As we’ve discussed before, a uniform rental program has many moving pieces that are difficult to track. You rely on your service provider to manage the program. Ultimately, the burden is on you to ensure the program is managed correctly. Random audits are burdensome and can lead to low material benefit. But there are simple steps you can take that are not too time consuming, and that keep your provider on their toes. This post focuses on one simple move you can make to ensure your invoice is accurate, as well as send the message to your provider that you’re paying attention. If you’re leasing or renting mats, you’ll want to try this at least twice a year.

The scope of this problem scales with the size of your mat inventory. The bigger your inventory, the more the problem exponentially scales toward being wrong. If you have a single location with four mats, that’s really easy to keep track of – it will become obvious when your invoice has the wrong inventory amount. We’re talking about larger locations where at least ten mats are placed at various points around the facility. We’ll also include densely placed mats – where they meet edge to edge and cover rows of floor space, like in a manufacturing setting. The point is, it’s a quantity of mats that you can’t keep track of easily. Now, get ready to walk.

A FEW MINUTES OF WALKING CAN KNOCK COST OFF YOUR PROGRAM

Walk WITH your delivery driver. Simply tell him/her you’d like to do a quick walk around of where all the mats are, confirm their quantity and placement, and ensure their quality for safety. (Yup – there’s a safety piece here, too.) You’ll want to do this AFTER the account has been serviced and BEFORE you sign the invoice. Now, here’s what the research indicates: there’s a 26% chance that you are being billed for mats that are NOT in place. There’s also a 17% chance that some of the mats were not switched out with a clean one. In other words, the mat from last week was lifted up, the dirt was shaken out, and it was placed back down. Instead of being replaced. With a clean one. You probably want to think YOUR driver wouldn’t do that. But data doesn’t lie.

You want to ensure that the bill quantity on your invoice matches the actual physical inventory in place. More importantly, if there are mats “missing,” you want to proactively put that error on the provider. Why? Because if the provider happens to catch their own error, it is likely they will bill you the loss of that item. And mats are not cheap to replace. Doing a quick, spur of the moment inspection of your mat positions will help you identify cost reduction options. It will reveal if the supplier is on top of the invoice. It will send a message that you’re paying attention. At the very least, you’ll get a little exercise.

EMPLOYEE SAFETY IS YOUR COMPANY’S RESPONSIBILITY

Your provider assumes no liability if there is an accident as a result of a damaged floor mat. Your company is on the hook to identify mats that need replaced. Yes, that’s correct. Your company is responsible if an employee is injured as the result of a defective or faulty mat. Even if the placement of the mat is incorrect, your company bears the responsibility. Clearly, assuming that your managed provider is actually managing it is not sufficient. It’s also a double-edged sword – since the provider knows they’re not on the hook for liability, they may not be inclined to ensure high quality and proper placement. If you have access to an HSE professional, use them to help you do the evaluation.

There are other slippery parts to a mat program (pun intended), but we won’t get into them here. We wanted to keep this post simple and focused – ensure that you’re being billed the correct quantity, and confirm the condition of the mats for safety concerns. Taking a few minutes a couple times a year will send the message to your supplier that you are paying attention. We help you keep your supplier on their toes.