Purchasing cleaning products to operate private universities isn’t what it used to be. It’s much more complicated today, mainly because there are literally thousands of cleaning products to select from: some costing more than others, some environmentally preferable and others not, some designed to improve worker productivity and others that focus primarily on performance benefits; the list goes on from there.
This is one of the reasons we have trade publications such as this. They help us know what products are available, which might best serve our needs and introduce us to those products that could best benefit our schools. While these and similar trade publications play a vital role in helping steer their readers through the cleaning supply maze and confusion, procurement difficulties can still arise.
Because of this, if your role at your private college/university is to be in charge of building services and the purchasing of cleaning products, tools, and equipment, selecting a distributor that can manage all this information well and provide customized solutions-while staying within budget and accomplishing campus goals as to cleaning and environmental concerns-can be a great help.
Private Universities Want More from a Distributor
This is what I have realized after more than fifteen years in the professional cleaning industry. It has become very clear to me that end-customers-our industry’s term for you, the administrators of private colleges and universities-want much more from a janitorial distributor. Very simply, they want such things as the following:
- To have help uncovering their cleaning needs (as we shall discuss later, this is often one of the biggest problems end-customers face)
- To discuss cleaning challenges and needs with their distributor
- To have the distributor identify product options that can address those needs
- To have the distributor evaluate current products, suggesting those that have proven value and others that may need to be replaced
- To allow the distributor to help their customers narrow the alternatives and select the most cost-effective cleaning product options
- To watch the working relationship grow over time
- To benefit from distributor-provided training and after-sale support.
Some astute janitorial distributors are taking note of what their customers want. Consequently, they are making changes to their traditional marketing role with clients and becoming “consultants,” advising their clients on cleaning solutions, products, and equipment that help their customers address all of these issues. One way they are doing this is through technologies such as the ELEVATE system from AFFLINK.