Category: Facility Services

Building System Performance Begins with a Robust Maintenance Program

Periodic inspection programs are a key component of the maintenance systems embraced at The Service Companies (TSC). Inspecting operating equipment and control systems periodically is key to longevity and reliability for any mechanical system associated with tenant comfort and property efficiency. As one of the largest investments an owner makes in a facility, tenant comfort systems are a critical component in customer satisfaction. TSC embraces and implements a program custom-designed for each of our client’s unique needs.

Our goal is to identify and correct small problems before they become critical issues affecting the quiet enjoyment of the space our clients’ tenants or clients are entitled to. We aim to be in front of the problem – always – which enables our clients to avoid operational interruptions or tenant discomfort and ensure a smooth and problem-free delivery.

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We achieve this with our preventive maintenance (PM) protocols, planned maintenance and condition based maintenance procedures, which anticipate the needs of the operating equipment and identify issues before they can adversely affect the normal delivery of comfort services at any of our clients’ properties. Included in our maintenance and inspection procedures are preventive maintenance tasks at specified periods which may include, but are not limited to oil changes, lubrication, minor adjustments, filter changes, motor overhauls, control calibrations, etc. Results are then documented in a formal maintenance program so we can track and forecast equipment deterioration and machinery failure before they occur.

In addition to ensuring reliability, extending equipment life cycles, reducing/eliminating unplanned breakdowns and ensuring overall tenant comfort, our PM program maximizes operational savings for our clients.

Our programs are designed around the avoidance of unplanned breakdowns and repairs whenever possible and to maintain our client’s equipment in optimum operating condition. Our custom programs include periodic non-destructive tests, measurements, adjustments, parts replacement and cleaning.

To learn how we may be able to improve the overall performance of your mechanical systems, contact our engineering experts today.

Safely and Effectively Managing Chemicals Within a Public Facility

Many people have become much more aware of cleaning chemicals, disinfectants and cleaning processes these days. Previously the price point or a fresh scent may have intrigued your interest though now you may realize other chemical factors are so critical in disease prevention in the workplace and at home. 

During my time in the hospitality industry I have been able to find great ways to effectively manage chemical processes and procedures. Here are some practices that hopefully can assist within your facility, home office and everyday housecleaning. 

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1. Have a strict policy in place on what chemicals are allowed within your facility. This begins by collaborating with your management, front line operators, procurement staff and vendors.  The majority of time your hotel and facility managers have the knowledge needed to make smart choices based on hands-on experience, as well as guest and client feedback.  Once you have established chemical products, clearly communicate this information with all associates handling them at any given time. A good practice is to post approved cleaning chemicals including, areas of application, manufacturer’s instructions, safety tips and PPE needed for each. 

In addition, read the fine print of your vendor agreements to ensure there are absolutely no chemical substitutions. If there are delays for any reason, they must obtain written approval before sending anything else.  Also, have your receiving and storeroom attendants well-informed on carefully verifying incoming deliveries.

2. Test various products before making a decision and exercise this process when considering a product change. New formulations are coming out all the time and I anticipate this will be happening more often moving forward. As a start, the Environmental Protection Agency has a registered product listing that meet various virus claims. This list is very fluid so continue to monitor updates. For those in the hospitality industry, our chemical vendor partners should have the most up-to-date resources for their product line. Continue to meet with them on a regular basis to find the best fit for your property’s needs.

3. Be a smart shopper looking at every factor impacting your overall labor cost.  Not every spray bottle is created equal. For example, comparisons should take into account everything from first application of the chemical to the finished result. We hear quite a bit about contact “dwell” time.  Associates must understand how long the particular chemical in use must stay wet to be effective, the proper “kill time”, and that it is not a quick spray and wipe. Evaluate and equate what timing looks like as well as other factors to account for such as; safety and environmental considerations to be aware of, required specialized training and PPE, bottles, supplies and mode of delivery.  

4. Along with finding the right chemical, thorough associate training must be conducted before anyone works independently. At times labeling is very similar if buying from the same manufacturer so it is important to retrain all staff during any chemical change period to review specific manufacturer directions and changes in PPE. This is a time when having the right chemical vendor partner that supports the training process is important

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5. Another important tip is checking accuracy of dilutions. Many times facilities prefer concentrated options versus ready-to-use bottles which can reduce costs for yourself and business partners. I am an advocate as well though always train property managers to never put chemistry in the hands of our associates. No matter how skilled and experienced in handling cleaning chemicals, manual pours and mixing is not an option.  It is important to install dispensing stations wherever possible keeping dilutions at a safe and effective level. Ideally your chemical vendor will visit on a regular basis to verify everything is mixing and working as efficiently as possible, keeping your facility in pristine condition. 

Difficult circumstances, like those we are all currently experiencing, can provide an opportunity for a company’s leaders to take a step back, sharpen their skills and return with a higher quality and safer approach to products and services within their organization. If you have any tips of your own, share them in the comments section below.

Project Ideas for Your Engineering Teams During the Pandemic

With many public facilities closed or open on a reduced schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic, the limited foot traffic and isolation period provide an opportunity for engineering and facilities teams to work on back of house and certain common area projects that normally require planning and scheduling due to tenant traffic. Our engineering team serving commercial and residential properties in Southern California has been doing just this. While these projects minimize our employees’ exposure to common area spaces, tenants and guests of the building, they are crucial to our engineering team’s role: protecting our client’s assets and overseeing the mechanical systems during operating hours.

Our Engineering Services team in Southern California compiled a list of projects that your engineering or facility teams can address during the next few weeks or months:

  • Detail the onsite fire pump room and equipment
  • Roof and roof drain cleaning
  • AHU plenum and duct cleaning
  • Coil sterilization
  • Ladder and tool inventory updates
  • Curb painting
  • Parking areas maintenance
  • Generator cleaning and painting
  • Address stairwells and certain common areas that typically require planning and scheduling

How are your engineering or facilities teams addressing your assets and projects during this unprecedented time? Leave a comment below.

Our Top Picks from the ISSA Show North America

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Several of our leaders had the opportunity to attend the cleaning industry’s most important event of the year – ISSA Show North America – where top manufacturers and suppliers showcase innovations. Holly Borrego (Regional Vice President of Operations – West), Jimmy Rakowski (Area Vice President of Operations), Ana Rodriguez (Director of Continuous Improvement) and Alan Ching (Director of Operations) walked, tested and brought back some of their top picks from the ISSA Show:

  1. Karcher/Brain Corporation Robotic Chariot iVac – Due out in the spring, this is one of the pieces of equipment we are most excited to see in the field.
  2. Karcher MC-130 plus Sweeper – used for large scale commercial cleaning of parking lots and such, these machines cover 2000 square yards in an hour!
  3. Zan Compute’s Zanitor – A smart facility AI platform for smart  washrooms with advanced sensing and machine learning. Our partnership with Zan Compute enables us to offer this service to our customers on a complimentary basis.
  4. 3M water-based stainless steel cleaner – Not only is this cleaner food safe, most importantly it contains no oil and contains Scotchguard to protect the surface from fingerprints after cleaning.
  5. Space Vac carbon fiber poles – Extending to allow cleaning up to 30 feet in the air without a lift! Space Vac’s kit can attach to a shop vacuum if you choose to buy only the attachments. As you can see, the Space Vac attachments are extremely lightweight.
  6. Makita back-pack vacuum – Weighing less than 10 lbs., this vacuum has interchangeable batteries for continuous run time.
  7. Purell – Purell’s cleaning products with a 30 sec Norovirus kill time are also food safe.

In addition to scoping out the newest technology, our team took part in various discussions and events that occurred throughout the show. Holly Borrego discussed the impact of automation in the cleaning industry, how it changes your RFP response, and the benefits to the business with Head of Business Strategy at SoftBank Robotics America Kass Dawson at “Rethink Your Cleaning Process from RFP to Confirmed Clean: A Conversation”. The Service Companies was also a proud sponsor of ISSA’s Hygieia Network’s 2019 Awards and Networking Reception, in which Holly Borrego participated as one of the founding members of the organization.  Over 1,000 people attended the event at the Bellagio.

Ana shared what she enjoyed most about the experience:

Overall, becoming more aware of what’s out there and getting to know the people that make a difference in the industry was for me the best part. Getting the face-to-face explanation from these innovative vendors on how their technology works was valuable, especially as we evaluate which technologies to introduce within our properties and accounts.”

Preparing for Hurricane Season

With a large number of our properties in the southeast regions of the United States, preparing for hurricane season is something we take very seriously at The Service Companies. As a business partner to resorts, casinos, hotels and various other facilities at risk of hurricanes and tropical storms, we train and make our associates aware of each property’s emergency plan right from the start.

Storms in these regions are inevitable this time of year, but it is hard to be sure when, and where, a hurricane is going to hit. After experiencing some of the most severe tropical storms and hurricanes, our team knows that the key to ensuring safety on property is to be prepared, and with hurricane warnings coming days in advance, there is some time to prepare your building and guests for the storm ahead.

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Here are some important tips to remember when preparing for a hurricane:

Hurricane season calls for extra support, but staffing may be limited due to road conditions and the need for associates to be with their families. To work around this issue, it helps to have a “Storm Team” in place. This team, comprised of associates from different departments, is given living accommodations on property for the duration of the storm to support efforts.

While you have more manpower several days out, get exterior preparations done early. Anything that is not securely mounted must go indoors. Items such as waste receptacles and exterior furniture need to be moved to a safe location within the garage, storage area or lower level of the building. Balcony tower furniture can be stacked inside of the guest rooms. This also comes in handy for people to rest and ride the storm in the lower level of your property.

Many times, your hotel guests are unable to travel during the storm and must stay on property. If this becomes the case, remember to do the following:

  • Keep guests informed through regular communications. This includes items such as storm updates, evacuation plans and stairwell locations, safe areas to be within the building (i.e. away from windows), available food options and services during this period.
  • If your property rooms have outdoor space, be sure guests know to bring any personal items inside. Before heavier winds approach, take walks around the building to verify all is clear.
  • If you have guests in need of extra care or that use assisted equipment, make sure to make this information known to your team in the case that they need immediate assistance during the storm.
  • Pre-pack emergency kits so they can be delivered and/or available to each guest. Kits should include: bottled water, flashlights, extra linens, paper products, amenities, trash bags, and dry snacks.
  • Have battery sources available to charge devices, as this is a common request when electricity goes out.
  • Organize indoor activities and keep an inventory of games, especially for families with children.

Leaders in Service – Cornel Sneekes

At The Service Companies, we understand that our associates are the key to providing Service. Above All. No matter the level, department or service segment, our dedicated associates allow us to perform at the highest level and cultivate a strong corporate culture. This is why we developed Leaders in Service, a series of interviews recognizing the high-performing associates across our company.

The newest addition to our Leaders in Service series is Senior Vice President, Engineering Services, Cornel Sneekes. Before bringing his engineering expertise to The Service Companies to establish our Engineering Services division, Cornel held key executive positions at ABM, ABLE, ISS and was a co-founder, along with our Chairman & CEO, Mike Latham, of MCR Facility Services (now established as The Service Companies Engineering Services division). Since the start of his career in 1981, Cornel has been responsible for the operation and maintenance of facility systems, staffing, labor relations, contract development and delivery of services for data centers, class “A” high-rise, industrial, hotels, medical, retail and truck route services. Learn more about Cornel and the positive impact he has made on The Service Companies through our Engineering Services division!

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What is your role at The Services Companies? How long have you been with us? 

I am currently the Senior Vice President, Engineering Services, a division of The Service Companies. I joined the team in June 2018.

What does your job entail?

As the Senior Vice President, Engineering Services, I am responsible for the delivery of our contractual obligations to customers and expanding our engineering model into different markets across the country. My team and I provide labor, monthly site visits, energy analysis, equipment inspections, preventive maintenance implementation, protection of customer assets and improved ROI on their investments. In addition, I am responsible for the design, development and implementation of custom service delivery models.

What projects have you and your team been working on? 

In my first 12 months my team and I have traveled extensively meeting clients and team members, touring facilities, and introducing our Engineering Services platform to new, existing, and potential customers. We are currently working on a new line of business offerings that will fulfill our main goal of generating value and results for our customers.

Since our Engineering Services division is relatively new, can you tell us what distinguishes our services from other companies that offer engineering services to the facility services and hospitality industries? 

Our greatest differentiator is our ability to adapt and change. We are a group of people that look for continual improvements and out-of-the-box service models that fit the needs of our customers. We accomplish this through the use of technology and strategic partnerships. As a private organization with a senior management team and a board that embraces change, we are not held back by the decision-making processes or “tunnel vision” approaches. This allows us to focus on how to best service and meet the needs of our clients and employees. Change is embraced, communication is valued and employee involvement is treasured.

What do you love most about your position? 

I love the positive effect our team and services have on our customers and their facilities. Creating long-term relationships with these clients, who become friends, is very special. I also enjoy helping my employees see their potential and achieve their personal goals. Having the ability to guide my team members to self-improvement through training, continuing education and working hands-on at the job site brings me a lot of satisfaction. Finding new ways to drive value, improve job site experiences and motivate employees to become their best self brings its own rewards.

How do you stay motivated and how do you motivate your team? 

Identifying opportunities for process improvement is hard work that brings many challenges, but having the ability to work with employees at different locations keeps me motivated. The people we have in this company, and their desire to be the best in what they do, drives me to excel in my areas of responsibility.

As for my team, I keep them motivated by proving a positive work environment and ensuring that they feel valued. Acknowledging a job well done creates an environment where each employee is able to do their best for their co-workers and customers. The challenges that come with the job, paired with defined goals and renewed performance standards, are motivators on their own and keep employees engaged.

Outside of work, how do you spend your time? What are you passionate about and what do you enjoy doing? 

My greatest passion is my family. My wife and I have four children and three grandchildren, who are the greatest joys in our lives. Watching my children become parents and take on the responsibility of raising children is something that has had such a profound effect on my life. When I am not working I enjoy outdoor activities such as golf, tennis, pickle ball and motorcycle riding. I also enjoy traveling, meeting new people, and learning more about other cultures. Finally, I am a sitting board member at PCRF, an organization that is working to find a cure for pediatric cancer.

What has been your biggest accomplishment while working at The Service Companies? 

My biggest accomplishments have been providing a new, positive outlook on how we are moving forward as a company and being part of a team that is committed to providing consistent improvements to the gaming, hospitality and facility services industries.

What advice would you give those looking to join our Engineering Services team? 

Come ready to work and bring your “A game”! The Service Companies is on the path to becoming the best in our fields of expertise and we are looking for dedicated associates that are committed to professionalism and growth. We can promise you a great working experience where you are valued, rewarded and appreciated for all of your efforts.

Contact us for more about The Service Companies’ Engineering Services division.

The Future of Janitorial Services

According to a survey conducted by the IFMA, “poor janitorial service” and a “lack of cleanliness” are among the top three complaints facing facility operations today. These complaints destroy a property’s reputation when shared online and reflect poorly on guest service scores. To combat this issue, managed has resorted to pulling staff from other departments to fulfill the janitorial services needs of the property. This process is only a short-term fix, as the redistribution of staff creates a lack of productivity in other departments.

Our team of experts is dedicated to finding the most technologically advanced solution that solves cleaning issues and improves the guest experience. That is why The Service Companies partners with a best-in-class technology provider to offer smart facility solutions to commercial facilities.

What is our smart facility solution?

Through our partnership with a smart technology provider, we offer a facility solution that uses AI to automate the janitorial process. We install sensors in strategic areas of the restroom and other public areas. These sensors enable management to monitor the needs and cleanliness level of the space. All without pulling employees from other departments or hiring additional labor.

How does it work?

By installing smart sensors in or around garbage cans, soap dispensers, faucets and more, management is notified when restrooms and public areas need attention. From a dispenser in need of more paper towels to an overflowing toilet that needs immediate attention, smart sensors send real-time notifications to any smart device for a quick resolution.

In addition, we track usage patterns and traffic flow to project the restroom’s busiest times during the day. This allows management to staff for the need and create an accurate cleaning schedule. Because supplies get replenished when needed, it also saves costs by reducing waste.

What are the benefits?

Implementing our smart facility solutions on property will allow you to experience the following long-term savings:

Time – Instead of checking on each restroom multiple times per day, you get the what, when and where for each janitorial issue that may arise. This allows employees to spend their time attending to other problem areas on property.

Resources – Smart sensors monitor each trash container, toilet paper, soap and paper towel dispenser, and faucet to ensure employees replenish water and hygiene products only when needed.

Money – The more resources you save, the more money you save! Smart sensors eliminate the need to pay associates overtime for spending unnecessary hours patrolling the restrooms areas. They also eliminate the need to hire additional labor to attend to the restrooms.

Status – Negative guest service scores and bad online reviews can be a thing of the past. Notifications from the smart sensors will allow your team to tend to any janitorial issues right after they occur. This leaves your facility in prime condition throughout the day.

To learn more about our smart facility solution and janitorial services, contact us today!

Why Preventive Maintenance Strategies Create Value

At The Service Companies, our engineering team strives to be at the forefront of the facility maintenance and operational strategies. We invest heavily in software, processes and people to ensure we deliver custom service delivery models to each of our customers. Our team utilizes up-to-date software to plan, document and protect client assets and train associates. We also produce monthly reports on staff performance, equipment and utilities. We build our preventive maintenance plans in a proactive manner with unplanned downtime avoidance at the heart of the program.

Our Approach

The Service Companies’ non-destructive testing methods mimic equipment operating conditions and schedule maintenance based on the collected data. This procedure results in increased:

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Implementation of a preventive maintenance strategy eliminates much of the unplanned maintenance expenditures that are experienced in a “run-to-fail” model. Based on historical data, the initial savings generated by effective preventive/predictive maintenance programs fall into the following areas:

  1. Elimination of unscheduled downtime caused by equipment or system failures
  2. Improved manpower utilization
  3. Increased uptime
  4. Increased useful life of the equipment by 33%

Preventive maintenance is key to the custom service delivery models we develop for each of our customers. For more information about our customized Preventative Maintenance programs, visit our website.

Common Issues We See In Casinos

With over 1.1 million sq. ft. of gaming area under contract and over 15 years of experience providing services to the industry, we understand the unique challenges that commercial and Native American casinos and casino hotels face in their day to day cleaning operations:

  • The struggle to find legal labor due to low unemployment rates, rising wages, and the ongoing “War on Talent”
  • High workers’ compensation and general liability rates/expenditures/exposure
  • Valuable resources are spent managing relationships in union environments
  • Inefficiencies and lack of productivity in non-core departments
  • Maintaining a consistently high quality of service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • High energy usage

These challenges create a large cost burden for casinos, and one option to alleviate these issues is to partner with a well-capitalized service provider (see our previous article on what to take into consideration when selecting a vendor). Our team of seasoned industry experts established a diverse list of services that cater to the common needs of every casino resort.

The Service Companies is the premier provider to the casino industry. We offer managed services, staffing services, specialty services, and engineering services to casino properties across the nation. Backed by a large investment fund, we have the capital to support a casino’s stringent requirements and massive needs and have the years of experience driving productivity and providing solutions that reduce costs and energy.

As part of our commitment to service, our team takes full accountability of recruiting needs, compliance checks, and training to ensure success. To learn more, click on the links to our services above, or contact one of our industry experts at https://www.theservicecompanies.com/contact/.

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