The pandemic initiated a lot of change for a lot of people, most notably those responsible for public safety. Each ensuing wave brought new challenges, new protocols, new imperatives — all requiring creative solutions and rapid implementation. For Manitoba’s Assiniboine Community College, it was the partnership between the Staples Professional Facilities Solutions team and David Taggart, Manager, Health & Safety and Building Operations that ensured consistency and cleanliness for their janitorial staff and the college overall.
With rules and protocols evolving at a quick pace during the pandemic, the school administration was challenged to adapt and implement solutions that met all stakeholder criteria. The Staples Professional Facilities Solutions team was able to work with the college to deliver on all fronts, and that included a mandate to provide products that were environmentally sustainable and readily available. Given Assiniboine’s four campuses, 4,000 students and its remote location roughly two hours from Winnipeg, it was imperative that the solutions offered by Staples Professional could adapt to ever-changing protocols and requirements, especially regarding janitorial needs. Here’s how it all came together.
Coming back to school in a COVID-19 environment
The college had many requirements and Staples Professional worked to systematically deliver solutions. Much of the credit for this work goes to Evan Bennett, Facility Supply Specialist, Manitoba & Saskatchewan, Staples Professional, and his team.
Most pressing was the need to immediately install 223 paper towel dispensers in each classroom, spread among all four campuses, before the start of the school session in early September. This task was brought to Staples Professional’s attention in late June — and like any large project, it involved no shortage of moving parts to complete.
The request really needed to evolve, given the client’s other requirements. So, what started as a simple need for paper towel dispensers became a collaboration. An inspection by the Staples Professional team revealed opportunities for upgrading to products that better met the school’s standards for sustainability. One such instance was the team’s suggestion to convert from a generic paper towel to a proprietary product that better met their sustainability standards. The new product meets EPA minimum requirements for post-consumer waste, and it holds the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) stamp of approval including EcoLogo certifications which include composability. After determining the paper towel product to move forward with, Staples Professional had the dispensers shipped directly from Kimberly-Clark to avoid an unnecessary stop at the distribution centre.
Finally, Staples Professional was able to deliver what would become the preferred mask of Assiniboine Community College (Dent-X ASTM F2100 Level 3 Disposable Medical Face Mask) at the quantities required and a price that worked for them.
Dealing with ongoing immediate needs
Creativity was key, and the Staples Professional team brought it in spades. The college was more than a two-hour drive from Winnipeg and most of the needs required on-site visits to find the solution. Earlier this year, during a site visit to the College, Staples Professional conducted a facility assessment which exposed further opportunities to meet the college’s needs including gloves and masks.
The benefits of working together
When ongoing needs, and new ones that crop up, are addressed professionally, by a team of experts who understand the right solutions for the organization, it can lead to trust, respect and a desire to work together. Staples Professional’s relationship with Assiniboine College has come to include buy-in to Staples Professional programs under Jim Simmons, Director, Capital Projects. At this stage, Staples Professional is now the main vendor for all facility supplies for the college.
“During the course of the last year, working with Evan and the Staples Professional group has provided us with a clear example of a supplier who cares about the needs of their clients and goes the extra mile to delivery results. Multiple times when we needed specific products, had special projects or completely changed how we did our business Evan was there to provide suggestions and support to the process,” says Dave Taggart, Manager, Health & Safety and Building Operations at Assiniboine Community College.
“The solutions that were brought forward to us, allowed us to take our service levels to new heights, and while new processes can come with unseen issues, Evan did an excellent job of assessing them and allowing us to make proactive decisions to ensure that implementation deadlines were met.
At this point, my first call for any information on existing products, new products or equipment needs is to the professional staff at Staples Professional.”