Identify Landscape Challenges in Advance

Landscape

The exterior appearance of your facilities is vital in communicating the image of your business. Well-designed and properly maintained grounds can greet both visitors and occupants with a pleasing appearance, minimize the time and resources needed to keep your landscapes looking their best, and contribute to your organization’s sustainability efforts.

The role of facility managers in achieving these goals starts well before maintenance begins. Getting managers involved early in the design process can ensure the efficient and cost-effective maintenance of landscaped areas.

For example, regional differences are important in considering landscape needs. Irrigation is often the major concern in terms of management and the expense of repairs and upgrades. In markets with expensive land, not enough room for trees is an important consideration.

As a facility manager, you should get involved in the landscape design and planning process to avoid landscapes that are costly and difficult to maintain. Any landscape undergoing extensive rework typically involves designers with a promising idea of what looks good.  They might not consider long-term maintenance needs, which is where you can come in with practical advice. Involving maintenance early in the process to guide decisions helps ensure problems are minimal.

Several problems often arise because landscape construction is, seemingly, the lowest priority of subcontractors when it comes to conflicts and engineering.

The frequent problem of weeds interfering with the establishment of new plants is likely caused, for example, by poor planning of the watering of the plants and the landscape.  A critical solution to minimizing weed problems is getting the water right. New landscapes often feature a mixture of large plants, trees, and small specimen plants that all are trying to get established. Managers often feel as soon as they turn on the irrigation system, everything will be watered perfectly. But, trees with large root balls might not get enough water if the irrigation system is set to deliver water for plants with shallower root systems. The reverse also is true, where systems can overwater smaller plants, an unintended result of ensuring trees are well irrigated.

By getting involved in the planning, facility managers can be proactive – in many cases, landscape architects make decisions that sometimes puts facility managers in a reactive role. The renovation of an existing building is a wonderful opportunity for the facility manager to get involved. Your common objective is to understand the cost to maintain the property and determine the right resources needed for the job. The design phase presents an ideal opportunity for managers to emphasize the project’s total cost of ownership, which includes the ongoing cost and the resources required to properly maintain the landscape. Ideally, managers want to minimize inputs such as water, fertilizer, and fuel that powers pruning equipment and trucks.

Another way that you, as a facility manager, can contribute to the design process is helping make the landscape more sustainable.  Planting at the right density is big way to make your landscape more sustainable.  Property owners want lush-looking plants, but facility managers want to plant smaller quantities at the right density to minimize future maintenance requirements and water needs, as well as the inevitable costs to prune more or to remove overcrowded plants. It’s all about putting the water where it is needed. Facility managers need to review the amount of water the landscape requires, and the way the irrigation system is designed. Large areas with high-volume, high-output spray heads for watering turf areas, shrubs and ornamentals require a drip or bubbler system to control water application.

Facility managers might want to ask about design changes that will reduce the amount of water needed. They also want to avoid specifying plants prone to insects or disease, minimize the amount of debris generated, and rethink the use of fertilizers.

Controlling Dumpster Odors

Dumpster wash

Odor control isn’t limited to indoor spaces like offices, rest rooms and kitchens.  Facility managers also need to concentrate some of their efforts outside the building in and around dumpsters.

You know dumpsters.  That terrible name, that unsightly but necessary container, the smell that your customers and visitors — well, they can just see it coming.  So do you.  What are some effective ways to eliminate that problem?

Start by clearing out the interior. When you fill a dumpster with debris, lingering odors can become trapped on the interior. To ensure that there are not any items that are causing an unpleasant smell, you should schedule a dumpster pick up service with your local waste disposal vendor. Once your dumpster has been cleared, you will be ready to start cleaning the interior. To ensure that the interior of your rental dumpster is completely clean, wash the interior well – we recommend Super Citrus Dumpster Wash over basic bleach and water.

Super Citrus Dumpster Wash controls odors, helps deter bees and flies around your dumpsters, trash cans and loading dock areas, and allows you to clean grease and odor causing residue, and deodorizes dumpsters as well as trash chutes.  It’s a product that is specially formulated with cleaners and odor counteraction to clean, cut grease and neutralize foul odors.  It works great on not only dumpsters but trash chutes/walls, compactors and dock floors as well.

Once you have cleaned and rinsed the interior of your dumpster, the next step is to allow the interior of the dumpster to dry completely. By drying out the interior of the dumpster you will prevent the formation of bacteria and mold.

To help keep the dumpster clean and cut down on odors, your cleaning crews should always bag the trash before placing it in the dumpsters.

There will always be odors associated with waste, but starting out with a clean dumpster is a terrific way to cut down on the worst offenders.  Keeping up with the problem, or staying ahead of it, is also possible, with products like “Dumpster Deodorizer.”  Sprinkle it in and around dumpsters, compactors, trash receptacles, and other problem areas to eliminate odors for approximately seven days.  This product also contains citronella, to help deter flying insects and pests.  Both the Dumpster Wash and Deodorizer products are bio-degradable, making them user-safe and environmentally friendly, contributing to your sustainability goals.

Pro-active steps like these can help you overcome your outdoor odor challenges – especially that dumpster.

Super Citrus Dumpster Wash can be purchased here.

“Life is easier having SLM handle the major scheduled services…”

Roy Young, of Smokey Bones, tells us why he chooses SLM.

We maintain our client’s business properties 24/7/365 and provide them with a comprehensive, proactive way of managing their facilities. And many customer’s comment on the outstanding customer service they receive. It’s no wonder more than 95% of our customers renew their SLM contracts. We do it all & manage it all, so you don’t have to!

Interested in learning more?
Give us a call at 888-847-4449, email us at info@slmfacilities.com, or fill out the form below for a Free Assessment! 🙂

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More ways to Achieve “Sustainability”

Sustainability

“Sustainability” isn’t a new thing. It might be a new term, but many of its practices go back a long time. As a nation, we’ve been recycling for years.  Sustainability is all about taking it to the next level.

If you are already doing basic recycling, but want to do more, what are some of the options?

A great place to start is by designating specific “recycling” areas or zones within your facility or facilities.  Signage and painting, indications on a “campus map,” are good ways to let your employees, your staff, and your visitors know that there is a recycling area nearby, no matter where they are in your facility.  If people know that something is close by, they’re more apt to use it. Plus, they know that the areas will be emptied regularly, so they won’t be putting something in an area and then still seeing it there months later.

Going “paperless” is a profound way to be more efficient, and more sustainable.  Start encouraging your staff to commit to working without printing out multiple pages.  Put a “central” printer in place that all can network to, and right next to it, put a shredder.  Start eliminating old files that are no longer relevant.  You can even work with a local printing vendor to recycle non-confidential into note pads.

Eliminate the clutter in your facility.  Donate old office furniture to various charitable organizations that have a need.  Consider using returnable pallets in a loading dock area to eliminate wood on site.  If you have old wood in storage areas, find a wood recycler vendor to separate and recycle it.    You can find a bulk pick up vendor to safely remove old furniture, fixtures, machinery, electronics, clothing items – anything that is clogging up your facility – and the vendor will recycle and repurpose the materials in a safe and sustainable manner.

Keep track of your waste – data is critical.  Make sure that each waste product has a specific name for filing –paper, toner, oil, food, etc.  Record every type of waste that leaves your facility, and track the totals for each quarter and each year.  It’s a wonderful way to see, over time, if you are lowering your waste totals, or if they’ve increased, which area is affected, and what you should be addressing to reduce the waste totals.  Benchmarking performance is a key factor in attaining success in any venture. Identify the areas and establish a goal. Although most everyone does some form of recycling but some don’t set goals for their programs, or are unable to tell if they were getting better or worse when comparing one year to the next. Set sustainability goals in stone and hold people accountable. Keeping the score and communicating results in your company newsletters keeps everyone accountable and on board with the plan.

Incorporate sustainability into waste reduction by starting with purchasing policies.    Find products that are easily recyclable, such as paper products or cleaning products.  Be on the lookout for products you can substitute – working with a commercial maintenance partner can help you identify what new or existing products might work in place of an older product.

These are just some ways you can help your facility achieve sustainability.  Starting small can add up to something big, so implementing changes in one area will encourage you to make additional, sustainable, changes in other areas.  It all adds up!

Ongoing Maintenance Challenges can be Solved with a Handyman Service

Handyman Service

With a large facility or group of facilities, ongoing maintenance can quickly become overwhelming. But at what point could your facilities benefit from a commercial handyman service? Without regular maintenance, your facility can fall into a state of disrepair. When you have ongoing maintenance issues from light electrical to plumbing to patching and painting or even installing fixtures, your day can quickly become filled with appointments, site visits, estimates and follow-up. Not only is conducting ongoing maintenance this way time-consuming, it can also be more expensive than contracting with a commercial handyman service.

With the right commercial vendor as your maintenance company, you get a team of highly qualified maintenance technicians. These commercial handymen come highly qualified with experience in plumbing, HVAC, electrical and more.  Your commercial maintenance company has a team of professional maintenance technicians that can handle nearly all your facility’s issues, as quickly as they come up. Not only can these commercial handymen handle most of the repairs and issues that come up, they can be a valuable source of information for larger more involved projects.

When you contract with a commercial handyman service and professional maintenance technicians, you partner with a company dedicated to your individual facilities. There is no waiting for service, hoping someone shows up and coordinating the work. When you employee a commercial handyman, your work is always the priority and as you develop a relationship, your handyman or team of maintenance technicians will become like another appendage, doing the things you cannot get to with just a little direction from you the Facilities Manager.

You know that it is challenging to manage ongoing maintenance, getting to all the little (and not so little) fixes that, if not addressed, can diminish a building’s value over time. One of the many benefits of working with a commercial handyman service is that you can develop a maintenance schedule that keeps your facility running smoothly.  With repairs, fixes and installations planned throughout the maintenance schedule, you can budget and forecast with ease and stick to those budgets while keeping your facility in good running order. The right commercial handyman service will get the job done right in a professional efficient manner and attend to those day-to-day issues before they snowball or reduce the value and efficiency of your building.

Some facility managers wonder if having a commercial handyman service might be the right solution for their facilities’ issues. They might wonder what if there’s too much work? Or what if I don’t have enough to keep a commercial maintenance service busy? One of the many benefits of the commercial handyman service is that you can fine-tune the work to precisely what you and your facility needs. Some companies and facilities require daily ongoing maintenance at multiple facilities. Others may require a once a week visit to tackle a revolving to-do list or even every other week. Other offices may have busier short-term periods with office furniture that needs to be assembled or other one-time help scenarios. Commercial maintenance companies will often have the flexibility to bring in extra people for larger jobs allowing you to staff up and down as needed.

When it comes to finding a commercial handyman for your facilities what you don’t want is a one-man and a van kind of operation.   You want a commercial maintenance company that has a team of professional maintenance technicians. Even if you end up with one technician assigned to your facility, maintenance technicians working together at these kinds of companies have, more than likely, exchanged all their professional skills and assisted each other, so that they end up very skilled in several specific areas. And if they have specific questions about lighting electrical plumbing or HVAC, they have each other to troubleshoot issues that may arise in your facility.

There’s no shortage of commercial handyman services out there, yet finding the right maintenance technicians to care for your facilities can be challenging. Any maintenance company offering ongoing maintenance services should have a good team. The reality is in this service business, you are only as good as the people you employ. So, ask a prospective maintenance company about their people — how long have they worked there, what is their background?

Ask a prospective commercial maintenance company what they do when problems arise. Do they have systems in place to manage issues? Do they have a formal process for getting back to customers who need help? Likewise, the best commercial maintenance companies will have transparent pricing that allows you to compare their services to other companies and determine precisely what you are getting for what you’re paying for. And the right commercial handyman service understands the limits of your budget and will work closely with you to get the most for your facility with the budget you have.

Finding the right commercial maintenance company can make your job as a facilities manager more manageable. You can develop a relationship with your commercial handyman that makes getting things done efficient, smooth and straightforward. A good relationship helps you shorten your “to do” list, knowing that you have a maintenance technician or team of technicians on your side ready to pitch in and help you with whatever you need. Whether it’s light electrical, plumbing, installing bookshelves, hanging pictures or televisions, installing fixtures or patching and painting, your commercial handyman can get the job done and keep your facilities running smoothly and in great shape.

Susan Daywitt, Founder & CEO of SLM Facility Solutions Nationwide, Wins Award from Restaurant Facilities Management Association

Green Lane, Pennsylvania – March 30, 2017 – Last week at the 2017 Restaurant Facilities Management Association Convention in Orlando, Susan Daywitt, President and Chief Executive Officer of SLM Facility Solutions Nationwide received the RFMy Marvelous Mentor Award for helping to develop a new industry professional.

Susan Daywitt, CEODaywitt received the award during the organization’s Fifth Annual RFMy Awards ceremony on Tuesday, March 7th.

In 1998, Daywitt launched SLM Facility Solutions Nationwide based on her extensive knowledge and professional experience in sales, operations, administration, and management in the waste service industry throughout the United States. She is a graduate from the University of Colorado with two BS degrees in both Business/Marketing and Psychology.  Daywitt is a fully licensed WBE and WBENC entity throughout the United States. She is also an avid writer for both the Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association and the Restaurant Facility Management Association magazines educating retailers in the different areas pertaining to facility services.

SLM Facility Solutions Nationwide is the chosen management provider for well over 15,000 clients coast to coast, including many of the top businesses in retail, equity groups, and high-profile restaurants nationwide. The Philadelphia suburb based company provides facility service solutions in the fields of waste and recycling, grease trap pumping/jetting, plumbing, cooking oil removal, kitchen exhaust cleaning, HVAC, an array of handyman services, general contracting, and sustainability consulting among several others.

With a national network of over 12,000 licensed and insured vendors, SLM designs and manages comprehensive programs to meet a client’s individual needs.  Additional information about SLM Facility Solutions Nationwide is available at their new website, http://www.slmfacilities.com.

 

Media Contact:

Jim DeLorenzo, Public Relations, MediaMark Spotlight

215-680-6917, Jim@MediaMarkSpotlight.com

Sustainability in the Restaurant Industry

Restaurant sustainability

Doing what is right for the long-term success of your business, as well as your community and its environment, is the responsible way to achieve business sustainability. Being a sustainable business optimizes your facility – in striving for zero waste, you can save money, and energy is conserved.

Since the start of the 21st Century, the importance of sustainability has grown, as has our awareness of the need to operate in a sustainable fashion.   Industry estimates are that a restaurant uses five to 10 times more energy per square foot than any other business.  Because restaurants and food service businesses are such energy consumers, it is up to facility managers and business owners to continue to seek out the best new equipment, materials and processes to minimize energy use, water use, and waste.

“Going Green” is a very popular, and important, topic for the restaurant industry, and “going green” gets facility managers and business owners much closer to achieving sustainability.

There are many reasons that restaurants should go green. Besides a genuine concern for the environment, a restaurant can increase its profits by going green. Savvy foodies flock to restaurants that specialize in food made from local, organic ingredients, and those restaurants that advertise green practices in their marketing strategy are winning a greater market share.  It’s also a positive public relations practice to incorporate sustainable measures into the operations at any food service location, leading to greater credibility for your business in a crowded and touch market.

Going green can be expensive, if a strategic approach is not taken.   But it can also be more expensive if you must pay fines and upgrade practices and facilities to get into compliance with local laws and Federal mandates.  For some people, going green can be as simple as buying a farmer’s market tomato – but that is not nearly enough for a restaurant to be considered “green.”

Restaurant managers know there is so much more to running a successful restaurant than cooking great food — what happens in the kitchen and behind the scenes is crucial. Buying, growing, serving and recycling the food and solid waste presents just as powerful of an opportunity as the menu does. While being green may not be the top priority, it is still an opportunity for a restaurant to increase its business base and help improve the environment.

Single-stream recycling of bottles, cans, aluminum, plastic, cardboard and paper is the standard for U.S. businesses, but it is important for facility managers to find the right vendor to help them maintain their recycling efforts as well as dispose of the materials properly.  Grease traps are also important for facility managers in any food service setting, providing a responsible method for collecting waste materials, but again, it is important to find the right way to dispose of the collected grease without having a negative impact on your environment.

Businesses that recycle bottles, paper, plastic, etc. can experience an increase in business and positive public perceptions if they advertise and promote that “best practice.”  An even better way to make a positive community impact is donating leftover food to a community food bank or shelter.  In your customer’s eyes, you will be a business that cares about your community, your environment, and that you want to make a difference.

Being sustainable is the optimum way to increase your business, serve cleaner and healthier food, and be environmentally friendly – all the good things we want to be.

Don’t be Cheap about your Grease Traps!

grease traps

Facility managers have many priorities that require their daily attention, and grease management can be easily overlooked.   Restaurant and food service managers naturally focus on improving their customer experiences, controlling costs, and working hard to ensure that their facility continues to operate efficiently without any unnecessary interruptions of service.

With such overwhelming responsibilities, grease trap management and choosing the right grease control device can seem less important than other priorities. But a facility managers’ goals for their facility are impacted by their choices in grease control.

Facility managers are increasingly being held accountable for grease effluent control and regulatory compliance. Lack of compliance can mean costly fines, facility shut downs, and damage to the corporate brand and reputation.

Questions regarding compliance can distract the owner or facility manager from delivering a great customer experience.  In the worst-case scenario, it becomes a nightmare. Complicating this is the corporate pressure to strengthen the restaurant’s brand, enhance the customer experience, manage costs and deliver profit goals. Doing what is best can take a back seat to doing what is necessary at any given time.

Facility managers can be caught in the middle of corporate financial management, engineering design and construction teams, regulatory and stewardship teams, purchasing, human resources, restaurant management, operations and outside regulatory agencies. In the case of grease control, some organizations have driven the process to the lowest common denominator to buy what is cheapest to keep them in compliance.  Companies that take a long-term approach can satisfy the brand manager’s initiatives, while becoming good stewards of the community, the environment, and their bottom line.

Plumbing and building codes simply require an approved grease capture device to be installed. But just because a device follows the local code does not mean that the facility is in environmental compliance for wastewater discharge or can operate trouble-free. Regulators and grease inspectors manage sewer use with environmental ordinances. They are becoming very aggressive in monitoring grease effluent and enforcing grease control standards. A food service establishment must operate in a way that does not disrupt the safe operation of the sewer system and the treatment plan.

Meeting plumbing codes does not mean that your restaurant is in environmental compliance. When sizing grease interceptors to ensure compliance, work with your supplier and local regulator who can verify the grease interceptor is sized to accept the peak flow from each grease-discharging fixture.

Spending the “bare minimum” on your grease traps to stay compliant with local regulations will ultimately hurt you in the long-run, and severely impact your bottom line.  Finding the right long-term solution for your grease traps will save you money, time, and hassles today and in the future.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick's Day

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the SLM family! 🙂

Preventative Maintenance on your Drains Avoids Problems & Costs

Preventative Maintenance

Receiving calls from your facilities reporting blocked drains, flooding, disrupted operations, and crippling damages have become daily setbacks to many facilities managers across the nation.

The best way to minimize, and even prevent, such problems is to develop, implement, and carefully manage a preventive maintenance program for drain cleaning.

Identifying the locations with the most common drain blockage problems, and exploring drain-cleaning equipment options enables a facility manager to effectively coordinate the equipment, time and activities, and minimize disruptions to the daily routine.

Traps, turns and constrictions in plumbing systems are the most likely places for drain and pipe blockages to start. A building’s “as-built” drawings (usually on file with the building owner or the architect) will show the drain system from the fixture to the municipal sewer system and waste-treatment facility. These drawings provide an overview of the entire drainage system piping runs, both horizontal and vertical.

Front-line staff can also identify the locations of inspection and cleanout plugs. They can remove the plugs, usually threaded into a Y-fitting, to check the condition of a pipe’s inside walls or to insert cleanout tools, inspection equipment, and drain-cleaning tools.

The most frequent blockage problems in institutional and commercial buildings involve toilet and sink traps. These traps serve two purposes: to hold a quantity of water between the drain opening and the sewer and prevent sewer gases from backing up into the environment, and to stop objects from becoming lodged farther into the drain line, where they are very difficult to locate and remove.

Sinks, toilets, and floor drains all have traps. Commercial kitchens have grease traps to keep large quantities of grease out of the drains. If not collected and removed periodically, the grease eventually will solidify in large enough amounts to totally block the flow through the pipe.

Some blockages also occur from the permeation by tree roots into underground lines. The roots take advantage of pipe walls that have collapsed due to age, settling or that have been damaged by construction equipment inside or outside the building.

Newer low-flow toilet fixtures also can be a source of blockages, especially if the flush valves were added to the system as part of a water-conservation upgrade and if bowls were not matched to the valve’s flow rate. Some older toilet bowls were not designed for lower water flow. If installation of low-flow valves did not include replacement of the old bowl design, a clogging problem might result from an insufficient water flow.

Tackling problems before they happen by having detailed knowledge of your drains and your plumbing system will save you a great deal of time, and money, in the long run.

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