Industry Leaders Forum: Lauren Micallef, Oceania Manager, ISSA

How did ISSA adjust to the impact of the pandemic?

The pandemic presented challenges to organisations across all sectors, but there’s no doubt the cleaning and hygiene industry was impacted as much or more than most.

That said, ISSA responded to the ‘new normal’ as proactively as possible. As an industry association, we took the opportunity to support our members and industry stakeholders through these unprecedented circumstances with information for members updated through the global and Oceania COVID-19 Update pages on the ISSA website, newsletters, and relevant alerts. We worked with member benefits to ensure information was distributed to the industry.

In mid-2019 the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), a recognised leader in training, education, and certification in Forensic Restoration biorisk management, decontamination, and infection-control disciplines became a division of ISSA.

This was a key alignment for the association, especially with the emergence of COVID-19. Throughout the year the GBAC Fundamentals course and GBAC Star Facility accreditation became available as well the production of various infographics and tip sheets designed to benefit and support the market.

In 2020, ISSA Oceania took ownership of the INCLEAN brand and the ISSA North America Show became virtual as well, which opened up wonderful opportunities for even more people from our region to attend, network and learn.

Although it was unfortunate to have to postpone the ISSA Cleaning & Hygiene Expo to October 2021, we’re working hard to make the rescheduled show to be bigger and better than ever – with more leading industry experts engaged as speakers, and more facility managers and building service contractors expected to attend.

What will be the immediate focus for ISSA in 2021?

As the leading trade association for the cleaning industry worldwide, the overall goal for ISSA is always to provide unparalleled opportunities for members to make connections, improve operations and boost their bottom line while demonstrating the value of clean.

Heading into the new year, our immediate focus will be on continuing to provide a high level of support as we all work to change the way the world views cleaning. We look to achieve this with a focus behind industry, cleaning and facility education, training, and certification.

Quality management processes and education are key to success. A personal favourite quote is, Quality is never an accident: it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skilful execution: it represents the wise choice of many alternatives,” – Will A. Foster.

The industry will be entering a new phase of excellence. This focus behind education, industry support and recognition will be present at the ISSA Cleaning & Hygiene Expo. The event will now take place 12-13 October 2020 at the International Convention Centre (ICC) Sydney and will coincide with Total Facilities.

This exciting opportunity will provide both the facility management and cleaning industry the opportunity to attend two key shows at the one time, in one location, while also liaising with leading companies about their latest innovative products and services. In addition, we will be working towards delivering the new and improved INCLEAN Excellence Awards in 2021.

How would you rate the industry’s response to the pandemic?

The industry has done well and worked incredibly hard. When predicting trends in 2019 for the year ahead no one could have foreseen the events that were about to unfold and the disruptions that were to take place.

Certain sectors of the industry were impacted by the Australian bushfires and floods at the beginning of the year, which was followed by COVID-19 as it took global centre stage.

While 2020 has been challenging it has also brought the cleaning’ industry to the forefront of market and community attention. It has played a significant role in the combat and management of COVID-19 in the marketplace.

There is better general understanding surrounding hygiene and cleaning practices, and the community and workplace is commencing to understand that there is true value in clean, it is not just a cost but a necessary investment in better health.

The industry adapted with new product developments, changes in operational and production management as well as procurement.

The industry, their teams, and front line cleaning staff worked tirelessly to support the Australian market so it could continue to operate and function to its best ability and ensure that essential products and services were still available and that business could continue to operate.

How will COVID-19 impact the cleaning industry in 2021 and beyond?

Locally as an industry we will need to embrace the next phase of the COVID-19 recovery.

We still do not completely know the final outlook on the national economy, nor do we have confirmation on a vaccine or rollout plan.

Both the Australian and New Zealand market are in a different situation to many of our global counterparts. However, at present, COVID-19 is still active and with a foreseen increase in interstate travel and reduced restrictions in venue numbers, the industry will need to support the community and facilities in remaining vigilant, with new cleaning processes and practices.

The new age of cleaning requirements will continue to directly impact the roles, responsibilities and expectations of facility managers and building service contractors. Demand for new products and services will develop and increase as growing needs emerge, presenting exciting opportunities for our market.

Industry stakeholders must ensure they consistently adhere to strict protocols and guidelines. What is also top of mind, going forward will continue to be occupant and employee safety and well-being.

Also, a need to support the community through social procurement and sustainability. And finally, we must always address the concerns of employees, occupants, customers, and contractors in the post-COVID-19 world.

How will ISSA engage with members and the wider market in 2021?

In 2021, ISSA Oceania will focus on widening member benefits and business opportunities for local members. In terms of ISSA Oceania local benefits, we will put on the ISSA Cleaning & Hygiene Expo, deliver the valuable INCLEAN Magazine – the leading trade publication for the Australian and New Zealand cleaning and hygiene industry, and provide ongoing information, tools and resources around responding to pandemics as a cleaning authority. Our aim will always be to support the industry in enabling and helping them to achieve positive outcomes.

Is there a message you would like to share with the industry?

What has been brought to light in the year 2020 is the impact of pandemics on the global economy which has intensified the needs of our customers. The cleaning and hygiene industry plays a vital role in infection prevention and the world has seen that they rely on the skills and effort of our market. We are here to support the industry with our resources in aiding them to help promote and deliver successful outcomes.

This article first appeared in the January/February issue of INCLEAN magazine.  Read the original article here.

INCLEAN in published by The Intermedia Group on behalf of ISSA 

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