Manufacturing - a specialist market for cleaning providers

27th of April 2023 Article by Christian Bouzols
Manufacturing - a specialist market for cleaning providers

Beyond the training of cleaners, the purchase of equipment and the need to innovate, those contractors who want to work for industrial clients need to develop a specific set of skills.

Outsourcing of cleaning services by industrial companies is a real and growing business in France.
At the Onet group a special unit has been set up to handle industrial and general services. Grégory Lachet, the man in charge of this unit, explains: “We deal exclusively with industrial clients. The outsourcing activities are in constant progress because these players want to concentrate on their core business. However, the current inflationary situation might lead to a slowing down of these activities. The tasks which generate the most income are those of a one-time or urgent nature.”

Contracts vary in duration from three to five years because they require substantial investment. And the tasks contractors are asked to carry out can be quite specialised. Examples would be dry vacuum extraction of powdery materials, high-pressure jet duct cleaning, internal transfer of scrap metal, collection and evacuation of waste, ultra high-pressure cleaning, sweeping of traffic lanes.

Industry managers like innovations, especially if they enable them to reduce production times or to avoid production stoppages. Cleaning companies have been diversifying vis-à-vis industrial clients. For example, some specialise in the maintenance of green spaces or in the execution of small works, such as the painting of collection bins.

At the same time, clients are keen to centralise the control of outsourced services. And they look for state-of-the art solutions such as robotics. “However, these are complicated to implement because of the concurrency of various activities”, said another cleaning specialist. “Industry management now understands the cleaner is an integral part of the operation and can therefore impact on production processes.”

So it is possible the cleaning function might give guidance to industrial clients who are currently faced with a fast turnover in their workforce.

The provider of outsourced cleaning services might ensure some continuity. In this context, the new requirements of CSR have complicated the situation because industrialists now must abide by environmental regulations, particularly in respect of pollution, that can impact the cleaning companies involved as they must follow the same regulations. This could mean the companies might have to improve working conditions of their cleaners, invest in less polluting equipment or use carbon-free products. And industrialists have set up their own environmental policies which partners must follow.

A factory manager is also eager to optimise productivity and in so doing, he will try to reduce both waste and noise affecting his output. To this end, he’s going to apply the five-fold rule for a clean environment: 1) ensure the sorting of every item and keep those that can eventually be useful for daily operations; 2) establish an identified location for every item; 3) keep work stations clean; 4) standardise operations; 5) abide by processes and adapt them to changing requirements.

A clean factory reflects a company’s care for its workers. Hygiene contributes to the loyalty and welfare of the workforce more than is usually considered in the industrial sector, and the stakes are high.

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