New reporter wanted

15th of October 2010

Tom Crockford, ECJ's Scandinavian correspondent for many years, has decided to retire.

In writing this regular column, I have tried to give the rest of Europe a glimpse of how the professional cleaning sector operates in Scandinavia. I’m not sure how well I have succeeded in this but it has, nevertheless, been a worthwhile exercise for I feel sure that others in this field can learn much from Scandinavia. Generally speaking, the cleaning industry here does its work well, the vast majority of cleaning contracting companies are competent and well managed, new ideas and technologies are warmly embraced, and everything seems to be functioning well.

This is the picture that I have endeavoured to paint through my articles for this magazine. I have been doing it now for more than 12 years, and perhaps the time has come for a new perspective. So I have decided that as soon as a replacement can be found, I will ride off into the sunset and retire.

So if you – or someone you know – would be interested in taking over the task of reporting six times a year on the state of the cleaning industry in this part of Europe, kindly contact Michelle Marshall. Her email address is at the end of this article. The basics are fairly self-evident, namely a reasonable knowledge of the Scandinavian professional cleaning sector, and of course the ability to string some 500 words together in English.

During these past 12 years I can’t say that I have observed huge changes, though of course some things are different now than they were in the summer of 1998 when my first article appeared. Consolidation of the contracting side of the business has continued with a polarisation towards very big and very small companies. Many mid-size contractors have either grown substantially or been swallowed up in mergers with the big boys. Some have simply disappeared altogether.

On the equipment side Scandinavia is still strongly represented, even though Electrolux sold off its Euroclean division and no longer produces vacuum cleaners of any type in Sweden. And in the accessory market the dry mops, trolleys, cleaning cloths, and so on that once were so very typically Scandinavian, are now being reproduced and manufactured throughout the world.

But if there is one thing that remains as special to this region today, as it did when I first started writing this column, it is the general attitude towards the cleaning industry. It is, I am happy to say, looked upon and treated very much the same as any other business sector, without any stigma attached whatsoever.

While it is true that a considerable percentage of the actual cleaning staff is made up of immigrant workers, there is a healthy investment in training and proper equipment, and there is a real effort made to fully understand cleaning techniques and chemical formulations. Where else do you see so many university graduates choosing to go into cleaning, either as a service provider or an institutional supervisor?

I really hope there is someone out there ready to carry on this work. By reporting on trends and industry developments, one is kept in touch with events and current realities. I have always found writing about cleaning to be an ongoing education, and an excellent means of maintaining a network of industry leaders and experts.

So don’t be shy, get in touch with Michelle today!


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