Last month’s trade show for the commercial cleaning industry, BSCAI / ISSA, was another big turnout of industry professionals and supporting vendors addressing some critical challenges as the industry struggles with increasing competition and decreasing margins.

Key topics of discussion both in the presentations and on the show floor centered around managing the details and how to run your business in a more streamlined fashion to improve your ability to compete, acquire and retain customers, and defend your operating margins.

As long-time veterans to the industry, we were paying particular attention to the commercial cleaning executives caught in the middle of having to handle more complexity than ever before. We offer the following takeaways from the insights we learned at the show:

  • Time saving was a big theme

    No one is complaining of having too much free time at the office these days. Exactly the opposite is true, and it seems to be getting worse. With work orders piling up and inspections becoming more and more involved, people are complaining that there’s not enough time to get everything done and are falling behind in some cases. Many are turning to automation to address this problem—with advanced commercial cleaning platforms providing considerable time saving strategies in work order processing and inspection management.

  • On-Site staff communication is gaining popularity

    Almost everyone who stopped by our booth asked us how they can improve communication with their field force. How can they clearly send details to them? How can they ensure that the right staff member is actually showing up, and showing up on time? This is a big problem and seems to be creating a lot avoidable stress. It’s no surprise that technology here too is helping address the issues. New kiosk technology is available to install onsite at building locations and let cleaning staff clock-in with face recording to help eliminate the “buddy punch” problem once and for all.

  • BSCs are become buried in information

    BSC’s inboxes are starting to be impossible to manage. With property owners having greater expectations of real time status checks and updates, it’s no wonder that inboxes of managers and supervisors have amassed vast amounts of email from customers requesting status updates and demanding that new work orders be placed quickly. Better communication and more optimized methods of exchanging details and work order status is in the mix. BSCs are looking for better ways to stay in touch with their customers and keep them up to date on the progress of all outstanding orders.

  • An aging sales workforce is a looming issue

    One very interesting presentation warned that as much as 75% of the existing sales force at BSCs and Distributors will not be in the workforce within 5 to 7 years. This certainly calls for a response and bringing younger generations into the fold. Not so easy with the evolving mindsets of the younger cultures. Today’s millennials are fundamentally different must learn how to sell. They must also be managed and rewarded carefully, more coaching than managing, more perks than money. Going forward, BSCs will have to lay out the sales and operating process in great detail, even things like how to run a sales call will have to be taught, role played and coached rather than learned on one’s own. For most, it’s back to basics—selling 101. So while the best practices haven’t change, how to get salespeople to do the work has changed, and therefore how one manages the sales force has changed. Heads up to BSCs looking down the road a few years.

With increasing volumes of information, and an increasing speed of business, BSCs and property managers must take steps now to address business management issues or face an avalanche of detail that will likely overwhelm unprepared organizations. Better collaboration, streamlined communication, automated processed for managing day-to-day details and new technologies that help verify that workers are showing up and doing the work that needs to be done will all contribute to the success of the commercial cleaning industry in 2016 and beyond.

We at Accelerator CC found the discussions and presentations at the show extremely valuable and positive reinforcement that platforms like ours are poised to meet these types of needs. Here’s hoping next year’s discussion is about how companies have overcome these challenges!

Thank you for reading. Please share with your colleagues who might find this of interest. Authored by Accelerator CC, providers of cloud-based commercial cleaning software that helps you profitably manage contracts, bids, operations, sales, and staff while providing advanced on-site inspection and quality assurance to your customers. One of the fastest-growing SaaS platforms on the market, Accelerator CC delivers an advanced level of automation, remote/field connectivity and built-in best practices that specifically target the needs of commercial cleaning organizations and their customers. To see a demo of Accelerator CC, please email or call 610.849.5039.