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Custodial Supplies Procurement Transition

The Portolan Group, Inc.

 

Portolan Associates is the premier provider of consulting services in the K-12 custodial service industry.  We have worked with and assessed/improved the services for virtually every type of custodial service used in school district and collegiate operations.  We have no relationship with any company providing custodial services to any school, district or college.  We are completely un-biased in our assessments and recommendations for improvement.  Below are guidelines for custodial supplies and equipment procurement.

Many school districts are using products (chemicals, tools and equipment) that are purchased from too many sources. When products are purchased in this way, they do not always work well together. For example, a floor finish remover (floor stripper) from manufacturer A does not do a good job of removing the floor finish from manufacturer B. That is because the two products were not designed and tested together. These products should be purchased from the same manufacturer whenever possible. Check with your procurement department to determine how many products can be purchased from the same vendor or manufacturer. Below is a sample list of products by category (chemicals, supplies, tools and equipment) that should be purchased to clean a school, district or college. Products that should be purchased from the same manufacturer are listed together. Several manufacturers are listed in Bold. These manufacturers are not endorsed in anyway by The Portolan Group. They are  industry leading manufacturers that have consistently provided quality products. A good industry association that can provide more manufacturers is www.ISSA.com.

 Chemicals

  • Floor finish, floor stripper, gloss restorer, neutral floor cleaner, de-foamer (NCL, Johnson Diversey, Buckeye, Spartan, 3-M, Eco-Lab)
  • Carpet extractor shampoo, carpet shampoo-rotary, de-foamer (NCL, Johnson Diversey, Buckeye, Spartan, 3-M, Eco-Lab)
  • All purpose cleaner (NCL, Johnson Diversey, Buckeye, Spartan, 3-M, Eco-Lab)
  • Bathroom disinfectant (check with local agencies to determine what type of disinfectant is allowed/required such as a germicidal, virucidal, quaternary or phenolics based, etc.) (NCL, Johnson Diversey, Buckeye, Spartan, 3-M, Eco-Lab)
  • Window cleaner (NCL, Johnson Diversey, Buckeye, Spartan, 3-M, Eco-Lab)

Chemicals should be mixed using dispensers provided by the manufacturer. This will ensure the chemicals are mixed properly and safely.

 

Supplies

  • Toilet paper, paper towels (use jumbo rolls whenever possible-more paper for less cost) (most manufacturers provide specific dispensers for these paper products. Bobrick Stainless steel dispensers help reduce vandalism.) (Kimberly Clark, Georgia-Pacific)
  • Hand soap, hand sanitizer (should be cartridge based, not fill based) (most manufacturers provide specific dispensers for these products. Bobrick Stainless steel dispensers help reduce vandalism.)
  • Garbage bags (for large cans...approx. 33 gallon), trash bags (for small cans...approx. 8-10 gallon)

Tools

  • Mopping system (can include flat micro-fiber mops special heads for flat mops, handles, buckets mostly for general floor cleaning and bathroom disinfecting) examples are Kai-Motion from Kaivac and Unger mopping systems
  • Floor finish application system (examples are Ultra-Track from Fast-Track or and Kai-Motion from Kaivac)
  • Dusters such as micro-fiber or disposable dusters such as Swiffer
  • Cleaning rags (micro-fiber or disposable)
  • Disposable gloves
  • Bodily fluid clean-up kits
  • Wet floor signs
  • Dust mops, push brooms, lobby pans, lobby brooms

Equipment

  • Auto-floor scrubber (20 and 28 inch) (Windsor, Clarke, Advance)
  • Propane powered floor stripper (check with local agency for safety regulations when using propane powered equipment indoors) (Windsor, Clarke)
  • Propane powered floor burnisher (check with local agency for safety regulations when using propane powered equipment indoors) (Windsor, Clarke)
  • Battery powered burnisher (can be used in place of propane powered burnisher, but not as effective) (Windsor, Clarke, Advance)
  • Carpet extractor (20 and 28 inch) (Windsor, Clarke, Advance)
  • Rotary scrubber/shampooer (16 and 20 inch) (Windsor, Clarke, Advance)
  • Baseboard scrubber
  • Pressure cleaner (1500 to 2000 psi for outside cleaning)
  • Bathroom pressure cleaner (up to 400 psi max) examples are Kaivac, Windsor, Advance)
  • Leaf blower/with vacuum attachment (gas or battery powered) (Ryobi, Homelite)
  • Ladders
  • Hydraulic lift (Genie)

 When researching which products to use and to ultimately have placed on a bid to purchase under contract, you should have the products tested by your custodians. These tests should be at no cost to the district and should be performed over a period of time at the custodians location. Several questions that should be asked to evaluate the products are:

  1. How easy were the directions on the product to understand?                                      
  2. How easy was the product to set up and clean up?                                                          
  3. How easy was it to use the product?                                                                                  
  4. How well did the product perform the specified function?
  5. How well did the product perform in tough situations?                                                      
  6. How easy was it to assemble, mix, change parts, etc..
  7. Did the product meet or exceed the performance of what is currently in stock / being used?

Once the list of products are determined, they need to be placed in a bid. The bid should include specifications that are detailed enough to ensure they perform at a high level, but broad enough to ensure several manufacturers can bid. The specifications should also include mandatory training from the manufacturer or a qualified representative. This will ensure your custodians are trained to use these products correctly and safely.

Delivery of the products should be “just-in-time” or “drop-shipped”. This means the products are delivered to the schools directly from the vendors. This reduces the amount of district storage, inventory, overhead costs and delivery personnel needed.

Costs and usage of the products should be monitored at costs per square foot and per student. Several costs can be determined by dividing the cost per ounce (chemicals), per roll (of toilet tissue), per case (of paper towels), etc.

                                                                                   

Following these guidelines will help with transitioning to a more unified procurement and use of custodial products.

Portolan Associates, Inc is the nation’s premier provider of school district custodial operations consulting.  Please feel free to contact us at 1-706-569-9669.

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