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OM in the News: It’s “Ready, Set, Clean” at Marriott

July 9, 2013

marriottConsistency is the lifeblood of great branding, and to that end Marriott has taken something as seemingly simple as tidying up a hotel room in about 20 minutes and turned it into an  exact science. In fact, company execs treat the 66-step manual as though it were a state secret, according to Forbes (July 15, 2013). Here is a play-by-play, which makes a great example when you are talking about labor standards in Chapter 10, Human Resources, Job Design, and Work Measurement:

“Always knock three times before entering a room. Place clean fitted sheets on the nightstand. Strip the bed, and use dirty fitted sheet as a package for the rest. Inspect bed for stains. Smooth out mattress pad. Place clean fitted sheet on right side of bed, and start with top corner, move to bottom right corner and cover in a clockwise progression. Do not “billow” sheets in order to prevent tired arms.

When cleaning a nightstand, first wipe lamp base and shade and then the stand’s surfaces and drawers, including inside. Use the yellow rag with all-purpose spray in the yellow bottle. Wipe the nightstand’s glass top with a blue rag, using the blue bottle. Wipe the phone and clock. The telephone’s handset and faceplate should be wiped clean and free of marks. The cord must be bound neatly. Check that the alarm clock works and that it is set to the correct time. Make sure the alarm is off.

Before leaving, check the drapes to ensure they are in good shape and in proper position. Make sure the carpets and their edges are vacuumed and free of spots and tears. Tops of pictures must be dust-free as should be the ice buckets and windowsills. Check that the thermostat works and is set properly and that the room has a neutral odor.”

Discussion questions:

1. Why does Marriott have step-by-step instructions for almost all its operations functions?

2. How do you think these labor standards were developed? (See Ch.10 for ideas).

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Reva Shader permalink
    July 9, 2013 12:42 am

    I am impressed with the instructions for cleaning the rooms.

  2. Howard Weiss permalink
    July 9, 2013 12:58 pm

    I have stayed at hotels, mainly in Europe, where each room was cleaned by two people rather than one. This seemed more efficient to me because from my experience at home two people can make a bed in less time than one person. I wonder if Marriott has ever considered using pairs to clean the rooms?

    On a different note I hope that one of the steps is to turn off the alarm. We have been awakened by an alarm that was set by the people who stayed in the room before we did.

  3. July 9, 2013 2:37 pm

    Howard, Thanks for the idea. It reminds me of Costco, which always uses 2 people to check the customer out at the register. Very efficient.

  4. July 9, 2013 7:29 pm

    I would not be surprised if the two person rule supports security and prevents claims of theft from hotel rooms. I believe we would all agree that modern process management requires clearly documented steps. Clearly defined steps eliminate confusion for the employee and support conformity of service deliver.

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