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Bespoke Barcode scanning system to ensure contract success

The Mothercare group comprises two iconic retail brands which are synonymous with children and parenting – Mothercare and Early Learning Centre.

Both brands carry with them a reputation for quality that has to be reflected in the presentation of the company’s 400 high street and out of town stores.

Our relationship with the company goes back almost 20 years.

Having initially been responsible for the cleaning of Mothercare’s Watford head office complex we now clean more than half of all their retail outlets. We have also been awarded the contract to clean the windows at all of the company’s high street stores.

Historically, Mothercare had used a combination of outsourced and in-house labour for its store and window cleaning and we were one of a number of contract cleaning specialists employed by the company.

However, approximately two years ago, the company became dissatisfied with the levels of service it was receiving from the firm responsible for cleaning its shop front windows and approached us for a solution.

Mothercare were being charged for windows that had not been properly cleaned or, in some instances, not cleaned at all, so they wanted a system that recorded the date and exact time of each clean. This information could then be used to ensure that payment was only made once the clean was satisfactorily completed.
We developed a highly effective software-based solution to the problem.

We have given each window at every Mothercare and Early Learning store its own unique barcode identity. In fact, each window has two barcodes -one on the inside and another outside.

The window cleaners are issued with a pocket-sized barcode scanner which they use to record every window they clean and, at the end of each day, they simply download the data from the scanner to a PC and the information is instantly transmitted to our audit system on our main server.

Details of the store, the cleaning operative and the exact window cleaned, together with the time and date of the clean is recorded. This information enables us to produce detailed reports as and when they are required.

Because there was not an ‘off-the shelf’ software package available to provide the kind of information that Mothercare required, we developed a bespoke system in-house which is compatible with our existing on-line audit and management information system.
Such has been the success of the barcode scanning solution that, since we took on the responsibility for Mothercare’s shop windows, not a single retail outlet has ever been overlooked or missed its ‘slot’ on the pre-agreed cleaning schedule. This means that Mothercare are never charged for non-cleans and the day to day cleaning standard of their retail glass is now exceptionally high.