Involve the facility manager from the start for the best floor maintenance plan results.
By Earl S. Wasserman
When you think of maintaining floors, you probably think about what cleaning product to use, how often to clean, and who should be maintaining the floors. These are all important questions but really, proper maintenance begins with the proper product selection at the time specifications are being determined.
The best way to create or implement a great floor maintenance program is for the facility manager to be involved from the beginning. Facilities and maintenance departments should work together with the design/store planning team in order to better meet management’s objectives — which typically includes a great looking floor that enhances the shopping experience and reflects the store’s image and brand. Some products work well in a retail or restaurant environment and others don’t. A wood floor used in an urban store where the patrons walk in right off the sidewalk is surely going to be next to impossible to maintain. A beveled-edge LVT in a light color with no surface texture will expose all foot traffic, scuff marks and dirt in any store or restaurant environment.
It’s most likely that your maintenance program is already set up. Are you working with an outsourced firm that services stores nationally? Are you using a local company? Or is the cleaning being done by store staff? Regardless of the answer, communication is the key. You are behind the scenes but the responsibility is still yours. It is important that you know the established maintenance protocols developed by each of the flooring manufacturers represented in your store, and that you receive them in writing from your flooring provider. And if those products are proprietary, it’s important to have them included in the deliverables when the flooring shows up during construction. And it’s important to have them available post-store opening for ongoing maintenance. There is no one-fits-all cleaning product, and those technicians responsible for your clean floor should be knowledgeable about your specific floor covering before they show up on site. If you are working with an outside firm, you would be communicating that message with an account manager. It is imperative that the protocols get passed on to the person who is actually doing the work. If the work is being executed by a store employee, how is the proper information and cleaning materials being acquired? An abundance of experience, communication and information is central to properly maintaining floors.
PLANNING CHECKLIST FOR THE BEST FLOORING MAINTENANCE PROGRAM
• Meet with store planning/design teams during and after specification to discuss potential issues/concerns.
• Obtain all manufacturers’ written protocols, product descriptions and MSDS sheets.
• Distribute this information to all stakeholders, including outsourced maintenance companies, RSMs and store staff.
• Be sure that all mandates for clean floors issued by management are communicated throughout your system.
• Communicate….then communicate some more.
— Earl S. Wasserman is founder & chief innovation officer for Storefloors, a FlooResource, Inc. company. Storefloors is an international commercial flooring dealer specializing in custom flooring solutions for retail, hospitality, healthcare and other multi‑location branded businesses. For more than 20 years, Atlanta-based Storefloors has furnished floor covering products for over 20,000 retail and hospitality locations covering more than 50 million square feet worldwide. Wasserman may be reached at [email protected].