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Great expectations in German cleaning sector19th of September 2013
ECJ’s correspondent in Germany Thomas Schulte-Marxloh reports from the recent VDMA meeting.
On the occasion of the triennial meeting of the VDMA, cleaning machine manufacturing trade association, the re-elected chairman of the board, Markus Asch, addressed present and future challenges and opportunities of the industry.
“Topics like cleanliness and hygiene are not only neglected in export markets. Also in good old Europe the perception of respective issues is blurred or underdeveloped,” said Asch. “In this respect there is still a lot to do for this association of companies which, apart from their commercial interests, have gained unique professional knowledge in cleanliness and hygiene.
“The association is happy to provide this knowledge to the public as well as to political institutions in order to sharpen the conscience for the correlation of cleanliness and healthiness.” The future will be dominated by some fundamental trends, like an increasingly volatile global market, and the industry will have to react accordingly,” Asch explained. “In this respect the challenges for distribution and service will not lessen. Increasingly strong market fluctuations will require flexible mechanisms in terms of product capacity.
“Demography is another topic which is gaining importance,” Asch pointed out. “This includes the problem of recruiting new blood for our industry which has to compete with apparently more attractive industries and companies. We must also deal with ageing employees and ageing customers.”
The VDMA emphasises that sustainability – another of the major trends – is a distinct tendency in the German cleaning industry and the major players have developed cutting-edge concepts of sustainability at a very early stage. These include energy saving facilities, optimised car pools as well as economical and social aspects of sustainability. The association is part of the Blue Competence for Green Cleaning scheme, which aims to provide a ‘transparent and reliable assessment scheme for commercial cleaning machines, designed to enable customers to compare different machines based on their resource efficiency.’
“We are intensively dealing with this issue on a European level. Up to now we have only developed concepts for a few types of machines, in the future we will have to apply these concepts to a broader range of machines”, Asch said.
Urbanisation and mega cities – a trend mainly in Asia and Latin America – will certainly require new cleaning solutions and technology which can be deployed in less dense populated areas as well. This topic is closely connected with the sustainability trend. Cities in Asia, still booming and growing, can have five to 12 million residents, who increasingly demand a clean environment.
This is also true for other parts of the world. Meanwhile the respective authorities and administrations have noticed this demand.
A globally operating cleaning machine industry, the VDMA believes, can only manage future challenges with innovative solutions and products. In the end however, the business still provides – apart from challenges – many opportunities.