cleaning industry changes
Sustainability Innovation

A brave new world - changes in the cleaning industry

Friday, 23 June 2023

Harnessing the potential of behavioural change within the commercial cleaning and hygiene sector.

Change is inevitable. In our ever-changing world, we’re constantly faced with new challenges. The cleaning industry is leading the way in finding sustainable, long-term, and versatile solutions to these challenges, resulting in some exciting innovations and advances.

Not only are cleaning and hygiene companies changing the way they do business (from a social, environmental, and ethical point of view), but consumers are becoming far more savvy – actively seeking out products, services and processes which offer reduced costs, increased efficiency, better results and, increasingly, environmentally friendly guarantees.

Working to proactively address market challenges while taking advantage of new opportunities will help companies stay profitable even during downturns in the economy. Demonstrating a willingness to adapt and evolve will also engender trust and loyalty amongst their client bases.

The key to staying productive, efficient, and consistent is utilising the cleaning innovations and advances available to you, such as environmentally preferred cleaning products, sustainable cleaning solutions, data-driven cleaning, robotics, and IoT-enabled cleaning machines – to truly take your cleaning business to the next level.

Although there is still much work to do, the cleaning industry can be very proud of how far it’s come with regards to setting an example for planet friendly practices, innovation, efficiency, and adaptability.

A collaborative and inclusive approach

There has been quite a rapid and evident changing public perception around cleaning and hygiene practices. This involves getting consumers on board to use products and services that are more environmentally friendly and sustainable, and convincing clients (and consumers) to adopt technological innovations that can save them time, money, and resources as well as offer greater efficiency and green cleaning benefits.

This extends to changing traditional cleaning mindsets and protocols. For instance, cleaning only when necessary (based on data-led feedback) to save on resources, time and costs (as opposed to previously employed rigid rosters).

We need to all be looking at the bigger picture and how we can work together to tackle wider social, environmental and economic factors to drive behaviour change campaigns.

A chance to shine

The cleaning industry has come a long way in recent years. Take for instance the boom in cleaning robots used to reduce infection in hospitals and public spaces.

Another example is how sustainability is transitioning from being a 'nice to have' to being a 'must have'. Manufacturers are looking at the entire chain of production, including topics such as cradle-to-cradle and circularity, sustainable packaging, and eco-labelling.

Many of these industry innovations are becoming accepted and respected ‘norms’ within society. However, as much as we need to celebrate these milestones, we can’t afford to become complacent.

Cleaning products lead the way in green cleaning 

The global green cleaning products market is thriving worldwide. Growth in consumer awareness about green cleaning products has led to a surge in high-quality products. Manufacturers of green cleaning products are expanding their R&D efforts to innovate and develop new products. Around 75% of the Ecolabels are awarded for cleaning products.

EU Ecolabels allow consumers of hygiene and cleaning products to quickly and easily make informed choices on their purchases from an environmental perspective.

Established by the European Commission in 1992, the aim of ecolabelling is to identify products or services that have a reduced impact on the environment during their life cycle, thereby supporting sustainability.

Setting an example

The cleaning industry is present everywhere. You’ll be hard pressed to find a sector that doesn’t require the services, products and expertise of the cleaning and hygiene community!

This presents the ideal opportunity for cleaning and hygiene organisations and businesses to become frontrunners and act as flywheels for other industries to follow suit when it comes to making strides in harnessing the synergy between business and, for instance, sustainability.

The cleaning industry has a tremendous responsibility, but also the potential to leverage their combined knowledge, skills and expertise to network and connect with other industries for a better future for all.

Cleaning and hygiene operatives do vital work, protecting the health and wellbeing of others. The public recognises and values this contribution. This leads to credibility in and respect for the cleaning industry as an essential component of a happy, healthy and robust society.

Opportunities for dynamic new business models

When it comes to behaviour change within the cleaning sector, there definitely needs to be a greater focus on thinking about forging new business models and partnerships. We’re also seeing a move away from a client/ supplier relationship towards working together for a common goal.

The race for innovation within facilities management and commercial cleaning is undeniably underway. The winners will be those organisations that successfully evolve their business models, behaviours, and cultures to drive efficiency and productivity, and to empower their people to work harmoniously alongside new technology, sustainability practices and processes, and the like.

Some of the innovative approaches for cleaning businesses include improving cleaning efficiency with new technology, specializing in waste management, boosting cleaning business productivity with software tools, moving fully toward green cleaning, embracing social media marketing, making your service easy for your customers to use, investing in employee training and increasing levels of professionalism.

There is also enormous potential for synergies between the various stakeholders – policy makers, manufacturers, academics, and practitioners can work together to drive behaviour change across the board. In this respect Interclean is proud to be on the forefront of developing exciting opportunities for networking.

Optimistic new talent

Lately there has been an exciting emergence of several dynamic young newcomers to the industry! They bring with them an amazing zest for change, a unique perspective, bright and fresh ideas to disrupt the cleaning scene and an enviable ability to use the power and reach of social media to advance their ideas!

The Interclean team recently had the pleasure of sitting down with two such rising stars in the field of data-led window cleaning. This fascinating podcast featured Heimdall Sensor Intelligence, co-founded by Jeroen Sassen, Joris Dalderup and Gijs Derks. This trailblazing Dutch startup has developed an innovative product for the window cleaning industry. They’re using smart technology to clean windows – saving time, costs and, very importantly - water.

It was the late, great Steve Jobs who said: “Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity – not a threat.” So, let’s embrace behaviour change and look forward to a bright and bold new future!

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