Karla Johnson, President and Owner, LACOSTA Facility Support ServicesKarla Johnson, President and Owner
RING, RING … The COVID-19 pandemic was a wakeup call for organizations to pay more attention to their cleaning, sanitization, and disinfecting initiatives. Even though cleaning workspaces and high-touch surfaces were not uncommon previously, the pandemic made it a regular high priority mandate for companies. Along with this, the growing concerns around employee health and safety increased the demand for proficient janitorial services bringing an “after-hours activity” into the limelight. While smaller companies were able to cope with this spiraling demand with an in-house janitorial team, larger companies lacked the necessary resources and expertise to maintain the necessary cleanliness and disinfection protocol across massive workspaces. This resulted in a growing and immediate need to outsource janitorial services to not only meet their cleanliness, health, safety, and productivity goals but also assist in saving their time, money, and resources.

For over three decades, LACOSTA Facility Support Services has positioned itself as one of the leading high-quality janitorial services providers. “We are an MBE Corporate Plus certified national services provider. Our company has the infrastructure and the capacity to provide flawless operation delivery by leveraging technology, teamwork, standard operating procedures, and best practices,” states Karla Johnson, the President and Owner of LACOSTA.

In conversation with Manage HR, Karla mentioned how the company’s core strengths are around achieving and maintaining safe, clean, and efficient work environments by offering innovative and sustainable solutions to clients year over year.

What led to the conception of LACOSTA?

I have been driven by an entrepreneurial spirit from an early age. Taking the legacy of my parents’ real estate development and property management business forward, I soon decided to venture into the cleaning and disinfection business. And this led to the genesis of LACOSTA. Our rich company history wouldn’t be complete without talking about my husband, Rob, and how we not only merged our lives but our cleaning businesses as well. Today we provide full facility support solutions to clients and continue to grow year over year.

We are essentially in the people business and always strive to partner with clients to ensure clean, healthy, safe, and efficient work environments. We cater to larger organizations and bring innovative solutions that translate to real value in soft and hard cost savings. This process-driven approach has helped us maintain average customer retention of over 12 years. With our in-house services, we source talented individuals, onboard, develop, and allow our clients to focus on critical components to drive their business forward.

Our company has the infrastructure and the capacity to provide flawless operation delivery by leveraging technology, teamwork, standard operating procedures, and best practices

What are some of the major challenges clients face today, and how do you address those?

Large enterprises have varying challenges concerning disinfecting and sanitation. The current scenario has driven most of our clients to prioritize workplace safety and the health and wellbeing of employees to ensure maximum productivity. In response, we have been able to successfully customize and support them in every situation and environment. Our high-touch sanitization protocols help ensure a clean and safe workplace while allowing clients to have complete visibility into our services. Our team also emphasizes properly using and applying all chemicals for disinfecting environments, surfaces, and equipment without damaging them.

Can you elaborate on your capabilities?

Our core offering is the UniShield system constituting five concepts that come together to form the fundamental philosophy that drives our organization. These five elements are represented as individual shields embodying their unique purpose to serve clients better. The first component is the ReliaShield that provides the tools, procedures, and training required to drive consistency. We then have the CompliaShield encompassing our audit system and several actions, procedures, and policies to ensure compliance with our clients’ expectations. Following that is our InvisiShield, which works at the system’s backend and ensures we meet all the CDC, FDA, GMP, and OSHA standards to protect people, products, and our customers. Finally, our UniShield system also comes with the PredictaShield, which embodies our technology stack to predict the clients’ specific requirements. It comes with triggers to reset and perform additional analysis wherever necessary, along with our predictive scheduling model that ensures all necessary resources are available to complete a client’s scope of work.

We drive our business using LEAN methodology. We have LEAN-trained staff, enabling us to deliver efficient, innovative solutions. The solutions we consistently provide result in longterm strategic partnerships with our clients. We consistently add value to our clients, employees, and the community. We also have a seasoned leadership team that utilizes LEAN methodology to proactively manage every partnership.

Our depth and breadth of services allow clients to consistently maintain all critical workflows. For example, we helped a large auto parts manufacturer save over $150,000 a year with our UniShield system. Saving time, money, and valuable resources is the core of a partnership with LACOSTA. To ensure long-term value, we perform monthly, quarterly and annual reviews to identify additional business efficiencies and showcase the added value received when collaborating with us.

What truly sets you apart as an organization?

Only 1 in every 80,000 minority enterprises earns the distinction of being a Corporate Plus MBE. LACOSTA has earned this honor and stands above others in this space because of our trademarked UniShield System, which enables us to consistently deliver expertise and reliability. Whether in a manufacturing plant, a warehouse, or a corporate campus, LACOSTA’s had the unique ability to maximize the results of our people and processes to produce high productivity support services at our clients’ facilities. We do this in all three of our service lines. Those service lines not only include janitorial and sanitization services but also labor support such as forklift operators, line laborers, and bailers. The third service line performs a myriad of specialty projects, including epoxy coating, machine painting, line striping, and high dusting/cleaning. As you can see, “Grit” is part of our culture. We have the resources of a large company but embody the agility and flexibility of a small company, allowing us to pivot quickly to fulfill clients’ immediate needs.

What does the future hold in store for your company?

We will continue to expand. LACOSTA has a strong operational footprint, and an essential part of our SOP is to ensure we maintain a strong network of LEAN-trained LACOSTA management that works with the team members and ensures outstanding service and delivery. Even though most of our business is east of the Mississippi, we have a strong base in 20 states. We also aim at continuous improvement of technological tools while investing in our people.