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COVID-19 and the impact on the cleaning sector

23 November 2020

INTERESTING DETAILS have emerged from a special ISSA white paper, revealing how cleaning businesses across the sector have reacted to the challenges of coronavirus and how the pandemic is impacting the future of the industry.

Ensuring a visible commitment to enhanced hygiene and cleaning for health is identified in the white paper, which is based on a survey conducted with manufacturers, building service contractors (BSCs), dealers and service/technology providers across Europe.

Unsurpisingly, the report highlights the degree of resilience of existing business models, but also how the industry needs to change and the outlook for the future. 

BSCs primarily providing services in one sector have suffered the most, and for those who clean office buildings the shift to home working has been significant. Those companies with a greater mix of customers have been less exposed and consequently more resilient; similarly those working within logistics, factories and retail. 

In manufacturing, companies producing disinfectant are enjoying higher demand, while machine manufacturers are exploring ways to meet customer demands by focussing on leasing.

According to Manuela D’Agata, ISSA international education and certification director, clear distinction is evolving. 

Manuela notes: “For one group of companies there’s a higher focus on stabilisation – optimising costs and making necessary reorganisations - with many looking to optimise their supply chain. 

“For the other group, the focus is on innovation and entering new business areas. However, one broadly significant finding is that due to the impact of the pandemic the journey to sustainability across the sector has slowed down.” 

The need for disinfection has increased, yet conversely this has made some industry weaknesses visible. There’s a feeling that despite the high profile of enhanced hygiene, the industry hasn’t received sufficient attention. This is identified with the crucial lack of a strong lobby to advise and influence public decision-makers. 

The answers to the pertinent questions posed in ISSA’s new white paper will shape responses to crises in years to come, while emphasising how in standing together we can all help shape the future success of our industry.