels, out of toiler paper,” he said. “The café was trashed. This was a constant thing.”
He was spending up to two hours a day dealing with complaints and attempting to solve problems resulting from the janitorial company’s lack of performance. With 10 acres under roof, it was incredibly time consuming to have to stop whatever he was doing and try to reach someone from the cleaning company to resolve an issue. “You couldn’t ever find anybody,” he said. “They’d go home and not tell you.”
The problems, he said, also resulted in delays to a planned renovation of the site’s 14 bathrooms. “What’s the use of spending the funds to renovate if nobody is going to keep them clean?”
Boosting Employee Morale & Shaping the Culture
LACOSTA’s onsite manager is more than familiar with the problems the manufacturer was experiencing with the previous janitorial provider. She had worked for the previous company for eight months, a period during which she frequently raised issues about the way workers were treated and the low morale that resulted. Among other issues, “none of the periodic work was being done,” she says. “[The client] would come in and trash would literally be sitting on the floor of the break room. Employees would have to come in to disgusting areas and conditions.”
She raised complaints with her manager but couldn’t get them communicated up the chain of command, she said. Finally, she decided to quit. When she learned that LACOSTA would be taking over the job, someone at the manufacturing company encouraged her to apply. Today, she manages the facility’s crew where the manufacturer engineer says the improvement has been significant.
Now as part of the LACOSTA team, the onsite manager appreciates the support, training and guidance the LACOSTA management team provides, which puts her in a position to succeed—and is more important than just pay and benefits. Specific examples of what LACOSTA provides the onsite team:
- Constant training and development of support
- Allowing the opportunity to grow into different jobs
- Community involvement
The Solution: Advantages of the LACOSTA Model
LACOSTA took over the work at both sites, earning praise from the manufacturer’s employees as well as from the facilities managers who oversee their work—a job that takes a lot less time than it used to.
One big improvement, says one of the facilities managers, is having a LACOSTA contact person who is always available to troubleshoot and resolve issues that come up. “I can call her 24/7 and she will take care of whatever problem I have,” he says.
The maintenance engineer at the second site says having LACOSTA on the job has been a very different experience for that location as well. Early on, he noticed that the LACOSTA employees would check to see when the lawn care crew was coming to be sure that outside trash was picked up in advance. He has also come to appreciate the fast and dedicated support. “They’re quick,” he says. “If something gets reported, I call LACOSTA’s onsite manager right away and she’s really quick to respond.”
Low Turnover, Improved Morale and a Crew that Doesn’t Wait to be Told What to Do
A big part of the difference is the fact that LACOSTA’s team tends to remain the same, he says, without the constant turnover that plagued the previous provider. “The people I see on the day shift (and part of second shift) have pretty much been the same people,” he says. “It helps just having that longevity and the ability to keep good people.”
The lack of drama and a crew that takes pride in their work has made an impact, he says. “Employee morale is affected by that. The manufacturer’s employees “feel like they’re being taken care of,” he said. No longer having to deal with complaints from his employees or his contractor’s employees has also been a pleasant and productive change.
LACOSTA’s work has significantly improved morale of the employees. The company moved forward with renovating its bathrooms and today, he says, he has more time to do his own work of keeping the facilities well-maintained and running smoothly, instead of dealing with complaints about toilet paper shortages and overflowing garbage cans.
That’s the whole idea, says LACOSTA’s onsite manager. With daily cleaning as well as regularly scheduled tasks like carpet cleaning, stripping, and waxing tile to oversee, her work ethic carries through to her team. “They give us a list of things in the scope pf work that are supposed to be done but some things, like wiping down a grimy railing, etc., we don’t wait. You see a mess you clean it up.”
LACOSTA’s onsite manager says the feedback has been very encouraging. The manufacturer noticed a difference within days of LACOSTA taking over the work, and according to her, “we have literally gotten pats on the back from employees who say, ‘The break room looks great, thanks, guys.’”
The difference in the quality of the work before and after the LACOSTA crew took over the job, is “night and day,” says LACOSTA’s onsite manager.
Reliable Third-Party Janitorial Support by the Numbers
- 15 bathrooms, 8 breakrooms, dozens of offices, and 250 trash cans across 18 buildings at one site
- 14 bathrooms, 7 offices and 35-40 trash cans at a second site with about 435,000 square-feet of plant space and four nearby warehouses
- Working around 2,300 employees on 3 shifts during 24/7 operation at one site and roughly 700 employees at a second site
- Compliments from employees at both sites since contract began in January 2019
- Estimated 6 hours a week (312 hours per year) in time savings at one facility where a busy facilities maintenance employee no longer has to micromanage complaints and work quality
- Completion of a $250,000 bathroom renovation that was put off in part because the manufacturer didn’t have a reliable service for keeping bathrooms clean
- Over 500 hours a facilities engineer can spend on higher level work instead of trying to get the cleaning crew to do their job
In short, the decision to use LACOSTA has left the manufacturer with a janitorial service it can rely on. The difference, says the maintenance engineer, was apparent from day one.
“It seems like LACOSTA has more pride” in making sure things are done right, he said.