Alongside the Clean Middle East Pulier Expo was also the International Cleaning & Hygiene Conference (ICHC). The two-day conference witnessed many international speakers from companies like Emrill, Farnek, FSI FM Solutions, PRD Nationwide and many others giving the audience an insight into the current trends and practices in the industry. Packed with presentations, case studies and panel discussions, the ICHC was very informative and educational as well. The turnout was very impressive and the attendees included individuals from the facilities management, hospitality, health care and cleaning industries.
Sustainability was the buzz word on the first day of the ICHC. Delivering the key note address at the conference was Raj Rajan, the RD&E Vice President of Sustainability, and Ecolab, USA, who stressed upon the importance of water conservation and the current trends and water rights across the world. “One must approach conservation from a holistic level. Long term perspective is very important for things to continue,” said Rajan.
This was then followed by a dynamic panel discussion on the business strategies for maximizing productivity, revenue boosting and quality in facility services. The panel included Preben Laustsen, Managing Director, East Asia, Hako Group; Samer Hani, General Manager Business Development and Operations, Cleanco Services; Barbara Macquarrie, Senior Operation Manger, Standard Chartered Bank and Ali Al Suwaidi, Executive Director, Ejaadah Asset Management Group, UAE/ Board of Director, MEFMA. Moderator and panelist Heather Suksem, CEO, South, Southeast Asia and Middle East, OCS,
said that the three main focus points of sustainability are people, planet and profit. The discussion touched upon how sustainability is looked on at a macro level in terms of development and strategy. And how they as service providers can support the various markets to achieve sustainability in order to maximize productivity. Here too the panelists agreed that long term planning is required to attain sustainability.
“Buildings like humans have a life span so it’s time people plan long term in order to achieve sustainability. More than a building strategy we require a strategy for the City,” said Ali Al Suwaidi.
The panelists also focused on the best practices and the importance management gives to facilities providers. Barbara says, “FM is directly related to the company’s reputation. FM is the face of the brand and full partnership with FM is required for any company.” This was soon followed by two informative presentations by John Harley, general manager, Al Fajer SMS, and Daniela Ina Voicu, Vice President - FM Delivery Management, Dubai World Trade Centre. While John focused on the facilities management chain and the regulations, standards and working arrangements between service providers, vendors and clients, Daniela stressed upon the value of cleaning in today’s world. The second day and concluding day of the conference took off from empowering manpower in the industry with the focus of attention given to hygiene in the hospitality industry. Mary Miller, CEO, Jancoa Janitorial Services, moderated a panel discussion in the morning along with other panelists – Anthony Evans, Senior Product Manager, Nilfisk; Sameh Deraz, Housekeeping Manger, Grand Hyatt, Doha and Tim Leech, Group Director of Asset and Facilities Management, PRD Nationwide. The group largely discussed about sustainable development and changing consumer behaviour and how to balance product safety, reliability, cost and customer satisfaction and performance.
While most of them spoke from a service provider point of view, Anthony Evans gave a manufacturer point of view. “Communication is the key here. It’s not only about the customers changing but we as product developers need to change as well,” expressed Anthony. While Tim Leech observed that a major change that has taken place in most industries is with the way one is going about understanding one’s customers. “Culture always beats strategy. It’s not only about understanding the product but also about getting to know about one’s environment and culture, else it will not work,” added Tim.
This was followed up by a presentation on the growth of disinfectants and sanitizers market. Speaking about safe food and healthy environment in the hospitality, healthcare, food and beverage sector was Raj Rajan, RD &E Vice President of Sustainability, Ecolab, USA. He expressed, “What many people don’t realise is that cleaning is also about cleaning what one cannot see. As a company Ecolab has taken a holistic approach towards sustainability development for our customers.”
In his presentation Nathan Kennedy, Renue Systems, USA, spoke about how the cleaning in the hospitality sector is for both guest comfort and health. Packed with personal anecdotes the presentation made for an interesting listen.
“There’s always a big challenge for hotel operators or service providers. Meeting these challenges is important to improve longevity of the asset,” he added.
Keeping up the tempo and theme of hygiene in the hospitality sector was Pamini Hemaprabha, executive housekeeper, Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates. Through a case study, Pamini gave a snapshot into the life of a housekeeper.
Soon the conference concluded with Markus Oberlin, CEO, Farnek Services presenting on Green Cleaning and a panel discussion on the development of policies for sustainability hygiene practices and product development and the role of the government, industry association and consumers.
The conference also saw a select group of international speakers attend an exclusive trip to the top of the Burj Khalifa.
The evening was packed with interesting tidbits about the structure by none other than Ali Al Suwaidi, who was a part of the Emaar team to set up the operations strategy and implementation of reliable process for the Burj, as the senior director of operations.
Like the saying goes all good things have to come to an end and sadly enough so did the two-day conference. But one thing is for sure, for all those attended returned with a lot of information, practical knowledge and most of all good memories.