Industry to gather in Berlin for WFBSC congress

30th of June 2017 Article by Markus Asch
Industry to gather in Berlin for WFBSC congress

Markus Asch, vice chairman of the management board at cleaning solutions manufacturer Kärcher and president of EUnited Cleaning, writes his latest blog for ECJ. He looks ahead to the forthcoming World Federation of Building Service Contractors (WFBSC) congress in Berlin from September 18-20.

One of this year's industry highlights is fast approaching - the WFBSC Congress, which will take place parallel to the CMS cleaning trade exhibition in Berlin in this year. It is rare to find so much expertise relating to cleaning services in one city.

The theme of the WFBSC Congress 2017 is Cleaning in a Digital World. In this environment, everywhere we look the existing pressure of costs and focus on efficient, feasible solutions are of major importance in our sector, which means that digitalisation must also demonstrate its benefits. What we see at present is a change from static, purely experience-based cleaning to dynamic, knowledge-based concepts. But what does this mean specifically and what is behind it?

Whereas a warehouse is cleaned three times wet and once dry, because this is what is stipulated in a plan, cleaning in future can take place at precisely the right time with the exact method required. On the one hand, the drivers for such cleaning-on-demand models are building operators and users, who attach increasing importance to demand-based cleaning.

On the other hand, pressure is increasing from major players in facility management, who are incorporating more and more services into their portfolios with a greater emphasis on cleaning on demand. It is therefore vital to be prepared for these developments and to use innovative concepts for new business models. Why should building service providers not offer a basic rate for basic cleaning services and charge different rates for specific cleaning-on-demand models?

Digital control through to the recording of visitor satisfaction ensures the necessary transparency for the building operator to provide proof of the services that have been rendered and invoice those services.

To achieve this, the key factor is Smart Data, ie, intelligent working with data. With this, the boundaries between the cleaning sector and other areas are becoming even more blurred than before. Because we naturally ask ourselves the question: what data acquisition systems are already available that can provide us with information on the utilisation of buildings and, in turn, the level of cleaning required. These include, for example, lighting, heating or lift sensors.

With suitable partners, we can combine this information and make it usable on a data platform for cleaning service providers. We can also develop our own sensors in order to manage cleaning in buildings based on data. Which method is the most meaningful or whether a combination of platform strategy and our own sensors would be more useful, only time will tell.

To realise cleaning on demand, Smart Data alone is not sufficient. Because when I have determined where there is a cleaning requirement on a data-controlled basis - how do I achieve smart control of cleaning personnel in buildings? Similarly to Google Maps, the mapping of buildings plays a central role. Another important element is the integration of autonomous cleaning machines. It is necessary to question which tasks can be handled on an automated basis, what effects these developments have on cleaning personnel and where scope for more skilled tasks is provided through automation.

Last but not least, we also have to ask ourselves what the regional differences are, where we will encounter which infrastructure and which habits. At present, the Asiatic region is making advances in some technologies and is one step ahead of us digitally in some respects. This gives rise yet again to other possibilities, including for smart cleaning solutions of the future.

In my opinion, this brief overview shows how interesting and controversial the field is in which we work. As part of my talk at the WFBSC Congress, I will also explain how we at Kärcher are currently testing different technologies at our headquarters in order to make cleaning on demand a live experience. However no more can be revealed at this point. I look forward to seeing you in Berlin!

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