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Restrooms occupy about 5% of a building’s space but account for nearly 80% of complaints received. Of those complaints, more than half are related to supply shortages or stock-outs. Stock-outs, which happen when you run out of product, are a common issue for commercial restrooms and occur most frequently during high-traffic periods. Ensuring that your restrooms are fully stocked can help reduce the number of complaints you receive. 

Fully stocked restrooms are also important in maintaining a sanitary environment. For example, if there is a stock-out of paper towels, some people will not dry their hands, while others may choose not to wash them, leaving their hands covered in germs. These germs are then easily spread throughout the facility. 

Preventing stock-outs is an important part of maintaining your facility. But it’s simply not possible to have someone attend to every bathroom all day long. Your staff’s time is valuable, especially with ongoing labor shortages and tightening budgets. So, how else can you prevent stock-outs?

There are several different ways to prevent stock-outs from happening. You’ll want to start by addressing some of the root causes of stock-outs. Then, you can evaluate the options available to help prevent stock-outs suited to your needs. 

Before you can begin, you should determine what is causing your stock-outs. There are two main causes of restroom stock-outs: 

  1. Incorrect Cleaning Schedule
  2. Product Selection

Every facility needs a different cleaning schedule, depending on its traffic patterns and usage. Understanding the traffic patterns and normal usage are important steps in developing the right schedule. 

Most facilities will have consistent high-traffic times. For example, a restaurant will likely see more traffic at dinner time than an office building. At schools, there is more traffic during break times than during class periods. You may need to increase the number of times a restroom is stocked during high-traffic times versus slow-traffic times. 

Restrooms throughout your facility may also have different usage rates, which must be considered in your schedule. For example, a first-floor restroom may have higher usage rates than a fifth-floor restroom. Because of this, the first-floor restroom may need to be checked more often than the fifth-floor restroom to ensure dispensers remain stocked. 

A cleaning schedule that considers your facility’s needs can help prevent stock-outs. 

Your staff has other duties than maintaining the restrooms. Sometimes, other duties need to be prioritized, or they simply take longer than expected. With labor shortages, you may have a reduced staff that must prioritize all maintenance duties. 

All these things can lead to infrequent restroom checks, leading to stock-outs. It’s important to ensure regular checkups to keep your restrooms stocked. 

After-hours maintenance is a popular choice for cleaning facilities. It can streamline the process for maintenance staff as they do not have to work around other facility staff and projects. 

While this can be an effective tool for most maintenance, it can be detrimental to restroom upkeep. With an after-hours only schedule, your facility needs to have enough dispenser capacity to handle the entire day’s traffic. In higher-traffic facilities, this may be difficult to achieve. 

If you choose an after-hours cleaning program, you may want to consider a day porter as a possible solution to keeping restrooms stocked as well as any other time-sensitive issues. A day porter service will restock the restrooms but does not perform the cleaning tasks of a janitor. 

If your restroom does run out of supplies, there may be no one there to refill the dispensers until the night shift returns. 

The current product dispensers in your facility also play an important role in ensuring that your restrooms remain stocked. 

The product dispensers you are using may have been installed when the building was constructed or by a previous business owner. This selection may not have been based on the amount of traffic that the restroom experiences now. Or, maybe you selected the dispensers, but advancements in technology were made, or your needs have changed.

Because of this, you may experience stock-outs simply because your dispensers cannot handle the capacity of the restroom traffic. You’ll want to select product dispensers that can keep up with the traffic your restrooms experience. 

Traffic patterns can also change over time. For example, an office building may have seen a significant decrease in traffic in the spring of 2020 as many companies shifted to work-from-home models instead of using offices. Since then, traffic has likely increased again as companies return to an in-person or hybrid model of work. The dispenser capacity needed in 2020 will not likely be the same now.

To prevent restroom stock-outs, you may need to reevaluate your traffic patterns and determine if the current capacity of your product dispensers is able to handle the traffic the restroom experiences. 

Once you understand the root cause of your stock-outs, you can try to address the problem internally, such as adjusting your cleaning schedule to fit the needs of the facility. However, an internal adjustment may not always work, especially with labor shortages. 

So, what is the best way to prevent restroom stock-outs?

The best way to prevent restroom stock-outs is by installing high-capacity dispensing systems. High-capacity dispensers can significantly increase the amount of product available in your restroom. This can reduce the number of times your staff has to return to the restroom to fill product, allowing them to focus more on other high value cleaning and disinfecting tasks. 

High-capacity dispensers are available for many of your restroom products, including:

  • Paper Towel Dispensers 
  • Toilet Tissue Dispensers
  • Soap and Sanitizer Dispensers

These dispensers are designed to accommodate high-usage facilities and are generally inexpensive. Depending on the dispenser and the amount you need, you may even be eligible for reduced-cost or free dispensers. 

High-capacity paper towel dispensers can accommodate larger paper towel rolls, sometimes up to 250% more paper towels than a standard dispenser. 

Our Victoria Bay product line offers several high-capacity dispenser options. The Push Lever Roll Towel Dispenser has a universal design fitting most 8” x 8” roll towels that are up to 800’ in length. It has a compact design that is up to 25% smaller than other dispensers, which makes it a great option if your high-traffic restroom is short on space. 

We also have automated and manual paper roll towel dispensers that are designed specifically as high-capacity dispensers. The white and kraft roll towels available for these dispensers are 1150’ in length. With an 11” cut, each roll can provide more than 1200 paper towels. 

Larger rolls will serve more users without adding additional dispensers for your team to have to monitor and replenish. With more product available, you can serve more users between restocks and prevent restroom stock-outs between your regular restroom check-ups. 

If you need high-capacity toilet paper dispensers, there are two different design options: dispensers holding larger rolls and dispensers holding more rolls. 

Both dispenser options can significantly increase the amount of toilet paper in your restroom. Some high-capacity toilet paper dispensers can hold as much as 6 times more paper than a standard dispenser.

Our Victoria Bay line has several different high-capacity toilet paper dispenser options. 

There are two high-capacity dispensers designed for universal jumbo rolls.

The Victoria Bay Toilet Paper Dispenser in Plastic Black Translucent Jumbo (VBTTDSJSB) holds a single jumbo roll while the Victoria Bay Toilet Paper Dispenser in Black Translucent 2-Roll Jumbo Jr (JRT) Side-By-Side (VBTTDSJTB) can hold two jumbo rolls, side by side. These jumbo rolls can come in sizes up to 1000’ long. 

In comparison, a standard universal toilet paper roll (4” sheet length x 500 sheets) has less than 200’ feet of paper. A jumbo roll can have more than five times the amount of toilet paper. The side-by-side option doubles that capacity. 

The Victoria Bay line also features a coreless system of high-capacity toilet paper dispensers. This system comes in 2-roll and 4-roll options. The toilet paper for this system has 1700 sheets per roll, more than three times the amount of a standard universal toilet paper roll. 

The coreless system also helps prevent waste. A simple guard prevents the removal of a stub roll before it is fully used. Because only one roll is available at a time, the stub roll must be fully used before the next roll can be used. 

The different high-capacity dispenser options available provide you with many opportunities to select the best fit for your facility’s needs. Whether you need a small increase in capacity or a significant one, a high-capacity toilet paper dispenser can help reduce stock-outs, waste, and the time your staff must spend supplying each restroom. 

It’s also important to ensure that your soap and sanitizer dispensers can handle the high traffic as well. High-capacity dispensers can provide thousands of dispenses. 

The VB10 dispenser  from Victoria Bay can provide over 1000 dispenses in a single refill. These automatic dispensers have the added benefit of batteries on the refill. Your team will never have to spend time replacing batteries and your guests can be sure the dispenser will never run out of battery. 

If you need even more capacity, GOJO has a 5000mL capacity dispenser which can provide more than 3000 dispenses on a single refill. 

High-capacity dispensers for soap and sanitizer will help prevent your restrooms from running out of product. These dispensers can significantly increase the amount of product available in the restroom. Because these high-capacity dispensers have more dispenses per refill, more users will be served with each dispenser. In addition to reducing the number of times your staff has to replace the product, high-capacity soap and sanitizer dispensers can help prevent the spread of germs throughout your entire facility. 

While high-capacity dispensers are the best option to help prevent restroom stock-outs in most facilities, they are just one of many options available to you.  

Two main dispenser tools are available to help your facility prevent restroom stock-outs:

  • Visible Product Level Aids
  • Electronic Dispensers 

These dispenser tools can help make your staff more efficient and reduce costs. 

To check product levels at a glance, visual product level aids are available with all of the dispenser types – paper towel, toilet tissue, and soap and sanitizer – you may use in your restroom. Visual product level aids are features on a dispenser that allow you to check the product level of a dispenser without needing a key to open them. 

The main type of visual product level aids are windows or clear openings on the dispenser that allow people to view that product levels at a glance. Some dispensers may use a low indicator light instead.  

Because of the visual product level aids, staff don’t have to take the time to open every single dispenser in your restroom. This time-saving tool becomes more valuable the more dispensers you have in your facility. 

Visual product level aids can also decrease the amount of product waste at your facility. If your staff are already opening a dispenser to check levels, they may be more likely to replace a product before it needs to be to avoid having to check them again. 

Premature changeouts create unnecessary product waste, resulting in higher costs for your facility. By having a direct view of the product level, your team will be less likely to change out products too early. 

These visual product level aids are a simple but effective tool in helping not only prevent restroom stock-outs, but also in increasing your team’s efficiency and decreasing wasted product. 

Electronic dispensers are another great tool to help prevent restroom stock-outs.

Automatic electronic dispensers control the amount of product that is dispensed. This pre-set amount of product – whether its paper towels, hand soap, or hand sanitizer – helps prevent waste by users. By reducing the amount of waste from the users, products will last longer in your restroom. 

Some electronic dispensers can track the usage levels through cloud-based connections. These Internet of Things (IoT) devices have sensors in them that communicate with online data collection systems. This allows you to monitor, track, and see real time data on dispenser levels. You can resolve issues before your guests can become aware of them. 

There are IoT devices that can send alerts about low product levels, jammed devices, low battery, and more.  Many of these systems also send confirmation messages to verify an issue has been resolved. 

In short, IoT devices take the guesswork out of stocking your restrooms. Your staff can spend more time focusing on cleaning and disinfecting tasks rather than unnecessary restroom product changeouts. 

Final Thoughts 

Stock-outs are a common issue and represent a significant number of the complaints businesses receive. If you can prevent restroom stock-outs, you can reduce complaints and create a better guest experience. 

It’s not feasible to give every restroom in your facility constant attention, so you need to find other ways to ensure that your restrooms don’t run out of products. 

The best way for most facilities is to switch to high-capacity dispensers. These dispensers can significantly increase the amount of product available in your restrooms for paper towels, toilet paper, and soap and sanitizer. 

From visual display aids to IoT connected devices providing real-time updates, there are additional tools to help you ensure that your facility does not experience stock-outs. 

Connect with the experts at Imperial Dade to help you find the best solution for your facility’s specific needs.  

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