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Building Service Contractors from 22 countries meet in New York

The World Federation of Building Service Contractors (WFBSC) held their biannual meeting from April 6 to 10, 2014 in New York. Over 800 participants from 22 countries came to Marriott Marquis Hotel on Broadway in Manhattan for this three days conference.

The event was organized by the World Federation and hosted by Stan Doobin, CEO of Harvard (a huge privately owned US BSC) and consisted out of three main parts:

• General topics related to the Cleaning Industry

• General Management topics

• Time to network with colleagues from all over the world and to explore New York

World renown speakers like Peter Diamandis (Co-author of the New York Times best-selling book: Abundance- The Future Is Better Than You Think), Steve Forbes (CEO and editor in chief of Forbes Media), Jim Collins Bestseller author of many books, like Good to Great, Built to last, etc.), Sean Stephenson (Famous US motivational speaker and author of many books) and Gustavo Grodnitzky (a clinical psychologist and expert on Generation Y) talked about topics like how new technology will shape and change our future, the economy in the next four years and the potential for growth, how to think positive, the challenge of leading and integrating the Y-generation in the workforce and how positive thinking and self-confidence can change everybody’s approach to life.

Jeff Gravenhorst (CEO of ISS) gave his vision about “The Future of The Facility Service Industry” where he shared with the audience his views of the future development and international trends of Facility Services and the great opportunities to come for BSC’s and FMC’s. His prediction is that the worldwide trend of outsourcing will continue especially in developing countries. There are huge opportunities for profitable growth for large, medium as well as even small companies of the FM and BSC sector if they have the right market approach and the right product offering

Chris Cracknell (CEO of OCS Group) spoke about “A Voice For Our Industry” in which he showed that the cleaning industry is one of the biggest employers worldwide with a staff of over 17 Mio. but at the same time that the cleaning industry does not have the appropriate representation and standing in most countries. His message was that the industry in each country should form associations to speak with one voice for the interest of the industry and that the WFBSC would be a good forum to coordinate activities. The industry has to do more to make cleaning a valued good.

Jerome Peribere (President & CEO of Sealed Air) spoke about the necessity to offer sustainable solutions in the cleaning and that all stake holders are benefiting from this approach. He also emphasized that the cleaning industry is still growing and especially in Asia there are good potential for further growth in the upcoming years. Talking about standards, he called for raising the cleaning and hygienic standards in developing countries and recommended that the cleaning industry should be a frontrunner in that approach. The costs of cleaning are compensated by far through positive effects like increased productivity, comfort at the workplace, less losses of working hours due to illness, etc.

Dr Richard Besser (A leading health expert, the ABC News” Chief Health and Medical Editor) gave in his presentation : “Pandemics, Preparedness and Public Health” a good inroad about the US government programs to prevent the spread of diseases and how the cleaning industry can be a key player in local, national and global health initiatives. One of his statements was that the cleaning staff in a hospital is as important as the medical staff. If hospital cleaning is not done properly and infections spread throughout the hospital, then even after the best medical treatment, patients will die and the hospital might be shut down.

Markus Asch (Deputy CEO and Vice Chairman Management Board of Kaercher, Germany), in his presentation “Technology Today and in the Future” highlighted the changes and opportunities which will arise due to new technologies giving BSC’s, machines & equipment providers and customers much needed information: what, where, when and with what was cleaned and this will to optimize the machine and manpower utilization and will generate process improvements so better services at lesser cost can be provided. Also the service of the machines will be much faster and more efficient using automatic data transfer in the future from the machine to the aftersales team so they know what has failed and they can come with the right spare parts. Mr Asch clearly thinks that new technologies will change the way how cleaning is done and that all involved will benefit from the customer over the Contractor to the supplier of machines and equipment.

The evening events like the opening reception, the invitation of Karcher and Sealed Air as Diamond Sponsors on the retired US Aircraft Carrier Intrepid (Sea and Space Museum) and the Gala Dinner were great places to meet leaders from the cleaning industry and discuss lots of topics, gain ideas for future business opportunities and make new friends.

The next WFBSC conference will be held in April 2016 in Tokyo, Japan.

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