Retail operations have had an uneven experience during the COVID-19 crisis. Some businesses, deemed essential, remained open during virtually all state-mandated shutdowns. Others remained closed for a long period of time. In addition, different state and local guidelines have left many consumers and employees unsure about what environments are safe to enter. In order for customers and employees to feel safe entering stores, retailers need to employ a comprehensive plan for cleaning and disinfecting, communicate those efforts effectively, and plan for deep cleaning remediation if the need arises.
To do this, KBS is working with retail clients to build healthy operations that go beyond cleaning with a broad range of solutions that include:
- Creating and executing strategies for touch point cleaning
- Verifying cleaning and disinfecting using advanced technologies
- Planning when cleaning will take place to maximize visibility and effectiveness
- Communicating cleaning protocols to customers and employees
- Planning for deep cleaning and COVID responses in the future
Revamping Cleaning Protocols
Today, protocols for cleaning need to address frequency and scope of cleaning as well as how cleaning is actually performed. For example, EPA registered cleaning chemicals that are rated to kill and neutralize a wide range of bacteria and viruses are essential. KBS cleaning teams are properly trained to execute cleaning protocols with these chemicals correctly. They are also trained on how to protect themselves while performing those tasks.
For retail establishments, scheduling cleaning during opening hours is also a factor to consider. KBS is working with its clients to shift schedules so that some of the work is performed during store hours. This not only helps assure customers that areas are professionally cleaned on a regular basis, but it also helps reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses as new customers continually flow in and out of retail outlets.
While chemicals, training, and proper techniques are effective, verification offers further assurance of the true impact of cleaning and disinfecting on surfaces. KBS uses advanced technology to measure the viral and bacterial load on surfaces. Teams evaluate the results and change procedures if necessary. Studies have shown that the use of these measurements can be useful for evaluating the effectiveness of hygiene intervention programs aimed at preventing viral spread. Performing before and after cleaning, measurements can help verify the efficacy of the cleaning and disinfection interventions and inform adjustments to protocols and frequency of cleaning if indicated.
Working hand-in-hand with keeping cleaning visible, retail operators need to inform customers and employees about the strategies they are deploying. Signage, print outs and digital communication detailing the disinfectants being used and the training and safety measures taken to protect employees are all important to creating a welcoming, successful retail environment. KBS works with its clients to create these communications so that customers and employees are not just informed that cleaning is taking place, but are also educated on all of the actions taking place to ensure healthy operations.
The customer facing experience is just the tip of the iceberg for most retail operations. Looking at healthy operations from warehouse to check-out is key. Cleaning and disinfecting will continue to be essential in assuring that employees feel safe working in these environments and that customers feel assured that the products they are purchasing are safe.
In addition to retailer’s own supply chain, KBS ensures the stability and reliability of its supply chain by leveraging North American OEM products, equipment, and supplies. This has effectively shortened the supply chain mitigating future disruption risk. KBS has moved from a just in time demand based supply chain, to a strategic reserve posture, which best protects and prepares KBS clients. During the pandemic, as the supply chain for critical materials to support operations broke down, KBS crews and clients received the essential products and materials needed to continue safely operating, keeping large scale essential industries operating healthy.
Response to Crisis
Retail operators need to have a plan to deal with outbreaks quickly and effectively. Early in the COVID-19 crisis, KBS executed a plan to respond to outbreaks with deep cleaning and disinfecting services. For the most extensive of these services, specially trained and equipped teams performed a deep cleaning and disinfection on all horizontal and vertical surfaces. The service also includes HEPA vacuuming all carpeted areas, machine cleaning all floor surfaces with EPA registered disinfectant cleaning solutions, hygiene barrier cleaning, the proper application of virucides, and disinfecting furniture and fixtures. Workers for this service are equipped with head to toe level 4 PPE. KBS has performed over 120,000 COVID responses since the crisis began and can deploy teams nationwide.
Infrastructures for Health
For retail establishments, cleaning and disinfecting are part of an entire infrastructure and strategy. The more these strategies are integrated, the more effective they can be. For example, KBS is working with retailers to supply and install hygiene barriers. Working with clients, KBS team members examine touch point cleaning protocols and customer pathways and habits. They then make recommendations about where these barriers can be installed and how they are to be cleaned. Working with retail operators, KBS experts test surfaces and determine high traffic areas in customer facing spaces and also in worker break rooms and other areas to make further recommendations around hygiene barriers and enhanced touch point cleaning.
Maintaining healthy operations will be a major factor for retail environments in the foreseeable future. Cleaning and disinfecting scope and frequency will need to be enhanced, advanced technologies to verify efficacy should be leveraged and entire infrastructures that enable safe interaction between employees and customers implemented. Partnering with KBS is an important step to help ensure these goals are efficiently and effectively integrated for retailers to successfully operate in the acute and post pandemic environment.
For additional information, please contact us.