What challenges await the cleaning sector?

21st of December 2016 Article by Markus Asch
What challenges await the cleaning sector?

Markus Asch, vice chairman of the management board at cleaning solutions manufacturer Kärcher and president of EUnited Cleaning, writes his latest blog for ECJ - taking a look ahead to the new year.

In the coming year digitisation will continue to be a key topic for business progress. For our sector, in particular, it will be important to approach these developments proactively at all levels. In future customers will demand increasing product solution and service customisation. "One size fits all" will no longer apply.

So it is no exaggeration to say that the consumer, or the situation, are making the product for the future. It will be a fundamental challenge to take up these specific requests and implement them correctly, yet it will also be an opportunity to gain a more detailed understanding of customers and their needs.

Another important task will be to force the pace of autonomous technology and to convince the customers of the advantages of cordless equipment; above all, the increase in productivity and flexibility thanks to shorter set-up times - work across several floors is a significant cost factor in this context - combined with almost no limit of movement.

Last year the dominant themes were greater networking and the Internet of Things, including at the ISSA/INTERCLEAN show in Amsterdam. Such increasing use of technology will drive forward useful changes in our sector and make it more attractive overall. The fact that the exhibition welcomed over 30,000 visitors and thus broke all existing records is an indication of the positive development of our sector - a good signal for companies and employees.

From a business perspective, the past year has not been an easy one. Both economic and political volatility in the world meant that, at times, uncertainty dominated the markets and companies often had to adjust their plans at short notice. In spite of this situation, the cleaning sector was able to record modest growth in 2016, although the results were better in Europe than for emerging economies.

It seems very likely that this difficult global economic situation will stay with us over the coming year and it is therefore difficult to make an accurate forecast. In spite of this, the tremendous potential for professional cleaning that has already often been described, when it is consistently associated with an attentive eye for what our customers want and the technical and entrepreneurial ability to adapt quickly to changing market conditions, makes me confident about the future.

This will therefore ensure that 2017 will also turn out to be a successful year for our sector, despite the difficult underlying conditions.


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