Industry outlook 2020: Part one

Industry leaders share their predictions on the year ahead.

INCLEAN asked some of the industry’s senior executives their predictions on the trends set to shape 2020. 

Steve Agar, joint managing director, Agar Cleaning Systems

“In relation to the industry generally, we seem to have reached a tipping point where automation like robotic cleaning machines have evolved to be viewed as practical and viable to more customers. Gathering and using data digitally from machines and devices to support service delivery and to optimise processes will start to become more widespread.

“The ‘cradle to grave’ life cycle will also receive more consideration. This includes everything from the recycling and re-using of solid chemical packaging, avoiding plastic film to selecting more durable cleaning equipment which can be re-cycled at the end of its life.

“Ethical business will be topical as businesses continue to work on corporate social responsibility, and the Modern Slavery Laws filter through the marketplace. Regulatory scrutiny and enforcement will continue to rise and place pressure on players who try to take shortcuts.”

Poonam Datar, CEO, Cleaning Accountability Framework

“Next year will see many companies deliver their first modern slavery statements under the Modern Slavery Act. Entities who have completed their first assessment will have likely identified cleaning as a high-risk industry, particularly if most of their operations and suppliers are based in Australia.

“In many organisations, the responsibility for addressing these risks falls to a mix of procurement, sustainability, risk, legal and operations experts, many of whom will have little to no social auditing experience. This is expected given the social auditing space in Australia remains relatively small and emerging. While there is currently a shortage of trained social auditors, increased interest in social (and payroll) compliance is likely to further develop this industry.

“CAF is one of the few organisations leading the way in social auditing, and we are looking forward to the growth of this industry. However, one trend we hope to see develop alongside social auditing in 2020 is organisations understanding the need to invest in follow up on audit findings which can often be more challenging than the audit itself.”

Bridget Gardner, director, Fresh Green Clean

“Sustainability in 2020 will be focused on waste management and being able to offer solutions beyond the standard sorting and removal of waste. The opportunity for service providers will be finding ways to ‘close the loop’ and tap into the circular economy.

“For cleaning companies this means finding buyers for their client’s waste material. This could mean partnering directly with recycling facilities that repurpose waste materials into usable materials rather than just relying on waste management companies. The business sector needs smarter solutions for waste prevention and reuse – that’s where the opportunity lies.

“The second focus will be on carbon and business’ reducing their carbon footprints. Using equipment that reduces the use of energy, and it’s still a significant use of energy in cleaning, will be important. It’s only just starting to be talked about in business, but it will boom as soon as it turns the corner. It’s my prediction 2020 will be the year government will be forced to be proactive because big business is pushing this movement. Other focus areas will be around building well-being such as indoor air quality, and social sustainability.”

Frank Cupido, managing director, Hako Australia

“Demand for robotic scrubbers continues to grow and evolve. Sustainable solutions in floor cleaning equipment is also gaining more momentum and given less lip service. Quality solutions are being sought more than previous years and I believe this will continue. The Modern Slavery Act will also start to bring to the surface higher standards of cleaning and higher expectations of quality cleaning equipment.”

Scott Davies, CEO, ISS Facility Services Australia

“The big trend we see is around workplace experience, and the growing understanding of the role FM service providers can play improving the experience and engagement of customers, employees and visitors on-site. The focus on sustainability will also continue in 2020, primarily on reducing water, power and waste. There will be a growing expectation on service providers to have a robust solution in response to these issues, rather than it be considered an add-on service.”

Hamish Matheson, region president, Karcher Australia 

“One of the trends will certainly be a continued shift towards battery technology. The technology continues to grow as cleaning operators require increased access without the limitations of electrical cords. Another big trend is digitalisation: more online based tools and solutions will improve cleaning efficiency and provide transparency for end customers.”

Luke Bordin, CEO, Learning Sphere Training Solutions 

“The cleaning industry will see a greater need for staff to do more than just clean. This isn’t new, but demand has grown for cleaners to be able to understand and adopt better techniques, such as minimising the use of chemicals and water.”

Greg Hill, Product Manager, Makita Australia 

“Customers are becoming more aware of the issues related to having too much weight in a product. In some cases, a few 100g can be the difference in deciding one product over another, particularly for handheld products like stick vacuums and blowers. This will continue to be a factor in the decision-making process and as OHS requirements continue to dictate the specifications of products; we will see more products become compact.”

Mark Piwkowski, CEO, Quayclean 

“We will see many more organisations aligning with the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals. These goals are the responsibility of all industry and the cleaning industry has an important role to play.We will see an increase in the use robotics and technology for periodical activity that contribute to delivering higher levels of productivity.

“Environmental matters will be a priority. The industry needs to be committed to real measurable green initiatives. We need to consider the carbon positive impacts of our actions, a focus towards chemical free cleaning, and the reduction water usage for cleaning and sanitisation.

“We will also see a greater awareness by commercial, government and private organisations of the true cost of employing cleaning personnel, and their responsibility to ensure tenders focus on correct payment of staff and operations.”

Chad Angeli, general manager, Tennant Australia

“At a Tennant corporate level, we are going to get much more focused on products and technologies where we have a competitive advantage, and less distracted in areas we do not. We will be applying the same logic to our Australian strategy and offering. The back and forth between the US and China sends ripple effects to many other economies (good and bad). This could pick up in 2020 with the US election in November.

Read INCLEAN’s inaugural Industry Leaders Forum Report in the upcoming January/February issue of INCLEAN magazine 

Read the November/December issue of INCLEAN magazine online

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