French cleaning companies eager to diversify

10th of December 2019
French cleaning companies eager to diversify

Christian Bouzols reports from France for ECJ.

Despite a slight decrease of its growth rate, the job market for professional cleaners remains on the increase. This is evidenced by the nearly 100,000 cleaning jobs that have been created in France during the past 10 years. The main explanation is that, as companies increasingly subcontract their cleaning and cleaning related tasks, service providers in those areas are constantly developing and improving the range of services that they are able to offer.

Beyond traditional maintenance services, which have progressively become more technical, a large number of cleaning companies are diversifying their services towards client groups such as those in the IT, health, food and pharmaceutical industries, which are bound by very strict hygiene regulations. To meet their requirements, new processes need to be implemented.

As a result Onet, a leading cleaning contractor, has developed methods to both define and control the services it provides to client companies according to their line of business. It begins by carrying out an audit of the client company’s requirements, this being followed by the setting up of a continuous assessment system enabling the monitoring of the quality of the services provided and of the satisfaction of their users.

Based on technological developments, the systems uses a number of applications allowing for the measurement in real time of the satisfaction levels of both clients and their workers, and for the triggering of any corrective actions that might be required.

All this basically involves working towards better trained operators and diversifying the range of services offered to client companies beyond long-term standard cleaning contracts, which means being able to perform specific ad hoc services. Eficium, a French cleaning company, has put in place a range of services which aim to be a natural complement to standard cleaning services by enhancing them with small painting and plumbing jobs, removal tasks, bulb and other light source replacement and deep cleaning of carpets.

Another opportunity is the cleaning of sensitive areas subject to strict cleaning and hygiene standards - such as those found in the food, pharmaceutical, nuclear, hospitality and transport sectors. And of course hospitals and other healthcare establishments.

Cleaning linked services cover other areas as well. For example reception, the management of meeting rooms, the organisation of logistics, distribution of mail, etc. In this regard, Eficium has created a subsidiary called Welcome which specialises in undertaking reception services for companies. A second category would include tasks for the proper maintenance of buildings, such as paint, plumbing, masonry, carpentry and electricity works, plus more ad hoc duties such as salt application, snow removal and pest control. Another example could be waste management.

So cleaning contractors need better qualified operators. That’s why they’re encouraging staff to take training courses that consolidate their work experience and why, in it’s approach towards young people planning to start a cleaning related career, the cleaning sector has put in place specialised curricula going well beyond the secondary schooling certificate. This should help to re-vamp the image of a sector regarded as rather humble by many.


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