In the last article we talked about how you can improve your university’s custodial operations by engaging your equipment and supplies vendor. Most likely, some of you objected to that advice, citing the fact that vendors cannot be trusted as unbiased, objective third parties. And you’d be absolutely correct. It’s essential to leverage the value of your equipment and supplies vendor – their training, their experience in a variety of facilities, and manufacturer support – but it’s equally important to have a clear picture of their limitations.
Vendors don’t have a background in the management of a large custodial department. Unlike you, vendors are not immersed in the day-in-and-day-out details required to maintain a functioning facility at a college or university. In particular, they have no experience in managing labor. What they do have are formulas which, although valuable, do not always translate to your custodial department.
The other limitation is more apparent but worth repeating: vendors cannot be objective. The main objective of a vendor is to sell you custodial supplies and equipment. No matter how fair or honest a vendor tries to be, his solutions will always be tied to his products. This doesn’t have to be deal breaker, but it’s a fact that’s best not forgotten.
Stay tuned: next time we’ll wrap up our series on benchmarking for in-house custodial organizations at colleges & universities. We’ll take all the different strategies we discussed in previous articles and tie them all together to give your in-house custodial department an edge against the outsource option!