Hygiene Services are shedding their image of missed collections and lingering washroom odours. A new, female-orientated provider is taking up challenge, Steven McDonald reports
Based in Orpington, Flush Hygiene is a thriving company with over 300 hygiene service clients. These include city of London offices, retail outlets, hospitals, medical centres and care homes, not to mention several cleaning contractors who use Flash to provide Hygiene Services element of their daily cleaning contracts.
As well as standard washroom services such as Female Hygiene, Soap Dispensers and Air Fresheners, Flush offers Nappy Disposal, Medical Waste removal and general ancillary services such as Dust Mats, Vending Machines and Laundry Collection.
Owners Simon and Nick Gasson have spent time tracking developments in the hygiene marketplace and have thought out a clear business strategy for Flash that Focuses on for distinct elements
1. Project and protect the image of end user clients
Recent research indicates that maintaining high quality hygiene facilities is now one of the most important ways to attract and retain staff in any working environment, particularly female employees.
In a similar way, a well managed hygiene service can help an organisation project it’s overall brand more effectively, to its visitors and clients alike.
This lead Flush to search for hygiene product ranges that enhance the appearance of washrooms, as well as providing a hygienic environment, such as modern stainless steel bins and dispensers rather than usual plastic variety.
The company also researched opinion amongst clients and discovered they preferred not to see hygiene equipment. For example, used sanitary bins being carried through their premises. This in turn lead to a decision to offer an alternative service that replaces the bag, rather than the bin itself.
The used bags are taken out of the premises in smart wheelie cases. As an added bonus, new technology has seen the introduction of sanitary bags impregnated with a neutralising fragrance, thus eliminating the unwanted odours sometimes associated with traditional bin equipment.
2. Focus on Ecology and Legal Compliance
Most client organisations now subscribe to a Corporate Social Responsibility agenda, that includes supplier reassurance on the safe and environmentally responsible disposal of waste products.
Again, Simon and Nick scoured the market for manufacturers of products that have the least impact on landfill. In partnership with TerraCyclic, Flush now offer the Bio Bin, a sanitary waste disposal system consisting of rigid, wall mounted sanitary unit that holds a flexible, disposable, biodegradable cartridge that cleverly seals in the waste products.
The Bio-Bin reduces potential exposure to blood borne pathogens such as E-coli, Strep, HIV/Aids and Hepatitis, protecting users and cleaning staff from touching blood products or unclean surfaces.
Nappy disposal is another area where Flush have set their stall out differently. Three billion so called disposable nappies are thrown away each year, of which an astounding 90% end up in landfill. With a growing number of multi-site retail and catering clients, Flush made it their business to understand how this waste is handled.
Working closely with their waste collection suppliers, Flush now ensure that nappies are removed to waste incineration, from which energy is recovered. This reduces the impact on landfill of nappy waste by up to 90% and the conversion of waste into energy reduces greenhouse gas emissions as it avoids the need to produce energy by burning fossil fuels.
” Maintaining high quality hygiene facilities is now one of the most important ways to attract and retain staff “
3. Harness I.T to underpin good service
Poor service is reportedly a common complaint in the hygiene sector, with missed collections and lack of communication frequently mentioned as reasons for switching supplier. To hardwire reliability into their service, Flush has enlisted the help of cutting edge software to manage the whole process.
Sophie McDonagh (Flush Operation Coordinator) explained:
“We use Templar CMS Hygiene Services, a system that covers every aspect of our service from client account set up, replenishment intervals and route planning, through to the creation of waste transfer notes and client email communication. Our van teams are all plugged into the system and manage their work on their mobile devices.
The software helps us stay on top of the day-to-day operation, so that when a client calls to place an additional order, or a driver phones in sick, or a delivery needs to be rescheduled for some reason, I am able to access and update the system quickly and accurately.
Because the system is fully integrated, I can make one amendment, (like dragging and dropping a delivery from one day to another on the planner), and the software does the rest. Van teams will automatically see the update, invoices will be adjusted and out client will automatically receive an email.”
4. Get Noticed
Given there is a definite feminine theme running through the company, Simon and Nick challenged the ‘all female office team’ to come up with ideas for the current branding. Pink won out as the signature colour for the brand, and has been incorporated into the new logo representing a combination of a water droplet and toilet seat.
Meanwhile the strap-line ‘Your Washroom Company’ is designed to reflect the company’s relationship-based way of doing business.
The use of the branding projects an overall ‘joie de vivre’ which Simon and Nick feel is important in communication the freshness and youthfulness of the companies ethos and values. Nowhere is this more important that the delivery vans, that act as a lead generation method in their own right as they drive across their territories.
The branding has also been incorporated into Flush’s website and extensive Social Media activity, seen as critical to business development. Flush use a specialist social media partner to run a continuous Twitter campaign designed to capture the growing volume of search activity on this channel. The campaign maximises the use of hashtags targeted at specific topics and groups. Facebook and Instagram accounts are also driving enquiries.
The company is seeing it’s efforts bear fruit, with business growing year on year. It shows that the right ideas, fresh approach to a relatively unglamorous side of cleaning can pay off.