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Emerging Trends

September 19, 2010
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It appears there are several changes evolving in the professional cleaning (jansan) industry that will impact not only cleaning professionals but their customers and school managers as well. Some of these key changes will involve the equipment used to perform cleaning tasks; other changes will impact the business aspects of the industry, which also affect end users; and a final trend is redefining the outcomes expected from cleaning. What’s more, in order to clean for health, even new cleaning tasks will evolve, such as cleaning or more regularly cleaning “high-touch” areas like desktops.

Here are some of the things we can expect in the not-to-distant future:

Equipment. It may be a reflection of the current economy or just business practicality that many of the “bells and whistles” found in cleaning equipment are disappearing. Through experience, some end users have found that fancy gadgets often add more to the cost of the machine than they add to functionality, cleaning performance, or productivity. Instead, purchasers of cleaning products and equipment want durable, long-lasting machines that meet soil removal standards and are easy to use and perform in a satisfactory and dependable manner. Multipurpose cleaning equipment will also become increasingly popular.

E-repairs. In addition to becoming more practical and functional, more jansan equipment will be easier and faster to repair. Some equipment is already designed so that should a problem arise, just the key components of the machine—instead of the entire machine— can be removed by the user and sent to the dealer or manufacturer for repair. The user can also install replacement components while repairs are being made, eliminating downtime. Additionally, some machines will tell the user if and when something is wrong. Similar to the computer systems found in most modern cars, the machine will let the user know if a problem exists and what parts or components need repair or replacement.

Consolidation. We have already seen a great deal of consolidation among jansan distributors. In the coming years, we will also see larger contract cleaning companies merge or buy out other firms. This is already happening. The impact on the school administrator will vary. In many cases, the custodial crew will stay the same and there will be few changes. In other cases, changes may be significant.

Service blurring. Along with consolidation, we will find more large cleaning contractors offering their clients a variety of services from cleaning and maintenance to security, elevator services, parking lot cleaning and management, landscaping, and a host of others. This will provide managers with one-stop service, easing management duties.

Savvy managers. It should be noted that school administrators and custodial crews have become increasingly savvy about the jansan industry as well as health- and hygiene-related issues and how they can be affected by cleaning. They now visit cleaning tradeshows in record numbers, attend seminars, read trade publications, and frequently know the industry, its products, and its equipment as well as the distributors they buy from. As a result, they are becoming much more aware of how their buildings should and can be cleaned and what to expect of cleaning tools and equipment.

Educated workers. Along with more savvy managers, cleaning workers are becoming more educated and better trained. Many facilities are already instituting continuing education programs for cleaning professionals, and we can expect to see more educated, skilled, and professional cleaning workers in the future.

Green. Without question, the industry will continue in its Green direction. A few years ago, some cleaning experts believed that only 20 percent of the jansan industry would embrace Green cleaning, while 80 percent would continue using more conventional cleaning chemicals and products. However, it looks now as though those numbers may be reversed. We can expect most of the industry to employ environmentally responsible products and Green cleaning systems by the end of the decade.

Hygienic cleaning. As powerful as the Green trend is in the industry, cleaning professionals and school administrators will still want to make sure a product, cleaning system, or tool cleans for health. That is why organizations such as the Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI) have evolved with the endorsement of major jansan trade associations. There is little point in using environmentally preferable cleaning products to clean if germs and bacteria that can harm human health remain. We will likely see an emergence of “hygienic green cleaning” referring to the integration of hygienic cleaning for health and cleaning that helps protect the environment.

Science. Because we anticipate hygienic, healthier cleaning to become a core focus of the professional cleaning industry, more cleaning professionals and school administrators will turn to CIRI and a rich assortment of science and scientific testing to prove surfaces are clean. Already, rapid surface monitoring systems are available that detect how clean a surface is—or is not—after cleaning.

Cleaning for appearance. Of course, one of the primary goals of cleaning will continue to be for appearance. However, it will not command the same importance as hygienic and Green cleaning. The health of building occupants and the environmental impact of cleaning will take precedence. Fortunately, many of the tools, chemicals, and products that are the healthiest to use are also emerging as some of the top performers in the industry.

A cleaning museum. Although it may still be a few years away, eventually someone will build a cleaning museum. It will house all the cleaning tools used and appreciated for years that have been replaced by more efficient, more hygienic, and healthier cleaning systems. Expect dust mops, possibly even microfiber mop heads, along with brooms, some upright vacuum cleaners, harsh chemicals, and even conventional cleaning cloths to be some of the first relics on display. These antiquities have been replaced by spray-and-vac and flat surface cleaning systems, backpack and canister vacuum cleaners, environmentally preferable cleaning chemicals, and wipes that do not transfer germs and bacteria as cleaning cloths do.

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