Schools Case Study

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Background

In July 2010, the CEO of a large Catholic education organisation in Northern Queensland invited Mastercare to submit a cleaning proposal. The proposal addressed cleaning maintenance issues pertaining to 28 of its schools. Mastercare conducted four site visits. We also delivered a final presentation to senior officers. The Archdiocese currently spends $2.2-million a year on cleaning these schools.

The offer

Mastercare contended that it could increase efficiencies and, as a result, offer a 10% annual saving. This cost saving would amount to approximately $1-million over five years. Our report also stated that we could bring the organisation's reporting system up to date.

Benefits to administration

Outsourcing the cleaning function to Mastercare would mean the Archdiocese would be relieved of the burden of its cleaning administration. This would include paperwork, risk management, quality control, absenteeism, insurances, reporting, and the critical tasks of OH&S and safe storage/handling of chemicals.

Management solutions

Mastercare could install a dedicated Area Manager in the region, in order to deliver the very best service possible.

Mastercare's credentials

Over the course of our communications, we were pleased to attest to our financial stability, and to state our credentials, including more than 30 years in the business of cleaning and facilities management. We also referred to a comprehensive list of previous education-sector clients, and the lessons our experience has taught us. For example:

  • cleaners form part of the school community
  • the children must be safe, thus all our cleaners must undergo police checks
  • the staff must be safe, therefore comprehensive safety inductions are essential
  • communication is central to a great working relationship
  • a single point of contact is pivotal
  • training is mandatory

Training

We could ascertain no on-site training within the organisation. All Mastercare staff receive full induction and site-specific training prior to commencement. Training is ongoing. We stressed that, in all instances, staff should:

  • possess sound knowledge of operations and cleaning techniques for different surfaces.
  • know how to handle chemicals and operate equipment.
  • understand checking procedures for equipment safety prior to use.
  • understand Quality Assurance procedures and lines of communication.
  • recognise areas of potential non-conformance.

In addition, Mastercare would provide safety training during induction, and refresher training whenever necessary. We would hold regular toolbox meetings to supplement safety-training initiatives.

Reporting

Our site audit indicated a lack of any reporting standards for cleaning. We suggested the following reporting schedule:

  • quality audits every two months
  • schools and central administration to be supplied with results of audits
  • one point of contact for central administration and schools
  • work schedules/frequency

In addition, Mastercare uses an online reporting system called MUMS. This system makes it easy to tabulate, analyse and format data into performance reports. MUMS helps improve productivity, communications and quality support, delivers real-time communication, and allows us to create and complete periodical requirements, standard operational procedures and task checklists, including scheduling site audits, machine maintenance and tagging, and training. It also allows us to produce detailed reports on QA, OHS & EHS and KPIs.

Outsourcing - the concerns

Given the less-than-sensitive manner in which outsourcing is sometimes carried out, Mastercare made it clear that:

  • We have been transitioning into these situations for years.
  • We never sack people just for the sake of it.
  • We always interview the incumbent cleaners with a view to keeping them on if we can. It is only if they're not performing that they would have anything to worry about. Even then, we would endeavour to find them alternative employment in the Townsville region.
  • If incumbent cleaners need training, we make sure they get it.
  • We would only ask a cleaner to cut back on hours if absolutely necessary. We are keenly aware of the impact on their income and, in turn, their families.

Benefits to TCEA's existing cleaners

As a result of outsourcing cleaning services to Mastercare, the organisation's existing cleaners would:

  • receive training if needed. This training would make them better at their jobs and improve their CVs.
  • be aligned with one of the leading cleaning companies in Australia, with access to a network of contacts that can help with knowledge-sharing, and afford them exceptional employment options in the future.
  • have access to Mastercare's successful franchising arm. If a cleaner ever wanted to become a franchisee, the opportunities with Mastercare would be both profitable and accessible. That would mean a brighter economic future with the possibility of running their own business.

Triple certification

Given the importance of QA, OH&S and Environmental Management, Mastercare highlighted the fact that it is one of only a handful of companies to have achieved triple certification in all three.

Documentation

Mastercare supplied the organisation with a number of pertinent documents regarding the company and its capabilities, as well as QA, OH&S and environmental policies, and a pricing schedule.

Outcome

It was an absolute pleasure to have dealt with the organisation, and we are very grateful for their time and interest. The organisation is currently reviewing the situation.

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