Eight questions your cleaning supplies partner should be asking. Part 2.


Cleaning supplies should never be overlooked when it comes to improving procurement strategy. A big step in finding the right supply chain partner in this, as much as any other, category lies in whether or not cleaning supplies providers are proactively asking the right questions from the start.

In Part Two of our look at the eight questions that cleaning suppliers should ask, here are four equally important enquiries that the right providers should make:

Where/how are you spending your cleaning budget?

Making savings and improving value means getting to the nitty gritty. It isn’t unheard of for procurement teams to have limited knowledge about the cleaning products their organisation is using, or to lack detail on how the cleaning budget is being spent beyond a certain brand name or cost basis.

Decisions on cleaning supplies are all too often made on cost, without understanding specifics that, once uncovered, could point procurement in a much more beneficial direction. Getting to grips with your cleaning spend means understanding what you’re buying and for what purpose.

Can we speak to end users?

When it comes to extracting value from cleaning supplies, it isn’t about job titles. Lots of people at all levels are integral to the chain and if end users aren’t consulted and made a key part from the start, the transition won’t be so successful.

Cleaning suppliers should be looking to walk in the shoes of every product user connected to the business. If two bottles of a lower cost cleaning fluid are used as quickly as one that is a little more expensive but lasts longer, then the supplier’s time with users will soon uncover issues like this and help to point to where real value may lie.

Finding out what users do each day, what products they use and why, what they might prefer to use, what they need to achieve, how much of each product they think they need and the solution to delivering best value, are all linked.

Consulting users also helps to ultimately alleviate pressure on buyers, who can get noise from disgruntled users at the end of a buying decision. Involving end users means getting things right from the start and minimising the challenges of an unpopular buying decision.

Do you have un-used cleaning supplies?

Familiarity, perception and habit mean buyers can resort to the same products, brand names and suppliers, time and again, without considering whether these really are the best solution. However, if products are not working for users, they may be lying in storage somewhere, untouched.

Where product is kept, how quickly it’s used and what, if any, is left over is all vital knowledge. Un-used cleaning supplies are your worst enemy, because they reduce any value that you may have otherwise gained from a cleaning supplies contract.

When are your people available for training?

90% of cleaning supplies value is inextricably linked to your people. If they aren’t using the products properly you will not be achieving value. Good suppliers will be looking to help you with a development plan to up-skill your people and ensure best practice.

Users can be resistant to change. They may be familiar with certain products, even if they aren’t in reality doing the best job. Moving them onto products that will help them do their work more easily and save the organisation time and money can require training. Your supply chain partners should be helping you with this.

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