Top 4 Commercial Carpet Cleaning Mistakes Companies Make

Whether you have your own in-house cleaning team or you outsource, everyone’s prone to mistakes. They happen even to the best of commercial cleaning teams.

What mistakes could yours make, or maybe have you already made, that need tidying up?

Here’s a few possibilities:

  • Using Hot Water Extraction to Clean Your Carpets

Some commercial cleaning managers still believe this is the best way to clean a carpet. About 2-3% of the time it is, but that’s about it. You can get away with cleaning your carpets using high-volume extractors all the time.

What happens when you use hot water extraction? Your carpet could take longer than 4 hours to dry. This actually leads to the growth of more allergens and other microbes that result in nasty odors.

If your carpet stays wet for more than 24 hours, you risk damaging the carpet.

  • Using Chemicals that Can Damage Your Carpet

You should always test the chemicals you use to clean your carpet first, and especially so if you purchase from a local distributor. They don’t always have the time to test every cleaning chemical on the specific equipment you use, or to check what long-term effects the cleaning chemical has on your carpet.

While this happens more frequently with resource-strapped local distributors, you should also check when purchasing from larger ones.

  • Cleaning Your Carpet Too Often

It’s not always clear how often you should clean your carpet. Should you wait until you can see your carpet is dirty? Do you clean the whole carpet when there’s one stain bugging you? Should you have a weekly carpet cleaning just to keep it in good order all the time?

There’s no straightforward answer to these questions. The frequency of commercial carpet cleaning depends on:

  • How you use your facility and the carpeted services
  • How much foot traffic your carpet gets
  • The type of carpeting

You can clean your carpet too much. That can lead to damage, like frayed material.

  • Not Spot-Cleaning Using the Correct Solution

When you have a stain you need to remove, it’s tempting to think you need to scrub really hard to make it disappear. That may be true.

However, you can scrub too hard and for too long. When that happens, you’re likely not using the correct cleaning agent. This can lead to frayed carpet fibers, which causes even more dirt to be trapped on that spot again in the future.

Commercial carpet cleaning isn’t always as easy and straightforward as it seems. But with the right product and knowledge, you can do it correct every time.

Difficulty keeping your carpet clean without causing more damage? Call Pollock at 855.239.5153 today.

Why Ecolab’s Products and Services Rock the Competition

Ecolab’s products and water, hygiene, and energy technology and services are the best – bar none. They deliver on-site service to help your company keep your food safe, maintain a clean operating environment, and optimize your use of energy and water.

And to top it off, all of Ecolab’s products and services are extremely friendly to the environment also. Some customers believe that eco-friendly products aren’t necessarily the most effective, but that isn’t true. Ecolab works hard with its own internal scientists, sales, and service teams to find new and effective solutions to help you improve your operations and impact the environment positively at the same time.

Learn more about some of Ecolab’s top products and what makes them so unique:

  • Apex for Warewashing

Ecolab actually created the top-selling warewashing product in 1981 – Solid Power. In 2008, Ecolab’s Apex has become the new leader in warewashing. Apex is much more than several detergents for warewashing.

It’s actually an entire program. Apex can notify you when procedures aren’t being followed, make your warewashing processes simpler and safer, and as you’d expect, reduce your environmental impact.

You’ll learn how to use less plastic packaging, the total cost of your warewashing program, and precise machine metrics, among much more.

  • DryExx Pro Helps You Conserve Up to 97% of Your Water and Improve Cleanliness

It can be difficult to get dry lubrication of conveyor lines to perform as well as you’d like. You can still experience microbial growth, which requires frequent cleaning to stop.

Though its name is DryExx, the product works as both a dry and wet lubricant. You can use it diluted with water or completely undiluted.

DryExx keeps lubricated parts looking and smelling clean. But since it doesn’t require water, it eliminates any usage of it whatsoever (unless you absolutely need to use water).

This clearly reduces your environmental impact. It also reduces your costs. And when you use dry lubrication, this results in drier floors, which reduces the chances of worker slips and falls.

  • Ecosure Keeps Your Food Safe

Customized and comprehensive onsite evaluations and training help you keep your food safety standards high. This protects your brand’s reputation so you don’t encounter PR disasters you may have heard other companies experience.

Using their CORE (Comprehensive Onsite Risk Evaluation) food safety program, they identify all the food safety risks you have and give you greater visibility into your operations. Ecolab also shows you how to build awareness of this with your employees – and how to get them to change their behavior.

You don’t just get a plan. You actually have an active, thriving company culture that promotes food safety.

And that’s why Ecolab’s products and services stand out above the rest. It’s also why we carry and strongly recommend Ecolab.

There’s just no doubt about the results you get.

How to Relieve 4 Common E-Commerce Customer Service Bottlenecks

With e-commerce continuing to explode in popularity, you’re going to face customer service challenges also. But, you don’t need to let your customer service fall in quality, like your competitors might.

What should you watch for? Keep your eye on the below:

  • Front-Line Employees Without Decision-Making Power

We can’t tell you exactly what power your customer service team needs. Every business is unique.

However, your front-line employees need some level of power to help customers on the spot. For example, Ritz-Carlton gives employees a $2,000 budget to make any single guest satisfied.

You don’t have to do exactly the same. But your customer service team needs the ability to resolve many simple issues to make customers not just satisfied, but ecstatic.

That also improves your bottom line because fewer issues have to go through management. That takes less of their time. That makes customers happier. And your business keeps a stronger reputation.

  • Maintaining Fast Website Speed During High Traffic Times

Back-to-school is happening right now. Halloween comes soon. And then comes the Thanksgiving to Christmas stretch.

Customers know your website will be busier. But, they don’t want to experience any slower performance than usual.

Put your customers in a good mood when they have to talk to your team by keeping your website running at optimal speed.

  • Do You Have Live Chat Available?

You have associates staffing your physical store, so why would your website be any different?

Customers will always have questions. They’ll always need help. They don’t necessarily want someone in their face offering help every minute.

But they do want at least a box they can quickly find and click to ask and get a question answered. You could also use the opportunity to upsell your customers, when appropriate.

  • Can You Quickly Scale Your Team During Your Busy Season?

The run of holidays from now until Christmas means you’ll need temporary staff to help you out during those times.

What’s your plan for dealing with that? How’s it worked out in the past?

If your process has been less than ideal, have you considered what you could do to make it work better for your business so you deliver better customer service?

When you take the time and invest the budget necessary to improve your customer service, you build more loyalty and longer relationships with your customers. That translates to greater value and increased profits for you.

Working on optimizing your customer service? Call Pollock at 855.239.5153 today.

How to Make Your Pick & Pack Processes More Efficient

Your picking and packing processes have a massive impact on your customers. They get their item in good condition, on time, and they get the right item.

Or, they don’t.

No process is ever perfect. But you may not have the level of accuracy you want. If that’s the case, here’s a few ideas you might take a look at more closely:

  • What Process Do You Use to Pick the Right Pieces?

The simplest form of picking, “Piece Picking,” is when you send a worker to fulfill just a single order. It’s easy and straightforward, but also the least efficient.

With “Batch Picking,” they fulfill several orders at once. “Zone Picking” is even more efficient than both, and is when order pickers each have their own assigned zones. They pick from their zone, and that’s it.

“Wave Picking” is the most efficient human picking method. In this case, employees have zones where they batch pick, fulfilling multiple orders at once.

Automated picking, which is when a conveyor or automated storage brings the order to the picker, is the most efficient. But it’s also quite expensive.

  • Storage Strategies

Do you store your items in the most efficient way possible? Random storage works just like it sounds – you put your products wherever they fit.

Volume-based storage ranks items by demand and stores them closest to packing stations.

With class-based storage, you put items in certain areas based on demand, but then within any open space in that area.

  • Don’t Just Optimize Picking

Coordinating with other teams at your company can be hard. But, it’s necessary if you want to drive the maximum efficiency possible.

Your picking and packing processes must integrate with receiving and shipping. And at an even higher level, these need to work together with your company’s entire supply chain.

Consider how well this works together with your company’s existing culture, and if your company is prepared to deal with all the changes of the newer and more efficient processes you create.

  • Assign Your Items to the Correct Storage Media

Slow moving product shouldn’t be placed in pallets, and fast-moving product shouldn’t go in shelving bins. Measuring how fast product moves from its storage sheds light onto what type of storage it should be placed in.

Since around 50% of wasted time is spent on travel during pick-and-pack processes, this represents an excellent opportunity for time and cost savings.

These are far from all the ways to consider for improving your pick-and-pack process’s efficiency. But, they’re a good start and represent your first opportunities for big wins.

Need to optimize your pick and pack processes? Call Pollock at 855.239.5153 today.

GOJO Pioneers Hand Cleaning and Reduced Employee Sick Days

At first, you may feel tempted to take handwashing not all that seriously. But it is a problematic issue at every organization, and sometimes for the reason just mentioned.

In the medical industry, for example, around 100,000 patients die each year because of infections caused by poor handwashing techniques. Imagine what the numbers could be for work days missed due to your employees simply not washing their hands like they should.

Suddenly, GOJO’s mission doesn’t sound as silly as it first seemed. It’s quite an important one. And besides helping you and your employees stay healthier and be more productive, you could be saving lives. It’s interesting how something so seemingly small and insignificant can have quite a large impact in the world.

Here’s a couple of things about GOJO that you should know:

  • Their Obsessive Dedication to Handwashing and Clean Hands

You just heard a little bit about it. But, let’s go into even further depth. They actually have a whole blog dedicated to handwashing. One of their recent blogs outlines research that shows cool water works as well as hot water for removing germs.

Their blog also reveals their strong stance that handwashing needs to be monitored using automated technology – not just supervisor observation (because it’s relatively ineffective).

Wow!

  • GOJO Makes Purell

You’ve certainly heard of Purell, or you’ve seen the label. You know what it is and what it does. GOJO made the Purell brand officially in 1988. Actually, it had been in the works for decades already because founder Goldie Lippman constantly came home with her hands stuck full of graphite, carbon, and tar from the tire manufacturing plant she worked in during World War II.

Purell became a consumer brand in 1997. And in 2006, GOJO invented the touch-free wall and counter-mount dispensers you’ve likely used many times since.

In 2010, Purell took even another step forward by becoming the world’s first green certified hand sanitizer, according to Ecologo. The hand sanitizer is now made with naturally renewable ethanol in a readily biodegradable formula. To top it off, Purell also meets USDA’s BioPreferred program for biobased content. And it’s actually a part of a portfolio of GOJO Green Hygiene Solutions.

You just can’t beat GOJO’s Purell in terms of performance and environmental friendliness. And that’s why you’ll find it when you choose Pollock.

5 Top 2017 E-Commerce Trends

What are consumers doing online? What do they struggle with? What do they like?

You know e-commerce changes rapidly. So what are consumers thinking right now?

Find out some of the strongest e-commerce trends below:

  • Missed Mobile Sales May Be Your Greatest Opportunity

Is your website optimized for mobile users? As you know, they account for most traffic and online browsing. Wolfgang Digital found about 59% of all sessions on e-commerce sites happen through mobile devices.

They analyzed more than 80 million website sessions and $299.64 million in revenue to make their findings.

…And even though mobile accounts for most traffic, it makes up just 38% of revenue. This trend actually grew as the cost of the purchase increased.

Wolfgang Digital found that truly, people do their research on smartphones and make their purchases on desktop. So, you must provide an experience that keeps them engaged across multiple devices.

  • Special Day Discounts Are Coming to An End

Big holidays like Black Friday or Cyber Monday are actually coming to an end. So many discounts are available that consumers are used to always having a way to save.

So, just a single day is no longer enough. Shoppers are beginning to expect you to have sales available for a whole month (Cyber November, for example).

  • Personalization of the Shopping Experience

Will this trend ever stop being a trend? Personalization is hard to do because it requires an intimate understanding of your customers and how they shop.

At a very simple level, your website might have a “People who bought this also bought…” once they add an item to their shopping cart. Depending on your business, you might also personalize based on geography, market trends, or your shopper’s demographic.

  • Same-Day Delivery

Amazon has deliveries down to 2 days. But they don’t have it down to same-day delivery (yet).

How fast can you deliver to your customer? You shouldn’t rest until you can do it same-day.

  • Do You Integrate AI into Your Marketing?

Have you ever seen those ads that “follow” you around the web? Have you ever noticed where you see the same one for a product you already purchased?

AI may put an end to that this year. With AI integrated into your marketing, your e-commerce site will learn exactly what makes each customer type tick. Then, they’ll get a message that resonates with them perfectly.

There’s many more trends than these. But we’re confident these will play a big role in e-commerce in 2017 and beyond.

Want to improve the sales you get from your e-commerce? Call Pollock at 855.239.5153 today.

How Do You Evaluate the Quality of Your Supply Vendors?

No successful business gets that way on its own – especially the bigger companies. You need help from vendors who can offer supplies and services that you don’t have expertise in.

How do you choose the best vendors for your company? In some cases, they’ll have national reputations that make them obvious choices. In others, the decision won’t be quite so clear.

And you’ll always want to hold your vendors accountable for their performance. So here’s what you should remember as you evaluate vendors:

  • Establish Your Own Performance Indicators…And Share Them with Your Vendor

Before you evaluate your vendors, you need to determine what criteria they need to meet to help you succeed. Share these established criteria with your vendor so they know you’re holding them accountable. If conflict should arise with your vendor, then you have a written document to refer to so you can settle any disputes.

  • What Will Your Own Evaluation Method Be?

You may have dozens of employees who have contact with your vendor. How will you gather data from them all so you can form an accurate appraisal of your vendor’s performance?

You could also do your own audit based on your previously established criteria. You may email your employees a survey with questions that gather the data you want. You may invite representatives from your vendors to your headquarters to meet with them and do a review.

  • Set a Baseline for When You Choose to Complain to Your Vendor

It makes more sense in business to stick with the same vendors as long as possible. Changing vendors frequently makes your business life stressful and unpredictable.

For your particular vendors, give them praise and constructive criticism on what they’re doing well and what could be done better. If the performance slips to anything bigger than a small matter, then you must have a tough and honest conversation with your vendor.

You’ll have to define what a “small matter” looks like for your company’s department.

  • Give Poor-Performing Vendors a Chance to Fix the Situation

No company’s perfect. And it makes more sense to hold onto your vendors if possible. When you see your relationship heading south because they’re not meeting deadlines, notify your vendor as soon as possible. Call them. Put them on notice. Give them a deadline to fix their actions.

If they don’t meet what you need by your proposed deadline, then you have to cut ties.

Vendor relationships aren’t always easy. But they’ll be much easier to manage when you apply these four points to your evaluation process.

3 Challenges Food Processors Face Transitioning to E-Commerce

The entire food manufacturing industry generates around $760 billion in revenue in the US. And everyone’s shaking now that Amazon has officially acquired Whole Foods.

Amazon doesn’t dominate the food and beverage e-commerce market…yet. So the whole industry’s holding its breath to see what Amazon does next.

You may be considering the transition to e-commerce. Or maybe you’re in the middle of it and struggling with some stumbling blocks.

It’s not easy. Food processors and manufacturers are still relatively new to e-commerce. So they’re all still trying to figure out how to transition, and make the most of it.
Here’s some common challenges. You may face them right now…or you may see them lying just ahead:

When to Make the Transition

In general, the consumer market expects to be able to get what they want when they want it, delivered the way they want, and at the price they want. The company who meets these demands wins the business.

Long-term relationships with businesses are no longer important. The time to make the transition is as soon as possible.

Which E-Commerce Platform Makes Most Sense?

Leadership needs to take the time to get familiar with what customers want, and which e-commerce platform delivers on those best. Some points to consider include:

  • Whether customers want faster and easier purchasing options
  • If customers prefer to serve themselves, interact with staff, or both
  • If your company operates on a “just-in-time” basis and needs to replenish its own inventory on short notice
  • How quickly your company needs to respond to unexpected competitive challenges

Dealing with Internal Reactions to the Transition

Change always meets at least some resistance. Some of your employees and leadership won’t be thrilled with the idea of integrating e-commerce into your operations.

You can mitigate resistance and build more support by educating your leadership and employees about the benefits of the new e-commerce platform. You may also discuss with them why staying the same and doing nothing threatens your existence. Finally, if your staff has noticed a dip in sales or fewer customers, you can show your lack of e-commerce integration could be a reason why.

Companies That Adapt and Change Thrive

Few people or businesses initially like the idea of change. But, remember, your market determines what happens next. Meet their expectations, or exceed them, and you’ll be just fine. Stay the same while they change, and you’ll fall by the wayside.

If you need help making the transition to e-commerce, contact Pollock at 855.239.5153.

4 Most Frequent Causes of Packaging Inefficiency

You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can judge a product by its package. Or, at least that’s what consumers often do anyway.

Your packaging processes need to be spot-on. If they’re not, you run up your own costs and lose some of your competitive edge to other companies.

The great companies do all the little things right. What do they do in relation to their product packaging?

Here’s what you need to analyze so you don’t fall behind:

Underestimating the Impact of DIM Pricing

Estimates typically find shipping the exact same product using DIM pricing versus traditional weight-based pricing costs you 30% more. There’s many solutions to this problem, although optimizing your packaging could be one of them. You may replace weak, shallow cardboard boxes with stronger corrugated cardboard, for example.

If you don’t have the time, or team, to analyze your packaging, you could always consider looking for outsourced help.

Not Taking the Complexity of Packaging Efficiency Seriously

Packaging products has become almost ridiculously difficult because of the explosive growth in e-commerce. There, you have hundreds of SKUs, even more possible combinations of products, and they have to be matched by a packer to just a few limited box types. That packer, by the way, is under pressure to produce.

Here’s what ends up happening: a large portion of the box volume isn’t used. Your customers receive items that clearly look like they haven’t been cared for. And that reduces the chances they’ll order from you again.

Clearly, this is difficult to optimize on your own.

Not Realizing Market Demand for Sustainable Packages

Consumers are increasing their demand for sustainable products. Petroleum-based packaging like polystyrene is going by the wayside. And this is especially happening because sustainable packaging now has similar costs to petroleum-based packaging.

You can even get better performance in less space with some types of sustainable packaging.

Thinking You’re Operating All Alone

A change in packaging can affect a surprisingly large part of your company. Say you change one product’s packaging. That affects the size and type of carton used for packaging, the amount (and maybe type) of materials used. That also affects how this product stacks on pallets, as well as how it moves throughout the rest of your supply chain. Since this also changes appearance, you may also need to include sales and marketing in the process.

What seems like a simple change may be much more difficult than you realize.

There’s numbers of other problems that cause packaging inefficiency. Call Pollock at 855.239.5153 for solutions to your packaging challenges.

How a Dependable Brand Keeps Your Company Operating Smoothly

Ever hear of this company called “3M?”

Of course you have. They’ve been around since 1902. Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing has not only stayed in business for more than a century, but continues in its position as one of America’s most iconic brands.

They now have a $126 billion market capitalization and $30 billion in revenue to show for it. They do operate somewhat in mining technology, but they’re mostly known for creating indispensable products like Scotch tape and Post-It notes.

3M’s history involves an amazing story of innovation. That’s why they’ve been able to not just hang around for more than a century, but thrive and remain one of the top companies in the US today.

With their quality, reliable business and office supplies (over 55,000 different ones), their customers have been able to keep smooth business operations this whole time. Employees never have to worry about their supplies. They focus on their jobs instead. And they know they’ll always be able to do so.

Pollock Does the Same – And More

We’re not quite as old as 3M, but we’re close. Did you know we were founded in 1918? 2018 marks a full century of reliable service.

Not only do you get the cleaning, packaging, and office supplies you need, but you also have expert industry consultants who do custom consulting for your business. You can get custom consulting for cleaning and maintaining your facility, maximizing the efficiency of your operations, how you package your products, how you manage your office supplies, and much more.

Our distribution centers located in Dallas, Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Wichita Falls, Atlanta, Charlotte, Fresno, and Jamesburg (New Jersey) mean 90% of the country gets supplies in two days or less. Canadian companies are well within our distribution network also.

In business, you know no one succeeds alone. If you tried to do it all by yourself, you’d make many more mistakes, waste money, and spend years figuring your way forward. That’s why it makes sense to have a partner you can rely on. A company who’s been around for a long time, served many industries, and has the knowledge and experience necessary to help you quickly achieve your goals.

In business, it just doesn’t get any better than knowing you can call your vendor and have exactly the solution you want and need every time. And that’s why you should add Pollock to your short list for evaluation today.

What Makes Dart Solo’s Disposable Food Service Supplies So Great

When you consider your food service supplies – wait a minute do you? Or, do you just look at the price?

It’s easy to minimize the quality of food service supplies. That is, until you start to have problems with yours.

Even though many are only one use, they may fall apart before you even get that first use out of them. Or they’re not made right so those who need to use them can’t fit the volume of food or drink they want inside them.

It’s frustrating for your employees and customers when simple things like these go wrong. Because then, they end up with food on their clothes and feeling embarrassed.

Even something small and seemingly insignificant, like your food service supplies, requires help from an excellent food service supply vendor. Dart Solo is just such a company.

Founded in 1937 by William F. Dart, when it started producing plastic key cases and identification tags for the military and children’s toys, Dart has now also acquired the Solo Cup Company (as of 2012), which doubled the size of the overall company to around 15,000 employees.

Why Are Dart Solo’s Food Service Supplies Superior to All Others?

Dart Solo’s key to success has been the fact that it owns the entire production and supply chain. That literally begins with the production of raw materials and ends with the recycling of the used product. This allows Dart Solo great control over costs, quality, and service.

The company also maintains a strong focus on excellence, efficiency, listening, reliability, and service. Today, if you’ve used any single-use cups, dinnerware, cutlery, straws, or deli containers, you’ve likely used one produced by Dart Solo. They’re the leading company when it comes to production of high-quality, single-use food service supplies.

And to top it off, they keep a high focus on their environmental impact. Today, Dart Solo reduces the amount of material needed to manufacture their products. They reuse heat from their cup-making process to heat their own facilities. They use clean scrap to make more of their own products. And the recycled foam from EPS #6 gets sold to manufacturers of picture frames and other consumer household products.

Dart Solo does even more than that, but you can clearly see their strong commitment to environmental health.

Pollock sells Dart Solo products for all of the reasons just discussed. When you purchase single-use food service products from Pollock, you can rest assured you’re getting the best available – without any of the most common problems you could possibly experience.

4 Production Efficiency Problems Manufacturers May Have

How efficient are your team and production processes? Do you use IoT technology to optimize your production efficiency?

No matter how good you are, you could likely do something to improve. And maybe you have a lot of room for improvement.

See if any of these problems sound familiar. Look at them as a starting point for increasing your production efficiency:

  • You Don’t Handle Raw Materials in the Most Efficient Manner

Raw materials are the biggest financial cost in your production processes. Do you track all the energy you input during your production process, as well as the weight, volume, and temperature of your raw materials?

Do you analyze the product yields, waste, and downtime that occur? What bottlenecks occur with your raw materials as they go through the production process?

  • Your Packaging Costs Are Typically Higher than Necessary

For many manufacturers, packaging systems are almost always one of the greatest opportunities for increases in efficiency. Technology in this area has advanced rapidly in recent years, which means you could easily be behind even though you’ve upgraded somewhat recently.

Leading companies are producing machinery that automates more of the packaging process. And, since many new packaging materials are fairly expensive, this presents an opportunity for great cost savings.

  • Your Equipment Has High Downtime

Manual, semi-automated, and automated equipment all breaks down eventually. The question: how long will it be down at your plant? For example, you might have a torque gun that requires highly charged batteries to do its job. Not only can it take you time to charge the batteries when necessary, but if it operates on less than a full charge, this can lead to loose assembly. That could cause huge issues in product quality, and eventually, angry customers.

The solution lies in creating preventative and predictive maintenance plans.

  • You Have Poorly Designed Production Processes

Production teams and assemblers need to communicate and be on the same page. If assemblers routinely aren’t meeting cycle times, you may have to stop production while you wait for them to catch up. This can also lead to misassembly or incomplete assembly. And like before, this causes product defects and angry customers.

Those aren’t all the problems with production efficiency that you may experience at your manufacturing plant. However, they are some.

Not as efficient as you should be? Call Pollock at 855.239.5153 today.