Today's commercial cleaning and facility services providers are operating in a tough and complex environment. With many serious issues to consider such as immigration and health care reform, there are also several trends that need to be considered by businesses when planning for the future. Generally driven by customer demand, these include cost control, better training and management of labor, greener cleaning options and utilization of technology solutions to improve cleaning services.
Let's take a look at each of these important cleaning industry trends in more detail:
1. Cost control
The cleaning industry is under significant pressure to keep costs down whilst maintaining high standards of service. Clients are asking, "How can we get more for less?"
This means cleaning providers should put in place solutions that help get the most out of their workforce. Examples include training and process improvements to increase productivity, outsourcing labor, leveraging automation, and offering integrated services to improve cost efficiencies and increase contract size.
Whilst a cost leader approach is not always the best strategy, cleaning providers should be exploring how they can reduce operating costs whilst maintaining or even improving service standards.
2. Training & Employee management
Cleaning companies are in the business of managing labor, with the labor content of most contracts usually being more than 75% of the contract price. Thus it's no surprise that training and employee management is becoming a high priority for many companies. Effective training and management of employees leads to increased productivity, higher delivery standards, and more satisfied employees.
Commercial cleaning companies would do well to put in place regular and structured training for employees. Many companies fall into the trap of conducting training for new employees, but forget to deliver the ongoing training required to improve the standard of service delivery. Workforce mobile apps and learning management platforms like Mindflash are great tools to deliver ongoing training and ensuring that employees are meeting the required standards.
Related reading: 5 Ways Task Management Software Can Improve Facility Services
3. Green Cleaning
Customers have become more aware of how their businesses impact the environment and human health and so are demanding greener cleaning products and services from providers. What's more, in some US states the government has even mandated green cleaning in schools.
If facility managers and property owners want to create a sustainable and safe environment in a cost effective way, they need to look at how cleaning materials are sourced, manufactured, distributed, used and disposed of.
“Green cleaning is the ante card; if you don’t do green cleaning or have green chemicals, you’re not in the game,” says David Holly, deputy director of the Green Cleaning Network, a US-based non-profit that helps end confusion about green cleaning. “But the raises have gone up and up and up, and we’re way beyond that now. Our industry needs to keep catching up and understanding that there are some very, very, very intelligent people managing facilities and they’re reading about this stuff and understand sustainability. It’s no longer enough to say you have green chemicals."
Commercial cleaning companies should be looking to implement green cleaning programs that not only take into account accredited products, but also consider processes, training, equipment, and environmental leadership. When hiring outside cleaning service providers, many customers have begun to mandate that providers are third-party certified to even bid on a contract.
Today, technology is playing a great role in driving greater labor efficiencies and outcomes in the commercial cleaning sector. Employee mobile apps are driving significant productivity gains by eliminating inefficient and inaccurate paper-based processes. IoT sensors are being used to put in place new models like demand based cleaning. Automated processes and robots are being used to complete repetitive cleaning tasks and free up human labor for more important tasks. Big data is helping drive better understanding and smarter decisions.
Commercial cleaning companies should be playing close attention to cleaning industry trends and technology solutions that can help them be more efficient and deliver better service to their customers. The winners will be those that are willing to experiment with technology and find out what works and what doesn't.
Related reading: Infographic: 5 Technologies Set To Disrupt Facilities Management