There was something for everyone at the ISSA Cleaning & Hygiene expo from education seminars, training workshops, and networking opportunities.
This year there was more than 40 industry thought leaders taking part in speaker sessions and panel discussions.
The sessions addressed a range of leading industry topics including technology and the rise of AI to cleaning for health, sustainability and ESG initiatives.
There were also various business development sessions addressing better business outcomes for 2024, future-proofing business, tender writing, and customer centric business initiatives.
One of the highlights was a panel discussion on the role of technology. Panellists included Matt Marsh, Managing Director, Sebastian Group; Hamish Matheson, Region President – Oceania, Kärcher; and Mark Fermor APAC Director of Operations, TEAM Software.
During the panel discussion, Fremor emphasised the importance of implementing the right solution for your business’ needs.
“Technology doesn’t help you win business if you don’t know how to use it,” he told delegates.
Matheson said key to harnessing the power of technology is finding the right partner: “A common fear in the industry is the complexity of the technology. Therefore, from an adoption point of view you have to make sure that you’re well supported and that you choose the right partner. You need a partner that is ready, willing, and able to offer technical support when you need it.”
The panel discussion was followed by a presentation by Dr. Gavin Macgregor-Skinner, Senior Director – GBAC, ISSA, on the importance of cleaning for health, and what he described as “the cleaning revolution”.
“The cleaning industry right now us undergoing a phenomenal revolution,” he said. “As cleaning professionals, our ability to verify and validate our work has become a strategic part of our business.”
During the presentation, Dr. Macgregor-Skinner stressed the need for education and training in the industry to help drive awareness on current health issues such as indoor air quality.
“Every government around the world is focused on air quality right now. Who manages indoor spaces? We do. It’s so important that we provide the correct training and education to be able to sit at the table and have those indoor air quality conversations.”
Labour Hire Licensing Commissioner, Steve Dargavel, also presented on businesses’ obligations under the licensing scheme, and provided an overview of recent compliance and enforcement activities by Victoria’s Labour Hire Authority (LHA).
Another highlight was a panel discussion on sustainability. Nora Potter, Managing Director, Ecofy; Ginny Bebbington, Account Manager, Cleanstar; Ina Peukes, Standards & Technical Manager, GECA; and Felicity Kelly, Head of Sustainability, Bunzl Australia New Zealand; discussed future of sustainability for the cleaning indutry, including the right to repair movement which is increasingly gaining traction in Australia.
“It’s become very apparent that repair is one of the best ways organisations can move towards the circular economy,” said Bebbington.
“It’s something simple that everyone can introduce into their businesses, and they should start as soon as possible because an organisation’s environmental impact is increasingly becoming as important as any other aspect if their business.”
Thursday morning commenced with a Breakfast Session run by the Facilities Management Association of Australia (FMA) VIC Committee addressing ‘Complying with Labour Legislation’. The panellists addressed the risks to businesses not operating within the correct framework and the impacts to the Facilities Management Industry.
The panel included Steve Dargavel, Labour Hire Licensing Commissioner, The Labour Hire Authority, Luke Snell, Work Health, and Safety Manager, A.G. Coombs Group Pty Ltd, Dan Trindade, Partner and the National Practice Group Leader, Clayton Utz’s Workplace Relations, Employment and Safety Team.
Nicholas Burt, CEO of the Facility Management Association of Australia (FMA) joined JLL Senior Director, Janene Hansford; and Mermaid Property Services CEO Lou La Delfa as they addressed mounting pressures and greater concerns surrounding health and hygiene across facility managers, contractors, and suppliers.
Discussing how cleaning protocols have changed post-pandemic, La Delfa noted: “Prior to the pandemic, a client would certainly come to us and say: ‘How dusty is my building? After the pandemic, the main question that we get asked is: ‘How safe is my building for my occupants and my tenants to come into?’”
Hansford said another change post-pandemic is the ebbs and flows of the volume of staff in buildings and how that has impacted cleaning schedules.
“Thursdays is the new Friday; Mondays are quiet, and Tuesdays and Wednesdays are busy… so the protocol and changes in which a cleaning contactor needs to manage that is now different,” Hansford said.
“You may not clean the floor in the same fashion because on Mondays it’s quiet, but you might do detailed cleaning on Monday.
“It’d be unusual to [clean] in the same manner that you did pre-COVID in the world that we’re living in today, certainly in an office environment.”
Burt said from facilities management perspective, there is now a higher expectation of the indoor environment, including cleaning standards.
“Some of our members have expressed that they’re now bringing cleaning staff in so that people can actually see them during the day during different periods to make sure that people are really aware that the cleaning is happening,” he said.
Read more about the 2023 ISSA Cleaning & Hygiene Expo in the November issue of INCLEAN magazine.
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