Home' Inclean NZ : INCLEAN NZ Nov 2017 Contents 32 INCLEANNZ November 2017
The 22nd World Federation of Building
Services Contractors (WFBSC) saw more
than 500 delegates from around the world
gathered in Berlin – the birthplace of
modern building cleaning.
For three days, attendees of the congress
listed to an array of engaging speakers on
the digital transformation taking place within
the cleaning industry globally and its impact
on a predominately people-driven sector.
In his opening address of the congress,
WFBSC president Thomas Dietrich
underlined that processes, people and
technology were the driving forces of the
digital transition in the cleaning industry.
Yvan Fieremans, president of the European
Federation of Cleaning Industries (EFCI)
and president of the General Union of
the Belgian Cleaning Sector (UGBN), said
new technologies are continuing to improve
communication between cleaning contactors
Fieremans dismissed the idea digitisation
would replace cleaning jobs. Instead, it
would simply support and augment cleaning
“We are still at the beginning of a new
way of thinking and working in the cleaning
industry,” Fieremans said.
Diversey CEO and keynote speaker Dr
Ilham Kadri warned those who aren’t willing
to adapt will disappear.
“There are only two ways compete
in any industry – cost or value. There
will always be another player that can
deliver services cheaper than you. In my
opinion, differentiating from competitors
[through] innovation is the only sustainable,
competitive advantage,” Kadri said.
“We cannot afford to ignore the Internet of
Things. I predict it will impact the cleaning
industry in a way that we have never
imagined. It will revolutionise how we clean
and how we service our customers, and we
either adapt to it or we will disappear.”
Kadri said digital cleaning technologies
such as automation and AI will drive the
sector be more proactive than reactive, with
the further use of data and insights set to
make “the invisible visible”.
“Infor mation is power. We’re here to turn
data into smart and relevant data for our
industry. This is the cleaning of tomorrow.
Digital cleaning is a reality.”
Peter Ankerstjerne, chief marketing
officer at ISS, shared the importance of
“We’re moving into an age where it’s
all about the experience and technology is
facilitating that experience,” Ankerstjerne
“We’re moving from mass customisation
into more personalisation. People receiving
our services want to be treated individually
and want to have services personalised.”
Keynote speaker, Karcher deputy CEO,
Markus Asch, discussed how technology
will support people and processes in the
cleaning industry, not replace them, with
collaboration key to future industry success.
“I am a firm believer that technology
will not replace people in our industry.
“Technology will support people, improve
the way we do business and introduce
processes and structures to a quality we don’t
see today,” he said.
During his keynote presentation, Asch said
he predicts technology and data will further
aid in the advancement of the cleaning
industry through the use of ‘co-bots’ –
“Robots will be a part of our life and they
will be a part of cleaning. They will not
replace people. But the major challenge we
have today and tomorrow is how [people and
robots] work together.”
Although technologies such as AI and
autonomous vehicles are still in their
infancy around the world, Asch believes this
forward thinking will have flow-on effects to
He also discussed the concept of
‘connected cleaning’ and the challenge that
many in the industry face, understanding the
data generated from smart machines, and
applying it intelligently to drive efficiency
“Different technologies from different
industries and backgrounds will move into
our industry. The competitor of tomorrow
might not be the competitor that you know
today,” he said.
“Right now, there are billions of devices
Cleaning in a digital world
The 22nd World Federation of Building Services Contractors (WFBSC) was held in Berlin in September,
with the theme ‘Cleaning in a Digital World’. INCLEAN editor Claire Hibbit reports.
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