Never Settle for Less than the BestBy Nan Hallock | June 3, 2020 << Back to Articles
It was a never-ending frustration,” says Garin Hurlbut, environmental services (EVS) manager at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, about maintaining 15,000 square feet of back-of-the-house floors. “My colleagues and I have a lot of passion. We don’t want to settle. We want things to be the best they can be and we knew they weren’t.”
Trafficked by 2,500 employees every day, Turning Stone’s back-of-the-house vinyl composition tiled floors were wearing down and losing their gloss quickly, despite rigorous care, and maintenance.
“The team would refinish the floors and they would look good for maybe a few weeks,” says Hurlbut. “After that, they looked like we had never touched them. It was demoralizing for our team members who worked so hard at restoring and maintaining them.”
Hurlbut and his casino management colleagues, director Shane Bird and assistant managers Larry Guiliano and Mike Berry had three goals for the casino’s back-of-the-house floors: 1) Floors must be clear of any debris. 2) Edges and corners must be free of any build-up. 3) Floors must appear clean and have a gloss.
“We weren’t meeting our standards,” says Hurlbut, “It’s as simple as that.”
Hurlbut and his colleagues made it their mission to find a way to achieve their goals. They began gathering information and ideas for floor finishing products that were user friendly, easy to apply, and durable. They searched the internet, read trade magazines, and shopped their way through tradeshows—all of which were helpful. They hit the jackpot when they reached out to a regional distributor who introduced them to a new product line and came to their facility to demonstrate it.
Hurlbut ensured a few of his more experienced floor care team members participated in the demo. They removed the old finish and applied the new finish as directed by the distributor.
“Across the board,” says Hurlbut, “everyone agreed the products were easy to work with—the floor stripper removed the old finish without much effort and the new finish was easy to apply.”
The team kept a keen eye on the demo area and immediately saw significant improvements in the floor’s appearance and performance. “The clarity, gloss, and durability of the finish were unreal,” says Hurlbut. “The shine wasn’t wearing off. We couldn’t believe the difference.”
“These results were not just easy on the eyes,” says Hurlbut. “They alleviated a lot of pressure on the EVS team and the EVS budget. The products themselves were more expensive than those we had been using, but we used less and with less effort. The switch had a huge impact on our labor costs.”
Before Hurlbut and his team found their new solution, restorative maintenance procedures demanded about 1,000 hours of staff time a year to completely strip and refinish the floors on a quarterly basis, and top scrub and recoat the floors on a bimonthly basis. With the new floor care products, this staff time demand was cut in half.
Even more dramatic was the time savings realized for interim maintenance. High-rpm burnishing became necessary just once a week instead of once a day, slashing this staff time demand from 2,555 hours a year to just 364 hours a year.
Lessons to be learned
“Never settle for less than the best,” says Hurlbut. “Things are changing every day. None of us exist in a vacuum, so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel—just use the resources that are readily available to learn new ways to do your job better and make your life easier. Foster good working relationships with your suppliers and encourage them to bring new ideas to you. And listen to your team! Never underestimate the value of their frontline knowledge and experience.”
About the Author.
Nan Hallock served in a senior marketing communications position at the world’s largest association management agency, SmithBucklin, and was one of three founding partners of an advertising/public relations agency in Chicago. Contact Nan at [email protected].