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WFBSC world congress focuses on cleaning's vital role17th of October 2012
Curitiba in Brazil was the venue for the World Federation of Building Service Contractors (WFBSC) world congress last week. The theme was the vital role of the cleaning industry in public health and sustainability.
Around 850 delegates from over 20 countries were there to hear presentations by speakers from around the globe. The event was sponsored by Diversey and Kärcher.
WFBSC executive vice president Andrew Large gave the keynote speech, bringing delegates up-to-date with the WFBSC's Cleaning for Health initiative. He reminded his audience of the global world body's determination to act on behalf of our industry in highlighting cleaning's importance in the health domain.
Since its 2011 congress the WFBSC has assessed 136 peer reviewed articles and government guides pertaining to combating infectious diseases. A report, including a guide for cleaning, was subsequently delivered in early 2012.
"However, there's still an awful lot to do," Large emphasised. The next steps are for the industry to market this information and "embed knowledge in day-to-day systems and tools". In turn, BSCs would have an opportunity to get prices up by justifying s skills and intellectual property.
In his presentation on Family Succession in Multi-Generational Businesses Chris Cracknell of UK-based cleaning services company OCS stressed that family businesses must prepare children for business and leadership; and they should recruit external people for business and leadership roles.
"Outside people must know (when joining a family business) they can move to the top," said Cracknell. He emphasised ‘meritocracy' as being a core ethos...
Among a raft of facts sourced from international research on family businesses was a statistic that average life expectancy of a family business is just 24 years.
Bringing 'big picture' economic assessments and the cleaning industry's prospects, Diversey president Pedro Chidichimo's Developing Operating Efficiency Through Integrated Cleaning Solutions' examined drivers for change in the industry.
"The cleaning industry has, to date, not experienced the same change as other industries but there are a number of mega-trends shaping our industry," Chidichimo explained.
They include population; technology and talent developments; sustainability challenges; and economic growth.
Very upbeat, Chidichimo pointed out the burgeoning global wealth emanating largely from the new middle class in emerging markets including Asia, eastern Europe and the Middle East. "Growing wealth leads to increasing demands for finer degrees of cleanliness and high quality FM services," he explained.
Kärcher's deputy ceo Markus Asch's presentation was entitled Smart Application in Cleaning - How a Sustainable Approach will Increase Productivity. Asch wasupbeat about the world cleaning industry's prospects, nurtured by a growing customer base; the opportunities created by sustainability; and technological developments.
"The world BSC sector has grown by 66 per cent in the past 10 years and is now worth $225 billion per annum," Asch noted. Some 530,000 BSCs employ 12 to 13 million people worldwide.
Like other speakers, he talked about the cost pressures faced by BSCs and their clients' demands for maintaining (or increasing) quality for no more dollars.
Asch then extolled BSC executives to allow technology to support their drive for efficiencies. He talked about smart technology and described certain machines, explaining that they not only cut on-site costs but also fit the sustainability brief.
He then examined world trends and demographics, what has happened in recent years and the fact that, "it is essential for BSCs to anticipate the future".
For manufacturers, that means embracing ‘individualisation'. "BSCs will not accept anything other than an individual machine," he concluded.
The next WFBSC congress will be held from April 6-9 2014 in New York City, USA.
• Text and photos courtesy of Inclean magazine