First step to saving $ in your Janitorial Services—5-S

First step to saving $ in your Janitorial Services—5-S

In Part 1 of my post, “How to Apply Lean Sigma to Janitorial Services,” we jumped into a plane, climbed up to twenty-thousand feet, opened the door and stuck our heads out. We let the wind slap our cheeks and our hair whip about as we took a high-level view of the differences between “Lean” and “Six Sigma.” This post, Part 2 of “How to Apply Lean Sigma to Janitorial Services” goes beyond and talks about parachuting out of the plane, and landing in the weeds.

The weeds are where Lean Sigma janitorial companies find the details behind implementation.

As we walk through the weeds, we come across a garden. The garden is visually distinct from the weeds we have been walking in. It is laid out in nicely ordered rows of mounds and valleys. The crops are organized into groups along the orderly rows. That visual brings us to the detail and subject of this post. The garden represents a visual “lean” system called 5S.

5S stands for Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain.  5S is a visual system that transforms the workspace so that anyone can tell at a glance that everything is right. 5S helps you create a culture of productivity with the host of facilities maintenance companies that service your facilities.

I always recommend 5S as the starting point for transforming a facility’s janitorial cleaning services into a lean operation. Why? 5S facilitates a culture of cleanliness, organization, safety and productivity (all in one breath!)  It is the foundation of discipline needed for better facility service, and it is the foundation for more disciplined actions required for Lean Sigma implementation.

I have never forgotten a simple success formula Jim Collins described in his book, Good to Great.
That formula is:

Disciplined People + Disciplined Thought + Disciplined Actions = Breakthrough Success

5S is one of those disciplined thoughts, that disciplined facility and property managers act on. It lays the foundation for a culture of continuous improvement fueled by discipline. It follows the law of the harvest—“You reap what you sow!” If you sow a disciplined culture, you will get the breakthrough results that only disciplined people achieve.

I recommend your first implementation of 5S be the janitorial closet. Work with your janitorial service company to 5S the closet. Once the closet is sorted, set in order, shined, standardized and sustained, the closet will become the heart of the cleaning system for your facility. If the heart isn’t healthy, you will know there are most likely other problems with the commercial cleaning service. For if the cleaning company cannot even put a vacuum back in its designed place, will they follow the cleaning specifications for the rest of the facility?

Here is sample of a 5S standard I designed for our cleaning system called JanOPS.

(Click image to view larger)
Varsity Facility Services Closet Standards

The images below show a before and after 5S project. The “before” shots show how the incumbent  janitorial cleaning service cared for the janitorial closet. The “after” shot was the result of 5S.

(click image to view larger)

I wrote a case study on this very project that you can download here.

5S is an excellent way to set your janitorial services apart from the weeds. Beginning your Lean Sigma journey with 5S will help you get quick success with your Lean Sigma Janitorial. Here are some of the immediate benefits you will gain:

  • More efficient cleaners: Less wasted time as cleaning tools, supplies and equipment are accessible and orderly. Cleaners need less time get to their tasks.
  • Safer work environments: When a work area is clean and orderly, slip and fall and tripping hazards are eliminated.
  • Less space: 5S eliminates unneeded tools and equipment requiring less space.
  • Improved self-discipline. Your janitorial cleaning services will improved their discipline. Because 5S is so visual, it makes nonstandard conditions pop out making ignoring the standard more difficult.
  • Longer lasting assets: Because equipment is cleaned and maintained as part of the 5S standard, the equipment your commercial cleaning company uses will last longer reducing price increases over the life of the contract.


Marc Collings

Senior VP of Sales and Marketing at Varsity Facility Services
Marc Collings is Varsity's Vice President of Marketing for Varsity Facility Services. Marc oversees the company's growth, branding, positioning, customer support and analytics. In this role, he has positioned the company as a customer solutions leader for lowering cost and improving quality. He also led the company-wide rebranding and strategically positioned the company as a sustainability leader, serving on a committee for the EPA, obtaining the Ashkin Group award for sustainable leadership, leading Varsity's CIMS Green Building certification with honors, and developing Varsity's S.H.A.P.E. sustainability strategy, which improves service results along five dimensions: Safety, Health, Asset Preservation, Productivity and the Environment.

In 2011, Marc's team won the large company category, "Best in the Industry" marketing materials from the Building Service Contractor Association International (BSCAI). Marc also directs Varsity's proposal writing, sales process and tools development, marketing campaigns, corporate website SEO performance and customer support center.

Marc has spent his career developing strategic capabilities that enhance value to customers and the company. A Lean Sigma Green belt himself, he developed the company's Lean Sigma offering, providing an innovative solution to customers' need to lower cost while raising quality. He led the development of JanOPS, an industry-leading janitorial operating system, which brings standardization and service consistency to large campus and geographically disperse national accounts.

Prior to this position, Marc was responsible for strategic management at Varsity. He has initiated or directed multiple strategic technology initiatives, ranging from a corporate website, a corporate intranet, a web/smartphone based quality control system, a learning management system, a corporate content manager and knowledge wiki, deployment and customization, and an Android app which facilitates the GROW sales process he has developed.

Marc is the author of several leadership and management training manuals, field guides, marketing collateral and case studies. He speaks Portuguese and Spanish and holds a bachelor degree in English/Technical Writing and a Masters of Business Administration in Finance from Idaho State University. Marc enjoys mountain biking, skiing, fishing and golf. He is happily married, and he and his wife Victoria enjoy raising and spending time with their four children.

Latest posts by Marc Collings (see all)

Tagged with
National Janitorial Company Awards and Affiliations Varsity Facility Services

Contact Us
1055 South 3600 West | Salt Lake City, UT 84104

Copyright© 2018 Varsity Facility Services, a KBS CompanyVarsity Facility Services Tech SupportVarsity Facility Services Samsung Support