In May, I attended the 2012 ISSA/INTERCLEAN Amsterdam show.
I attend several international shows because they provide insight as to where the domestic cleaning industry is headed five to seven years from now; most of today''s innovations show up first in the European market.
This year''s gathering boasted a whopping 28,001 visitors from 130 countries compared to 23,415 in 2010.
This was the largest ISSA/INTERCLEAN show ever and the largest cleaning show in the world, with 670 exhibitors from 42 countries occupying over 164,000 square feet of space.
The show welcomed over 180 first-time exhibitors, including a 24 percent increase in Spanish exhibitors and an 84 percent growth in Asian exhibitors.
I spent a lot of time on the show floor visiting each hall and booth several times to make sure I didn''t miss anything new or interesting.
My feet were sore and my eyes were tired, but I found the effort worthwhile and hated to see the show end.
I was still roaming the halls right up to the last minute collecting information and saying a few last goodbyes to exhibitors and attendees I met at the show.
Nowhere else in the world can you find an event like ISSA/INTERCLEAN Amsterdam. It just doesn''t get any better if cleaning is your thing.
Some major trends I noticed at this year''s show include:
- A growing interest in energy, chemical and water conservation
- More battery-powered equipment
- Advanced diamond pads and specialty brushes for different surfaces
- Propane-powered floor machines for stone and other surfaces
- Water treatment systems for glass and others surfaces
- Composite poles and handles
- Microfibers evolving for more widespread use
- Square machines for wet and dry use
- Chemical-free and water-free processes and equipment
- Equipment with more electronic components that require less power and are simpler and easier to use and repair
- Prominent, but fewer green and sustainability promotions
- Advanced testing equipment and processes
- New and enhanced software and computer applications related to cleaning
- Bucketless and clean water mopping systems
- Melamine and chemical treated sponge floor pads for grout, ceramic tile and other hard floors.
It''s the best place to learn about emerging technology.
The show is also a great place to meet and connect with industry insiders, manufacturers, consultants, business owners and cleaning professionals from around the world.
I''ve always found ISSA/INTERCEAN shows to be a good investment of time and money and would recommend attending to anyone.
The Amsterdam show is a definite eye-opener.
It is interesting to note that the problems we face in our country are much the same throughout the world.
Common topics I heard repeatedly included: Staffing, training, price cutting, technology and a perceived lack of opportunity in the eyes of many who do the work yet fail to understand the true value of the services that they provide.
Overall, it was a great show with a great turnout.
Don''t miss the next Amsterdam ISSA/INTERCLEAN show May 6-9, 2014, as well as other international venues.
Because I missed the 2010 show due to the volcano in Iceland that nobody can pronounce, I hadn''t been to Amsterdam in about six years.
I had almost forgotten how much I enjoy the laidback, peaceful atmosphere and wide range of activities that make Amsterdam a great city to host a trade show.
If you haven''t ever experienced Amsterdam, you owe it to yourself to experience it up close and personal.
Bill Griffin is president of the International Custodial Advisors Network (ICAN) and owner of Cleaning Consultant Services Inc. Comments and questions about bidding and estimating are encouraged: (206) 849-0179; WGriffin@CleaningConsultants.com.