Chipotle Mexican Grill is repairing a tarnished reputation after it closed a number of restaurants across the country due to what’s been identified as an E. coli outbreak. In February 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 55 people were infected with the E. coli strain from 11 states. Chipotle also was tied to food-borne illnesses in 2015. In response to the outbreak, Chipotle instituted new approaches to handling food and keeping its eateries clean. The company is requiring a comprehensive range of cleaning and sanitizing procedures, cleaning where a lot of customers and workers put their hands throughout the day as well as thoroughly cleaning the entire restaurant at night. Whether an employee mistake or an external threat, the news story highlighted the importance of janitorial and cleaning in places trafficked by a lot of people, and it’s not limited to private sector facilities. Outbreak Prevention and Efficient Procurement are Key Drivers in Public Sector Janitorial Purchasing As outbreaks like Chipotle’s gain national recognition, schools are also working to ensure that maintaining a safe and clean environment for students is consistently a top priority. Poor sanitation in public schools can result in an increase the number of days that students and teachers are absent from school. The CDC reports that colds and the flu cause students to miss nearly 60 million days of school annually. According to Onvia’s database, government contract solicitations and awards to control infectious diseases are most typically issued by elementary and secondary schools. If we want to keep kids in the classroom, and keep them healthy and ready to learn, having a robust infection control program is important.Mark Bishop, VP of Policy, Chicago’s Healthy Schools Campaign The Darlington County School District in South Carolina awarded five contracts to janitorial product and service companies in November 2015 to handle custodial supply and workload across its many facilities. The awarded contracts went to Interline Brands, Hyman Paper and Chemical Co., Central Poly Bag Corp., Coastal Sanitary Supply Co. and Gamecock Chemical. Larger, more complex contracts awarded to multiple vendors at one time, as in the case of the Darlington County School District example, is a janitorial services industry trend that vendors pursuing government business need to be aware of. State, local and education government agencies are increasingly seeking ways to purchase more efficiently and are issuing higher value, longer term contracts to maintain all facilities, rather than just a single building, as one way to achieve their goals. The Lansing School District in Michigan Issued a request for proposals in July 2015 for a 10-year contract. The district wants to implement a plan to improve the appearance and functionality of all its buildings, grounds and security to maintain a cleaner and safer environment for students. The key focus of the contract is to create a cost-effective custodial, maintenance, and energy management services management model for the district. Automated Cleaning Equipment is a Key Driver of Growth in the Janitorial Supply Market According to a December 2015 article from American City and County Federal, state and local governments buy about $2.2 billion in janitorial and sanitation supplies each year. The market makes up about 8.4% of the total U.S. market for supplies, such as paper and plastics, chemicals, supplies, accessories and related power equipment. And it may be said that the public sector will get cleaner still. The Freedonia Group reported in 2015 that the overall U.S. janitorial equipment & supplies market will increase by 2.2% annually through 2019 with sales estimated to reach $7.1 billion per year. Interestingly, automated floor cleaning equipment will drive the market advances. “Automated floor cleaning equipment is forecast to post the fastest and largest gains as the segment continues to recover from its extended downturn. Sales of specialty items and those used on hard surface floors will particularly benefit as janitorial budgets expand,” Freedonia analysts said. The government market for janitorial supplies and services is driven by several factors in its favor: Disease outbreak prevention, the push by government agencies for more efficient purchasing, and automated cleaning equipment. As the spread of diseases in public facilities continue to take headlines in the news and as the public sector seeks to get more out of every dollar spent, the industry will remain a staple in the public sector.