As I look back on the year 2012 and look forward to 2013, here’s what I see as the most important emerging trends and challenges that the cleaning industry will face in the next 12 months.
Our industry will continue to face challenges in finding and keeping qualified workers at all levels, even though opportunities for education and upward mobility will continue to grow.
Until the industry offers a career path instead of a job, we will continue to face the challenge of attracting qualified workers who are excited about the work they do and the opportunities available to them.
It is difficult to imagine, considering how we take it for granted and waste more than we use, but water is becoming as an increasingly valuable and limited resource.
Over the last few years, I have seen the foundation being laid to reduce the amount of water used each day in the services we provide.
This will become increasingly obvious over the next few years as new processes, restrictions and costs enter our world.
Green, sustainable cleaning is alive and well and will continue to grow in importance and value to our customers, workers and society.
Environmentally preferable cleaning processes and products are becoming the norm for a growing segment of our customers.
In a continuing effort to reduce the cost of overall facility operations, we will all see more emphasis placed on reducing the amount of energy we use in everything we do, both at home and at work.
This will be a growing trend for the foreseeable future.
You can expect the pressure to reduce costs and increase production without a loss of service quality to continue.
This is doable if you change the way you do things; otherwise, it will be an exercise in frustration.
Get used to it because doing more with less is the new norm.
These are no longer the “good old days.”
As we move forward, science-based testing and research will continue to play a larger role in the work we do.
We are currently in a time of transition where any report is referred to as research.
This will change as true independent, science-based research becomes the expectation and the norm.
For now, don’t believe everything you hear or read; instead, ask for a copy of the research so you can make your own decisions.
Third-party certification will become the buzzword over the next few years.
Some will be good, solid programs; others will be nothing more than a fee-based endorsement.
Over time, the cream will rise to the top and, in many cases, already has.
We will continue to see more science-based testing processes and equipment migration from other industries into our workplace.
As the importance and value of cleaning continues to grow, so will the need and requirement to prove that the work we are doing is actually obtaining the desired results.
Visual observation alone will no longer be an acceptable evaluator of quality.
Opportunity is everywhere and, in a time of change, great opportunity is hidden in the challenges we face each day.
Some will see it and prosper, while others will complain and look the other way as they disappear from the equation.
Change is the way to the future and will only increase in speed and depth in the years ahead; get used to it.
See and prepare for the opportunity it presents, and you’ll do just fine.
Fight it, and you will be left behind or get run over by the train to tomorrow.
The Government Problem
We have a problem: Our government is broken and bankrupt.
This will be the biggest challenge and obstacle to future growth and prosperity that we will face in the years ahead.
It will take everyone’s effort and contribution to bring about the changes needed to get this train wreck back on track.
There is no easy answer to this one, but it will influence everything we do in business and in our personal lives.