By Leah Grout Garris
Wintertime can be rough on commercial buildings. As you and your team work to keep things clean, orderly and functional, facilities supplies are used often and depleted quickly, and there might be some wear and tear on the building itself.
Spring is the time to reset and take stock. One way to start is by doing a site assessment, which is when a facilities specialist analyzes your building and makes recommendations to enhance efficiency, reduce operating costs and decrease maintenance requirements. Getting a fresh perspective can help improve your operations.
In any case, it's a good idea to run a check on your building, clear out the winter grime, and make certain you're fully stocked when spring arrives. Here are six facilities supplies to focus on:
1. Trash Bags and Waste Receptacles
Take a quick walk inside and outside your building to identify trash cans that may have disappeared, blown away or undergone damage during winter weather. Make sure you have adequate receptacles and trash bags in restrooms, breakrooms, offices, conference rooms, parking lots, elevator lobbies and at building entrances. As you're aware, having plenty of bins can encourage occupants to dispose of their trash and recyclables appropriately to help you keep things clean.
Using the right-sized trash bags also reduces tearing and sinking, making it faster and easier to empty receptacles. Stock up on liners and trash bags to fit all receptacle sizes.
2. Cleaning Tools
Janitorial supplies can take a beating in cold months. Dirt, sand, snow and ice get tracked indoors; buildings also tend to be dustier (due to drier air), putting more stress on facilities supplies and cleaning tools.
Examine brushes, dusters, brooms, mops, vacuums and extractors for wear and tear, and replace any that are broken or worn out. Stock up on cleaning supplies, such as air fresheners, wipes, glass and multi-surface cleaners, degreasers and disinfectants to make sure you're ready to tackle spring cleaning as the weather warms up.
3. Paper Products
Paper products are typically used more often in wintertime, not only to meet increased cleaning needs, but also because occupants wash their hands more frequently to fight the spread of germs. Facilities supplies may be depleted during these months, so spring is a great time to restock paper towels, toilet paper, tissues and napkins for every area within your building.
You don't want to be caught with a flashlight, smoke detector, portable tool, alarm or two-way radio that won't power up — or, even worse, one that you don't have a battery for. Restock rechargeable and nonrechargeable batteries, so you're ready to do spring repair and maintenance work. Battery shelf life ranges from three to five years or longer, so you can replenish them in bulk without worry.
Clogged or dirty filters reduce HVAC performance, as the National Air Filtration Association points out. The more your heating equipment runs, the more often you'll need to replace filters. Changing filters also helps reduce energy costs (because systems don't have to work as hard to maintain adequate temperatures). By having plenty of filters on hand, you'll be ready to change them out in early spring — and you'll be set for the rest of the year.
6. Door Mats
Although door mats can last for years, winter takes its toll on them, as people track the outdoors inside on their shoes. Replace door mats that have disappeared, been damaged or are tearing or fraying, which may cause trips or falls, according to the National Safety Council. This keeps floors cleaner longer, keeps occupants safer and prolongs the life of your carpet or tile.
By restocking these vital facilities supplies now, spring and summer can be spent focusing on other maintenance initiatives — and you won't have to worry about running low on the tools you use to keep your building safe, productive and clean.