4 Global Cleaning Trends Impacting the US

November 20, 2019

Experts identified the hottest global cleaning trends and their impacts on the U.S. marketplace at the ISSA Show North America 2019 in Las Vegas this week.

Annika Jeppesen, global customer insight manager at Nilfisk, and Mike Ryan, senior region manager, Northeast U.S., at Nilfisk, discussed how building service contractors (BSCs) can prepare for tomorrow by adopting new technologies today and how developments like green cleaning, smart buildings, and Industry 4.0 will disrupt the cleaning industry and impact business.

While these concepts are just starting to catch on in the United States, technologies related to these trends have already seen wide adoption in other parts of the world, the two said in their presentation, “It’s a Big World Out There. The Impact of Global Cleaning Trends on the U.S.”

Here are four global cleaning trends BSCs should know about:

1. Connectivity

Jeppesen said that commercial office buildings are projected to have the highest growth of connected devices across verticals until 2022, even more than manufacturing.

Bigger BSCs are already using sensors and beacons to optimize operational scheduling and to get real-time feedback in facilities.

“Data will increasingly work as a constant driver of efficiencies; related to cleaning, it will directly impact employee health, well-being and productivity,” Jeppesen said.

2. Skills and Automation Upsurge

The skilled labor shortage of 85.2 million projected globally by 2030 could potentially restrict growth for organizations and economics. A 7% employment growth of custodians and building cleaners is projected from 2018 to 2028 in the United States, faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

With this trend in mind, BSCs must confront manpower and labor supply issues head-on. To ensure productivity and loyalty of staff, they will need to focus on employee benefits, supportive training and development programs,health and safety, and adoption of new technology.

When it comes to automation, Jeppesen said that robotics within floor cleaning is the fastest-growing robotic category in the United States

“What we see is robots becoming ordinary teammates,” Jeppesen said, noting the example of Moxi, the nurse robot that helps support simple tasks and eases the workload of nurses.

According to Jeppesen and Ryan, today’s robots:

  • Deliver consistent cleaning outcomes
  • Free up operators for value-adding tasks, improving overall productivity
  • Prioritize safety first
  • Can be easy and flexible to use.

“Sometimes new technology is a little slow to be embraced,” Ryan said. “With all this new technology, there is a need for advancing skillsets.”

Advancements for staff are increasingly important, to enable smooth operations of more specialized and digital equipment, but also to drive up engagement, the speakers said.

3. Business Models

Value-added services, experience, and reputation are already key ways for BSCs to differentiate and win contracts. Value-based models will account for 15% of the global health care spending by the end of 2019.

Rental and leasing are becoming increasingly popular. Jeppesen noted 25% of the cleaning equipment market in Germany has turned to rental and leasing contracts.

Contracts for facility services are still getting shorter, with one year now the typical contract length.

There is a move away from product-based differentiation to a services-driven approach. New Internet of Things (IoT) platforms are making this possible.

4. Sustainability
Client demands are driving companies to become more sustainable. Healthier buildings and improved occupant health and well-being are top concerns globally as well as in the United States.

Jeppesen said green construction, e.g., net-zero buildings, will gain prominence as European Union (EU) directives require all new buildings to be nearly zero-energy by the end of 2020.


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