Thousands of industry professionals headed to last month’s ISSA/INTERCLEAN show, in the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, with different goals and expectations.
North America’s largest cleaning trade show included more than 100 first-time exhibitors, and many hundreds of returning exhibitors.
Also, “many of the 14,833 attendees reported spending more days at the event,” according to an ISSA press release. “In fact, 55 percent of BSCs, 53 percent of ISPs and 36 percent of distributors polled said they spent more time on the show floor than in the past.”
Attendees and exhibitors were energized by this annual gathering, and by all the new products and services available to make cleaning more efficient and more environmentally sustainable.
Transforming the cleaning industry
Industry experts have seen it coming for several years.
And, as a few significant trends continue to evolve, the cleaning industry is receiving a makeover.
“The industry is now sexy,” as one visitor to our booth said.
What prompted that comment was former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich’s keynote address on “Living in the Age of Transformation.”
Gingrich discussed how the cleaning/maintenance industry needs to embrace technology and learn from advances made in other countries.
Gingrich also discussed how the industry should welcome challenges and new trends, such as green cleaning.
The keynote address supported the growing consensus that the industry is getting ever more sophisticated.
Green is turning ripe
Green cleaning, once again, was a major theme for many exhibitors.
Manufacturers are not only offering green products, but several have started thinking outside-of-the-box.
For example, one manufacturer showcased an autoscrubber that required only tap water to effectively clean a hard surface.
Another offered scientific proof of effective cleaning, which is an important aspect of today’s green products.
In addition to exhibitors’ booths, green cleaning was also on the agenda of many presenters and speakers.
CIRI continues to grow
The Cleaning Industry Research Institute’s (CIRI) annual meeting, which took place during the week, was one example where cleaning, health, and the environment inter-connected.
CIRI kicked off its annual meeting by recognizing 11 new members: Green Seal, Soap & Detergent Association, Betco Corporation, Amano Pioneer Eclipse, Consumer Specialty Products Association, Sysco Corporation, Brady Industries, Arrigo Restoration, Walker Services —Mexico, Low Moisture Carpet Care Association, and Penguin Care.
CIRI board members also discussed several projects that the association is currently working on.
CIRI is interested in scientific data that can be used by the cleaning industry to establish the value of cleaning.
As part of the “Clean Standards for Schools” research effort, CIRI reported that interviews with cleaners and industry experts have already been conducted and the next step is to select schools and study their cleaning habits.
Rather than a written standard, CIRI plans on offering its “Clean Standards for Schools” as a compilation of scientific data to help the industry create cleaner schools.
CIRI is in the initial stages of this important research.
CM/Cleaning & Maintenance Management will continue to cover these developments.
Green cleaning was also extensively discussed at ISSA’s Education Theatre, which was sponsored by Tennant Company and held during show hours.
Rick Walker kicked off the first session, covering the challenges associated with going green.
In Europe, he noted, constructing green buildings is more common than in the U.S.
But Walker expects that to change dramatically and forecasts that the U.S. will leapfrog Europe within the next 10 years.
“Green building transformation is occurring rapidly in corporate America,” said Walker.
Walker also discussed the different levels of going green for corporate America and how vital it is for corporations to buy into this movement.
“Without corporate America onboard, the costs won’t go down and more products won’t be developed,” said Walker, who also noted that green is driven from the top-down.
Walker estimates that 18 percent of corporate America has transformed to green organizations.
During the second session of the Education Theatre, Andrew Winston, co-author of Green to Gold, shared his views on the green movement and success stories of companies that are taking the lead.
According to Winston, five stakeholders, including media and community, will drive sustainability into the mainstream.
Winston also discussed return-on-investment benefits associated with going green and innovative ways that global leaders are approaching the subject.
More information on Andrew Winston and Green to Gold can be found at www.andrewwinston.com
Rounding out the Education Theatre was a panel of three facility management experts.
The experts addressed topics, such as training and employee retention, that are common to each of their facilities.
CIRI, drawing on the success from its 2007 Symposium, is currently planning its 2008 Symposium, which the group encourages industry professionals to attend.
More detail about CIRI’s efforts is available in this month’s cover story, which is found here
For more information about CIRI, visit www.ciri-research.org
ISSA is also planning ahead for the 2008 ISSA/INTERCLEAN show, which will be held in the Las Vegas Convention Center on September 9 to 11.
If you missed this year’s ISSA show, you missed plenty.
Plan to get involved with industry leaders like ISSA and CIRI next year.
These industry associations can separate your services, elevate your role, and keep you current with trends and products.