Elisa Montanari Markas Interclean
Sustainability Innovation

Cleaning service provider Markas: Industry Changes and Challenges

Monday, 22 May 2023

Every year we see cleaning industry trends that bring new challenges or solve the old ones. While each company faces a set of challenges at any one time, service companies that offer multi-sector services sometimes have to juggle more.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the issues that are affecting facility managers, the businesses they work for and the service companies they work with.

To get some additional on-the-ground insight, we spoke with Markas, a service company covering many industries, started over 35 years ago, offering a fully integrated range of services.

3 Professional Cleaning Trends: Employment, retention and incentives

Professional cleaning developments during the -pandemic and even in the years before, have made staff hiring and retention a growing sore thumb. Reinforcing recruitment policies, making work more appealing to the emergent demographics and building incentive packages that are competitive all help to attract and retain staff.

For Markas, additional effort is placed on support for those working while also collecting welfare, or government support, as well as revising and improving the company’s work life balance.

Additionally, investment in cleaning equipment and technology that improves the experience of janitorial work helps with retention, as well as results.

To expand their focus on innovation, Markas have implemented a continual process where they look to build an innovative culture for staff. This comprises activities such as challenges and informative workshops so that the company can focus on important elements such as research, development and testing of new products.

Involving staff in innovation means Markas gets a broad set of input into any decision, staff feel valued for their expertise and the company can keep moving towards goals. Such as sustainability.

In 2017, Markas first began to set their sustainability agenda. Inspired and informed by the UN’s sustainability goals, the road to improving sustainability has not always been smooth. But, in 2023, Markas will publish their first sustainability report.

With input from around the company, and with a focus on the practical things that Markas can do to continually improve their sustainability levels.

The Biggest Challenge: increasing costs

While recruitment and retention continue to be areas of focus, like many businesses, Markas have one eye firmly fixed on the changing costs that affect businesses in many industries.

Across the cleaning industry, the pressure and anxiety businesses face are a reflection of cost increases touching on every part of their business. Rising energy costs at commercial facilities, whether they’re shops, facilities or warehouses, supply chain costs impacted by geopolitical events and rising inflation, the latter of which also impacts on consumer spend as wages fail to keep up.

This means that only some of the costs can be passed onto consumers and business partners, the remaining price increases eat into profit margins.

Another factor for Markas in this area is their family run business, which cannot benefit from the large economies of scale that benefit large co-operatives or multinational players. They operate a smaller more personal service, but that leaves them vulnerable.

When your margins are a matter of a few percent, and rising costs and trying to protect your staff eats up more than that, change within the business seems inevitable.

Which stymies innovation, expansion and business development.

Companies that cannot grow or develop their offering through innovation lose ground on commercial development.

Future Focus: Tackling Cleaning Trends

Each business needs to focus on cleaning challenges and trends in their own way, finding the balance that’s right for them.

Businesses are increasingly embracing innovation and collaboration with employees and stakeholders. This creates a forum for staff to offer their insights and ideas on how work can adapt to meet the company’s needs and future considerations. Businesses also reach out to suppliers and other partners to keep them included in open innovation approaches.

In both these approaches, internal and external, there are two things that businesses need in order to drive progress.

Firstly, knowing the direction of travel. What does the company hope to achieve and where do they, their staff and their partners need to be to make that happen?

The other is information.

Solving any problem from scratch is the most difficult way to do it, and often an unproductive one when others have solved the same problem. So effective problem solving requires information about the topics and components of any problem.

A continued focus on innovation and working to find information sources that help develop your business, with expert advice, allows you to adapt to professional cleaning trends in a way that serves your business, your staff and your customers.

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