What to expect in the cleaning industry – A year of innovations and rising costs

Interclean’s latest study defines 4 industry trends facility managers, cleaning professionals and service providers to watch out for in 2023. The future looks to be a mix of challenges and opportunities, but cleaning and hygiene remain matters of great importance for citizens and businesses alike.

Cleaning and sustainability

The perception that sustainable products cost more and do not perform as well as their polluting counterparts, is pervasive throughout the industry and continues to be a passionate discussion – as Robert Stelling Director Interclean Global Events RAI Amsterdam points out in the report.

However, according to Cleanlink, one of the key drivers for going green includes end users expressing a willingness to pay more for sustainability-focused products. They are also willing to adjust day-to-day facility processes to prolong the lifespan of products, reduce plastic waste, and save energy overall. This focus on green initiatives also extends into environmental, social, governance (ESG) and manufacturing and/or distribution practices.

People continue to be essential

While more businesses have reopened at least in a partial capacity, there is a lack in the number of frontline workers. This leads to service providers improving the appeal of cleaning, including investments into ergonomic equipment or making efforts to show how appreciated cleaning as a professional is. To cover a lack of employees, cleaning departments are also turning to innovations as Cleanlink points out.

Robotics and cobotics

Robotics and automation are the leading edges of technologically advanced and effective cleaning, potentially redefining the role that cleaning staff play within their organisation. The idealised smart facility with centrally managed autonomous cleaning machines, cobots and robots to aid humans in complex and dangerous tasks offers a very different set of job prospects for cleaning staff than a facility five years ago did.

Robots can free up cleaning crews with limited numbers to tackle other tasks that only a human can complete. Hurdles still exist for many potential buyers but the return on investment (ROI) that cleaning robotics can offer is gaining traction.

Rising costs

Rising energy costs and increasing cost of living along with ongoing social struggles will continue to create challenges for many currently working within the industry – Stelling writes, adding that: While businesses support staff, they face some of the same issues as well as disrupted supply chains and logistic issues as a result of geopolitical events. 

The increasing costs of sourcing materials and transporting them internationally have had a significant impact on pricing. With businesses unable to pass all of their increased costs on to their customers, profit margins have thinned, and operational cuts have been made. The study forecasts that as the issues of material and energy supply continue into the coming year it is likely that more costs will have to be passed on to customers, alongside other cuts to operations and activities.


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