How to ensure your cleaning auditing software gives you real results

by FM Media
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The key elements to consider when acquiring a cleaning auditing software package are shared by DEBBIE STAPLETON, director of First Check Auditing.

Looking at a new cleaning contract filled with fresh promises is enough to give anyone a feeling of hope. All of the detailed standards and deliverables paint a picture of clean facilities, happy clients and an exceptionally happy facilities manager.
But, as many of us know, it’s not that simple. Ensuring that these contractual promises are delivered shouldn’t be a case of ‘he-said-she-said’ where the battleground lies between you and your cleaning contractor. Instead, it’s about having the right processes and auditing software in place so you can work collaboratively on cleaner buildings, and really harness that quality from your cleaning spend.
The first step is to consider whether your current system is giving you access to the data you need. Are you able to easily access cleaning trends? Can you easily follow up on cleaning complaints with detailed statistics on performance? Is your cleaning contractor able to add its comments to your current software?

Whether you choose an in-house cleaning auditor or save costs with an external contractor, your software package needs to be aligned to your cleaning contract and broader organisational strategy. Quality cleaning auditing solutions typically comprise four components:

  1. Auditor notes and photos, auditing cleaning elements against the specification
  2. Sections for cleaner notes and facilities staff notes
  3. Accurate scoring
  4. Exportable reporting

Aims for the auditing software system should include:

  • Facilitating your ability to act proactively on cleaning trends or spot issues
  • Aggregating all of the information sources in one easily accessible platform
  • Creating a culture around reporting that is independent from relationships – either internal or with cleaning contractor

Your software provider should help you identify where to start in the process, as complexities can mean it’s not clear-cut. However, this is a strong structure for you to work to:

1. Undertake a needs analysis
Assess the current system with a software provider that takes into account your work needs. What is your current measurement system? Can you clearly answer the question: how do you know your cleaning contractor is doing what they’re paid for? Your provider should be asking you for specific details about the premises so that they help you to get clarity around your needs.

2. Take a look at costs
Assess how much money you will save using the software in-house or using it in tandem with an external cleaning auditing company. How many staff do you have to check up on the cleaning? Many companies offer both. Take a look at how this can save costs and the value pay-off.

3. Have a play with the auditing software
Ask your software provider to let you navigate around their software and assess its usability. Can you see its functions fitting into your needs? Make sure to consider how the software can assist you in managing the cleaning contractor.

4. Create a timetable with your software provider
Talk about the nuts and bolts of the system and decide on a timetable for auditing that meets your needs. How often does auditing need to happen to ensure quality is maintained? There should be a tracking system in place to maintain consistency and all results should be advised to you in real time.

5. Lock in your agreement with the software provider
Your provider should work with you to define the terms of your agreement and give you guidance on how the system can meet your key deliverables. Take a long-term approach on deciding on how long the contract will be.

6. Commit to the new standards and start changing your processes
Making positive changes in your processes is going to take investment but it will be worth the effort. Think about how the software fits into your current process around cleaning reporting and set yourself goals for ensuring it is smooth and integrated.

Ultimately, an auditing software system should create more time for you to focus on your other priorities. Your new software should have the final goal of allowing you to work more proactively on cleaning issues. Which means happier staff, happier public and less stress!

Debbie Stapleton is the director of First Check Auditing, which provides 1st Check auditing software. She has over 20 years of experience in the commercial cleaning industry and facilities management, and has gained an extensive range of experience and industry knowledge through a wide range of contract types and portfolio service requirements.

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