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Invest for long-term success: choosing the right workforce management solution for the cleaning sector

Workforce Management systems deliver business benefits to cleaning contractors beyond traditional time and attendance applications. But choosing the right system in a market saturated with solutions isn’t easy. Christian Berenger, Operations Director at Vanquish Integrated People Solutions offers his advice and recommendations.

 “Cleaning is all about knowing your contracts. But gaining this knowledge is impossible if you don’t manage those responsible for your service delivery; your staff.”

Most contractors have some form of system in place to record staff time on client sites. But as the cleaning industry has evolved, Berenger says traditional workforce management solutions will no longer cut it.

The right solution for the cleaning industry

When considering investing in a system, Berenger says contractors should opt for a system that has been developed with a firm understanding of the cleaning industry and the challenges facing managers.

“The cleaning industry is unique in the fact that your workforce ‘is’ your business, it’s contracted out and needs to be managed in a totally different way to other industries. They not only impact your service delivery but are your largest controllable expense and need to be managed with one eye at all times on your contract performance.

“Workforce management systems built specifically for the industry take this into account. They go beyond traditional proof of attendance and provide contractors with a contract perspective of their business so they can drive profitability, customer satisfaction and employee engagement.”

“The great thing about these systems is that all activities and variances relating to attendance, staff rosters, payroll, absences and holiday entitlements can be administered from a contractual point of view, allowing managers to consistently meet their requirements and gain a real-time insight into the cost of delivering each contract.

“With complete control of their contracts, contractors are better placed to allocate the right number of hours and the right skilled workers needed to fulfil contracts to strict budgets, invoice clients correctly and utilise this knowledge to cost out more profitable contracts with the knowledge that their margin is protected.”

As well as offering a contract perspective of the business, Berenger says that because these systems have been developed in close collaboration with cleaning contractors, many have in-built features to help cope with the idiosyncrasies of the industry and reduce administration time.

“The best systems have features to simplify the management of multi-tenancy buildings, allow you to develop ‘Teams’ to streamline the creation of staff rosters and support ‘Assumed Hours’ for fast administration.”

Meanwhile seamless integration with Payroll and Invoicing packages helps reduce administration time and means errors caused by miscalculations are eradicated.

Leasing options

Of course any investment boils down to price. But, with most vendors offering competitive leasing options, workforce management is more affordable than ever.

“With most contractors operating a fortnightly or four-weekly payroll, leasing a system allows them to protect their cashflow whilst continuing to benefit from the cost savings and efficiency gains.”

“It may take two or three years to pay for itself but the long term benefits are worth it and will be felt directly on the bottom line.”

Innovative service delivery

The cleaning industry has reached a tipping point with Berenger believing contractors risk losing their competitive edge if they don’t have knowledge of their business.

He says mid-sized contractors could benefit most from embracing workforce management technology as they look to differentiate and innovate their service delivery to compete with larger contractors.

“If contractors want to develop their business and grow they must embrace innovation to take control of their costs. Buyers have become more professional and quite rightly want to know that they are receiving value for money.

“It is now down to contractors to meet these demands head on and utilise workforce management technology to help build and sustain long-term business relationships.”
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