I recently spoke at the 4th International Congress on Professional Cleaning in Finland on behalf of Diversey Care, a division of Sealed Air. There, I discussed how the pace of change today is unlike anything the world has previously experienced. From climate change and water scarcity to overpopulation, there are some clear megatrends that are impacting our planet and it’s important to better understand them in order to develop the right solutions, based on the right technologies that respond to them.
Institutional Sector Megatrends
Two key megatrends in our industry include:
- Energy, water and plastic savings - In 2013, water shortages shut down thermal power plants in India and decreased energy production in power plants in the United States. Our industry is a big user of water, and our machines need energy. These resources are precious so we need to efficiently use water and energy in cleaning. One way to achieve natural resource savings is to use innovations that provide the right dosage of chemicals and water. At Diversey Care, all of our products are packed in plastic and our machines are made of polymers; therefore, we’re doing more with less.
- People safety - The recent Ebola outbreak and other infections demand efficient and urgent solutions. Our industry needs to align to help combat disease, prevent outbreaks and find ways to protect the public in the face of these challenges. There is much to be done with regard to healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and raising awareness about the importance and the value of clean in our industry. Cleaners’ safety is also an important issue. With lack of literacy among some, fluency in only local languages and limited understanding of the chemicals involved, compliance and simplicity are key drivers for new innovations. These innovations can protect cleaners and end-users, while providing high efficacy and raising performance.
Since sustainability is the biggest challenge for us to overcome, technology must be developed that helps organizations reduce their environmental footprint and improve people safety.
Technology megatrends that can alleviate sustainability issues include:
- Mobile technologies – In the daily life of cleaning operations, the way we convey information to employees is crucial. Mobile technologies have emerged as ways to offer on-the-spot training or help to workers as they clean.
- Remote monitoring – Such technology can help organizations track performance and make adjustments to certain processes. For instance, it can track floor care machines as they are being used, provide automated dosing of water and chemicals, and provide data about laundry operations such as water usage.
I was really thrilled to see a huge amount of engagement in Finland, one of the most innovative countries in the world. Sustainability matters to everyone in our industry and just as there is no life without water, there is no sustainable life without cleaning. What do you believe is the link between sustainability and technology in the cleaning industry? What can we do differently or better in our industry?