By Chris Quinlan
Choosing the right product to use for cleaning, disinfecting and deodorizing the surfaces in my pet boarding and day care business is far easier than getting the staff to use it correctly. Remember sanitation is more about a repetitive process than a particular product. In part one we looked at the criteria that should be used to choose the best product. Now we are going to share ideas on how to get staff to properly use the product you’ve chosen, and get the results you’re looking for; a clean, healthy, and odor free boarding and daycare business.
First of all, as owners/managers we are always looking to get our desired results in the most efficient way possible. With the understanding that proper sanitation is a process that must be performed daily, we need to simplify everything about it. If you simplify your sanitation, your staff is more likely to get it done properly every day.
Take the mixing and measuring of sanitation product out of staff hands by using metered dispensing. The benefits will be three fold. The staff will save time, no longer having to figure out proper mixing of product concentrate and water. In my experience, the glug-glug method is used more often than not if metered dispensing is not in place. The second benefit is huge for whoever pays the bills. Metered dispensing controls product consumption and eliminates waste. Many times consumption is cut in half. The third benefit would be that metered dispensing does it right, all the time. When done right, all the time, you eliminate potential problems that may come from an improperly mixed sanitation product being used throughout your pet boarding and daycare business. Examples of problems that may occur if improper mixing is going on would be sticky floors, slippery surfaces, difficulty rinsing surfaces, hazing or stripping of floor coatings, skin irritation on our guests that come in contact with surfaces not rinsed, potential surface destruction, product waste, and staff time wasted. These are all problems we want to avoid.
Have a Written Plan
In our experience, it’s always better to write down the “what’s, when’s, and how’s” of sanitation, than to tell staff over and over again. What needs to be cleaned, when we need to clean and how we clean. Come up with a SOP (standard operating procedure) that’s simple, efficient, effective, and enforceable. Here are some of the benefits to having a written plan for sanitation. As the owner/manager you know it’s more likely to be done right most of the time, thus producing the desired results most of the time. Happy staff, because there is no question as to how it’s going to be done and everyone is on the same page.
When a written plan does not exist, questions and debate arise among staff based on individual experiences. The “I know better” syndrome may occur, and you end up with potential problems among staff debating as to how it should be done. Reduced time spent training new staff members on the “what’s, when’s, and how’s” of sanitation would be another benefit. You can’t just assume your new people are going to know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.
Training is necessary, and can be very time consuming. But, with a written plan in place new staff training should go a lot quicker and again, keep everyone on the same page. Videotaping your SOP’s for sanitation is another great way to save time on training while showing the “what’s, when’s, and how’s” of sanitation in a way that is better retained and easily reviewed when needed. I recommend the staff review your SOP’s for sanitation every 90 days. This is the approximate length of time it’s been shown that staff will start to cut corners or deviate from existing SOP’s. Regular training, whether it’s a new hire or existing staff member, will be beneficial for both the employee and your business.
Understanding the Importance of Sanitation
What staff does at home is their own business, but what happens in our boarding and daycare is our business. Our emphasis on being clean must be a top priority, and the entire staff needs to understand the importance of proper sanitation. Do not assume all the staff members have the same level of concern in this very important aspect of the business. Why is sanitation so important to my boarding and daycare business? The reason is that dirt, germs and all sorts of contaminates are continuously being brought into our businesses every day. We must also continuously make an effort to remove or reduce the amount of contaminates for the health and well-being of our guests. Just as important, is the health of our business. How your business looks and smells are two of the top criteria pet owners use when choosing a daycare or boarding facility. So make cleaning a top priority at your daycare or boarding establishment, and you’ll be at the head of the pack when it comes to the competition.
Chris Quinlan grew up in a family business that has specialized in hospital hygiene, sanitation, laundry, and floor care since 1958. While earning a Bachelor of Science degree from California Polytechnic University, Chris also received extensive training in the areas of chemistry, microbiology, hospital infection control principles and practices, institutional hygiene, environmental sanitation, odor control, floor care, and OSHA compliance. Shortly after entering the family business, Chris started the animal care division of the company in 1989. Today Chris is president of Health Technology Professional Products, a leading brand in the pet care industry, and owns the Riverwalk Pet Resort with his wife Gia. Chris has been a speaker on sanitation for the Pet Services Association national meeting, as well as speaking on hospital hygiene and sanitation at several veterinary schools and associations.