Just like in any manufacturing facility, employees’ hands get dirty and require frequent washing with abrasive products, which can cause irritation and discomfort. Because of the chemicals involved, many of these products can also be less-environmentally friendly. The challenge for Ed Hawes, onsite Wolseley Industrial Group project manager, was to find a cost-effective, more sustainable, and gentler way to clean workers’ hands.
“While we are always looking to find product options that will provide a better experience for employees and help meet sustainability goals, cost containment is a big driver for us and our customers,” said Hawes. “We were using a fairly inexpensive product with okay results, and we thought it was the best we could do at that price point until the Deb Group  offered a unique solution.”
Wolseley Industrial relies on vendors to keep them abreast of new products and market solutions. Hawes and his team were approached by representatives from Deb who were interested in conducting a trial of their new product at his plant. GrittyFOAM, the first-ever heavy-duty foaming hand cleanser with suspended scrubbers, was specifically designed to handle tough industrial cleaning requirements without the damage and irritation caused by other heavy-duty cleansers. Based on the fact that the foam format requires the use of less product, the Deb team was confident that it could provide a far superior product at the same or lower price than what they were currently using. They also assured Wolseley Industrial associates that, unlike their present product, GrittyFOAM was a much more environmentally-friendly bio-certified option.
“The Deb team set up GrittyFOAM dispensers in some of our heavier traffic areas for several months to prove the product’s effectiveness, gauge employee satisfaction, and demonstrate the promised cost savings,” added Hawes. “We know that our employees, some of whom had complained of hand irritation, are not shy, so we waited for feedback, and it came in a big way.”
Figure credit: Durrant, Ann; McKay, Alexandra. How a simple change in the washroom can significantly reduce water consumption and associated costs. Media4change (UK) Ltd.
“After testing for several months, it became apparent that everything Deb promised was true,” noted Hawes. “GrittyFOAM not only required less product per handwash, but it also helped with sustainability goals by using less water and therefore less energy.”
According to Deb, GrittyFOAM uses 3 milliliters of foam per handwash versus competitive products that use, on average, 4.4 milliliters of soap per handwash. On a per liter basis, GrittyFOAM delivers at minimum 25 percent more handwashes—reducing labor in changing out cartridges. GrittyFOAM also requires only one push on the cartridge compared to competitive products where the user is pushing on average two times to get enough product for a complete handwash.
The positive comments from workers rolled in as well.
Based on the outcomes, Wolseley Industrial quickly decided to permanently switch to GrittyFOAM throughout the facility.
“Our Deb team was very responsive and hands on, which made it so easy for us to convert,” said Hawes. “Rather than being hard-sell, they are solutions driven, and with their expert help and hands-on service, we were able to provide employees with a premium, more sustainable product while actually reducing overall costs. That’s a pretty big feat in our industry.”
Ed Hawes’ advice to facility managers and professionals choosing MRO materials:
- It can be easy to look at items like this as a commodity buy. Having a great product really makes a difference to workers, so explore all the options available to you in your price range.
- Don’t judge the cost by how much the container is; judge by how much product is actually consumed, and look at other potential savings areas like water and energy.
- Share your questions and areas of concern with vendors and choose only to work with helpful providers who offer new and fresh ideas and top-notch service.
- Many vendors will promise the moon, so try to field test products before making a final decision.
- Make sure they work in your environment and for your unique needs, and verify promised cost savings.
- It’s not enough for the product to be effective. Test the quality of the dispensers and holders as well, to eliminate future issues.
Just like in any manufacturing facility, employees’ hands get dirty and require frequent washing with abrasive products, which can cause irritation. Because of the chemicals involved, many of these products can also be less-environmentally friendly. The challenge for Hawes, Wolseley project manager, was to find a cost-effective and more sustainable way to clean workers’ hands.