Janitronics Facility Services employs about 1800 people out of offices in New York and Vermont. They offer cleaning, maintenance, and consulting to a diverse range of markets. Their clientele includes educational, retail, medical, and industrial facilities, in addition to office buildings, research and development centers, and more.
Patrick Fragomeni, Regional Manager for the Capital District of Albany, joined Janitronics 24 years ago. Today, he helps implement the Team Cleaning® system that has defined Janitronics success. When he first learned the Team Cleaning system in the mid ‘90s, it changed the way he saw cleaning.
“I remember our first Team Cleaning proposal for a 200,000 square footoffice facility. We used the new production rates we experienced using the system and placed a standard fee percentage to reach our proposed price,” said Fragomeni. “The shock came when they kicked us off the bidders list due to the perception that we ‘low balled’ our price. We increased our fee structure and began writing a lot of new business at a higher gross profit. That was totally unexpected.”
Larry Shideler, the founder of ProTeam and inventor of the lightweight backpack vacuum, developed the original Team Cleaning concept in the ‘80s. Jim Harris, Sr., who founded Janitronics in 1972, expanded upon Shideler’s work in the ‘90s. Harris began offering Team Cleaning seminars in 1995 through his other company, Concepts4 Cleaning Consultants. Jim Harris, Sr. passed off leadership of Janitronics to his son Jim Harris, Jr. in 2000. He continues to teach Team Cleaning seminars today through Concepts4.
The Team Cleaning system focuses on improving productivity, reducing costs without sacrificing performance, and cleaning more effectively. The system challenges the widely used method, zone cleaning.
In zone cleaning, cleaners divide the facility into zone. The assigned cleaner does all tasks in that zone, equipped with every chemical and tool. In most cases, no schedule outlines which tasks should be done daily, weekly, or less frequently. Cleaners must determine for themselves how often tasks should be addressed. This, according to Fragomeni, is not a recipe for success.
“The employees always have a reason why they didn’t do a task. They’ll say, ‘I didn’t know,’ or, “I was going to get to it,’” said Fragomeni. “We schedule everything we do. The employee’s job assignment card shows every task along with the amount of time required. The job cards keeps all specialists on schedule.”
Team Cleaning divides tasks between four different specialists: a light duty specialist, vacuum specialist, utility specialist, and restroom specialist. Rather than buying a full set of tools for each zone cleaner, each Team Cleaning specialist only needs tools related to his or her tasks. This reduces the amount of equipment needed. Specialists move through a space only once and then move on without switching tools. Zone cleaners move through a space many times, switching tools in between. Those transition times add up to greater labor costs.
”With the efficient structure of the Team Cleaning system, we quickly realized the waste generated in zone cleaning,” stated Fragomeni.
Each specialist perfects his or her set of tasks through training and ongoing accountability. Fragomeni says that the transition to Team Cleaning challenges some who are accustomed to zone cleaning.
“You may experience resistance because of this: Team Cleaning forces accountability,” said Fragomeni.
Read part 2 of this two-part series here.