Italy’s cleaning sector - challenges and opportunities

19th of March 2018
Italy’s cleaning sector - challenges and opportunities

Lorenzo Mattioli, president of Italian contract cleaning association ANIP, offers an exclusive overview of the country’s market. ANIP is affiliated with Confindustria, which represents and protects the group of companies which provides cleaning services, multi services and integrated services on a national and community level - politically, institutionally, together with trade unions in negotiating National Collective Labour Agreements.

ANIP has over 100 members employing more than 30,000 workers representing a turnover of over €1 billion annually.

Cleaning companies have now gone beyond the simple concept of ‘cleaning’ that may have once existed. Today’s businesses are increasingly involved in ‘governance’, taking care of buildings, and even entire parts of the city - therefore we more frequently use the terms ‘integrated services’ and
‘facility management’.

There are thousands of small and medium sized companies and fewer large ones, the total number was estimated to be 46,027 in 2012 up from 27,399 in 2005. It is no coincidence that the number of calls to tender within the public sector has increased by 22 per cent between 2007 and 2012.

Often, in order to help others understand better this world of integrated services, I refer to a slogan used by the great sociologist Francesco Alberoni during his speech at the first edition of Facility Management LIFE (Labour Intensive Facility Event), organised by ANIP-Confindustria. ‘Services for life’; which makes what was previously the accessory now the main element, as facility services have become important and decisive factors directly impacting on the quality of life, functionality and beauty of the spaces and buildings.

In my opinion there are three scenarios that demonstrate an immediate future where it will be possible to individualise the development and advancement of the market. The first and most important is Industry 4.0 where innovation, ICT, sharing and efficiency through integration of solutions is already being introduced into the arena of ‘smart services’.

The use of communication tools such as M2M (Machine to Machine) is revolutionalising the traditional ways of working within the world of services. The new frontier of automisation allows for integration of systems between service providers which promises levels of efficiency which were unimaginable just a few years ago.

Complementary tech

The path of technological innovation will not be a ‘substitute’ for the workforce, but complementary to it. In this area we want to make clear its distinction when compared to the other sectors - we will remain a ‘labour intensive’ sector, because our technological innovations will not eliminate our jobs but will bring new qualifications and higher levels of professionalism to our employees.

A sustainable future for the country must pass through the services sector. A product, a company, a building, a business, an urban plan in order to be energy efficient, renewable with a low environmental impact must not only be designed with these goals in mind, but more importantly must be managed, maintained, and shared, while continuing to respect its green credentials. This means also economically, through the intelligent sharing of technological innovations connected digitally.

Another very promising scenario is related to the enhancement of cultural heritage, where the role of facility management plays a crucial part in the development and management of Italian cultural heritage. Here there is untapped potential – with their expertise facility management companies are best placed to offer a level of strategic support to cultural heritage management services high enough to enable a modern and sustainable development of Italy’s cultural heritage.

Opportunity

Finally, governments are increasingly being called upon to take care of cities, through the preparation of integrated plans for action for the provision of services to public citizens and in the programming of the management of public affairs (ie, spaces and buildings). Here
there is a scope for integrated services to guarantee concrete results with ongoing urban regeneration policies.

 

Our Partners

  • ISSA Interclean
  • EFCI
  • EU-nited