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Using first principles for evaluating cost, sustainability, and effectiveness of outcomes



Often, when a company embarks on a cost-saving drive in the cleaning industry, potential suppliers are contacted and asked to match the products that are currently being used in the cleaning protocols. This is done to benchmark prices and is used to drive prices down


This approach does have challenges:


1. Usually, products that are being compared are not identical with certain features that vary.

2. Often, the current system that has been established is around the products that are currently being used. If that system is kept unchanged, but the products are changed, it is unlikely that the system will have improved and it may even end up costing more leading to frustration from the customer and the new supplier.

3. Often no real improvement will be achieved and business will revert to the status quo.


A first principles approach is often more successful and sustainable. Start by assessing a site and asking questions like:

1. What needs to be achieved? For example, floors need to be cleaned, all hard surfaces need cleaning, and a deep clean is currently required monthly.

2. Do the current products achieve everything required? What are the current challenges in efficacy, ease of use, compliance, health, safety, etc.?

3. Are any of the products over-engineered for the application? For example, is a disinfectant cleaner being used in an area where only cleaning is required and not disinfecting? Are the products that are being used being used at the optimum concentration? If the concentration is too high, there is waste and increased cost and risk. If the concentration is too low, efficacy will not be up to standard.

4. Are the deep cleaning products solving the problems we would like them to solve? If we improve our daily systems, can we reduce the deep clean requirements?

5. Are the correct cleaning utensils being used and maintained correctly? Does the system effectively integrate chemical products and utensils?

6. What is used to monitor outcomes?


Achieving the desired outcome with effective sustainable improvements and cost savings is done by reviewing the system as a whole.

Contact us for more information or assistance.

Tel: +27 11 406 4000


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