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WFBSC Curitiba reinforces industry's public hygiene and sustainability roles
"For one week Curitiba (Brazil) will be the world capital for cleaning," said the World Federation of Building Service Contractors' president Adonai Aires de Arruda (pictured left with WFBSC executive VP Andrew Large) when officially opening the WFBSC Congress 2012 last week, reports Alan Hardcastle, Consulting Editor of the Australia-based InClean magazine. Alan says that a common theme running through three days of quality presentations was the need for stakeholders to demonstrate the vital role cleaning plays in public hygiene and sustainability.
Some 850 delegates from more than 20 countries attended the Congress, which was co-located with Brazil's Hygiexpo cleaning industry exhibition. Alan points out that the event was held, appropriately, in a 'green' city with genuinely sustainable credentials.
"In-line with its 'water' emphasis, a number of speakers addressed this increasingly valuable resource - one that is so pertinent to the cleaning process," he says.
The energetic personal and professional efforts of Adonai Aires de Arruda and his committee were acknowledged by the industry executives in attendance, who recognised that they enhanced the WFBSC's international stature.
"Both upfront and behind the scenes WFBSC's executive vice president Andrew Large's vigour was valued by all..." he says.
It was therefore apt that Andrew took the presentation podium first, bringing delegates up-to-date with the WFBSC's Cleaning for Health initiative. He reminded his audience of the global world body's determination to act on behalf of our industry in highlighting the importance of cleaning in the health domain.
Since its 2011 Congress, the WFBSC has assessed 136 peer reviewed articles and government guides pertaining to combating infectious diseases. A report, including a guide for cleaning, was subsequently delivered in early 2012 (www.cleaning-for-health.org) .
"However, there's still an awful lot to do," warned Andrew. "The next steps are for the industry to market this information and embed knowledge in day-to-day systems and tools." In turn, BSCs would have an opportunity to get prices up by justifying s skills and intellectual property.
Alan says that a presentation that had delegates enthralled was Chris Cracknell's 'Family succession in multi-generational family businesses'. As CEO of the contract cleaning industry's largest privately owned business, OCS Group, Chris's experience and advice was, we understand, compelling.
In essence, he stressed that family businesses must prepare children for business and leadership; and they should recruit people from outside of the family for business and leadership roles. "Outside people must know (when joining a family business) they can move to the top," he said, emphasising 'meritocracy' as being a core ethos...
Among a raft of facts sourced from international research on family businesses was a statistic that average life expectancy of a family business is just 24 years!
Taking time out in the Higiexpo exhibition area were MMMM CEO Tim Murch (left) with FEBRAC president Ricardo Costa Garda
Respected for his 'big picture' economic assessments and the cleaning industry's prospects, Diversey president Pedro Chidichimo's 'Developing operating efficiency through integrated cleaning solutions' examined drivers for change in this industry.
"The cleaning industry has, to-date, not experienced the same change as other industries but there are a number of mega-trends shaping our industry," he explained.
They include population, technology and talent developments; sustainability challenges and economic growth.
He pointed out the burgeoning global wealth emanating largely from the new middle class in emerging markets including Asia, eastern Europe and the Middle East.
"Growing wealth leads to increasing demands for finer degrees of cleanliness and high quality FM services," he suggested, before drawing delegates' attention to the significant water price hikes; growing number of green buildings; and the technology developments we are seeing. These developments include further growth in super concentrates, biotechnology, IT enhancements and the automation of services.
He then turned to discussing what he perceives are BSCs' most difficult issues, notably profitable growth, which is the lifeblood of our industry.
In a presentation titled 'Smart application in cleaning; how a sustainable approach will increase productivity', Karcher's deputy CEO Markus Asch "tackled a large subject with much competence," says Alan. "He was upbeat about the world cleaning industry's prospects, nurtured by a growing customer base; the opportunities created by sustainability; and technological developments."
Karcher's Markus Asch (pictured left) was heavily involved in the Congress. Asch was a presenter while his company was a major sponsor
Markus noted that: "The world BSC segment has grown 66%in the past 10 years and is now worth $225 billion per annum. Some 530,000 BSCs employ 12 to 13 million people worldwide."
Like other speakers, he talked about the cost pressures faced by BSCs and their clients' demands for maintaining (or increasing) quality for no more dollars.
He extolled BSC executives to allow technology to support their drive for efficiencies. He talked about smart technology and described certain machines, explaining that they not only cut on-site costs but also fit the sustainability brief.
He then examined world trends and demographics, what has happened in recent years and the fact that, "it is essential for BSCs to anticipate the future."
For manufacturers, that means embracing 'individualisation'. "BSCs will not accept anything other than an individual machine, designed for specific sites and tasks," he said.
That Pulire CEO Toni D'Andrea delivered the final 'wrap up' presentation was so appropriate, reports Alan, who says that, "His almost academic dissertation 'Cleaning as an absolute value' was acclaimed by all for its deep thinking and call to social action."
Toni said: "Dignity and responsibility are intrinsic to the value of cleaning," then pointing out that gross domestic product measurements neglect the services people need, such cooking, community volunteering, leisure activities and -yes -cleaning.
"Governments need to consider cleanliness as a reflection of civilisation," he emphasised.
Pulire CEO Tony D'Andrea (left) with Dr Peter Hug, managing director of EUnited Cleaning, the European Cleaning Machines Association
18th October 2012