One of the focuses of the WFBSC Congress 2014 was to ‘think differently’. INCLEAN’s editor Kim Taranto spoke with Dr. Ilham Kadri, president of Diversey Care, a division of Sealed Air, about the company’s position within the hygiene industry, her personal reflection on imminent change, and how the ability to ‘think differently’ is the key driver behind Sealed Air/Diversey’s continual success for the future.
How does Sealed Air/Diversey think differently regarding technology and sustainability with its products and cleaning systems?
We think differently about technology by asking ourselves three questions regarding usability, value creation and worthiness:
Usability: can the new technology be used/managed by our staff in all environments? We have a high percentage of functional literate workers, a high level of staff turnaround, and we need robustness in a dirty environment.
Value creation: can the new technology create sustainable performance with easier on-the-job training? For example; short battery time in smartphones or how to secure 24/7 use? And how much training is required to make use of the new technology?
Worthiness: Is the value created worth it? Can we afford the value generated as compared to the additional costs?
We need to re-imagine our cleaning and hygiene systems, like dosing platforms, mobile technology or robotics, and develop integrated solutions that provide maximum value due to the synergies they produce. Some examples include Diversey Care proprietary technologies likeSmartDose, IntelliDose, IntelliTrail and e-learning platforms.
No other organisation in our industry is capable of integrating products like chemicals, equipment like dosing systems, machines, trolleys and tools, and services the way we do. Our machines are intelligent and automated, allowing cleaners to do the best and most efficient cleaning and hygiene job possible.
Regarding sustainability, our program focuses on people, planet and profit and is aligned with our vision of ‘creating a better way for life’. Our CEO, Jerome Peribere, calls it the new name for quality.
In the cleaning industry, we need to rethink sustainability by delivering integrated solutions that protect the environment and provide economic growth, while preserving human health and safety. Incorporating life-cycle thinking as part of a holistic approach that takes into account cost and performance, and that looks beyond the product to consider the entire value chain, including sourcing, distribution, use and recycling, is the way to go.
BSCs will need to prove to their clients that they can deliver a clean, safe and healthy environment, which increases the well-being of its occupants and therefore productivity. BSCs will need to develop solutions focused on healthcare (infection prevention), facilities (productivity and absenteeism), worker safety and the guest experience.
An example of how we help BSCs develop new cleaning solutions includes total cost of ownership. This approach means doing more with less. From using the cleaning system, to maintaining it, to repairing or replacing equipment, organisations are creating value by using equipment that requires less water and energy and that has a longer life cycle.
Cleaning for health is becoming increasingly important too, as the general public becomes aware of the value of clean. Disinfectant technologies such as AHP (Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide) help decrease hospital acquired infections (HAIs), absenteeism and sick leave; and improve overall workforce productivity.
In his WFBSC presentation, Sealed Air/Diversey’s CEO Jerome Peribere referred to the ‘value of clean’. What role do you see the company playing in this challenge to prove our industry’s direct impact on the value of clean?
The value we provide is through performance, cost savings and sustainability. Our customers rely on us, and our role is to work with them to innovate and develop new solutions that help them achieve their goals. Customers continue to say that safe, healthy, high-performing facilities are imperative.
They want to be assured that the facilities we maintain will protect the health and safety of the people in them, the people who maintain them, and the environment in which they coexist. And they expect their facilities to be efficient assets that contribute to growth, rather than drain profits.
Building owners worldwide are increasingly aware of the impact that facilities have on the satisfaction and productivity of the people who work in them. Our experience shows that when building occupants suffer from symptoms such as respiratory illness, allergies and headaches, their performance also suffers.
As Jerome Peribere said during the WFBSC Congress, “cleaning is no longer a cost center”. The value of our industry must be measured in terms of infection prevention, etc. Clean facilities are not just a cost, they add revenue and profit. Research shows that cleaning has a very real and measurable value – it can increase employee productivity by two to eight percent.
I admire your stance on changing society’s generalised view of cleaners’ worth. How is Sealed Air/Diversey combating this to try and change the mindset for our ‘invisible heroes’?
In my view, there are two ways we can be socially responsible with our invisible heroes, as I like to call them.
Firstly, I think we can motivate them by facilitating training and communication about risk management and accident prevention through learning management systems (tablets, smartphones and e-learning systems). This would help cleaners become more productive, engaged and interested in doing value added activities. Automated e-technologies for tasks and facility management will help cleaners to better achieve and monitor tasks, and flag issues to management or the landlord.
And of course, using safe cleaning chemicals and personal protection equipment (solutions in closed colour-coded and/or closed-loop systems), ergonomic tools and intelligent machines will guarantee workers’ safety and improved productivity while building-up competency. This will allow cleaners to do more and feel protected, respected and rewarded.
Secondly, education may have an even bigger social responsibility component for entry-level workers. Lots of illiterate people, or those who do not speak the local language, access the job market through cleaning and aspire to climb the professional ladder as a supervisor, a manager, etc. Many of them may simply leave the industry because they feel they have a job which has no prestige or recognition.
It is our responsibility to provide them with the professional development tools and the right motivation and sense of belonging. The real value we can bring as a partner to BSCs is to develop new HR programs and curriculum to allow cleaners to grow and contribute more.
How do you see Sealed Air/Diversey’s position in the market now? And where do you see the company heading over the next 12-18 months?
Sealed Air is made of three divisions: Food Care, Product Care and Diversey Care. Our common mission is to re-imagine the industries we serve and to create a world that feels, tastes and works better. We are a diversified company, leading in almost all regions where we operate. We are now in the middle of a serious transformation allowing us to deliver more value from our knowledge and expertise. We are focused on different priorities in the continents where we operate, but food safety, food waste and facility hygiene are our top areas of common focus.
In Diversey Care, we are becoming a knowledge division, bringing value through integrated systems. Our research and development group is focused on developing solutions to meet tomorrow’s unmet needs, and our workforce is modernising its service model to deliver revolutionary innovations and services for our customers.
Finally, what aspects of the cleaning and hygiene industry would you personally like to see change or evolve?
One of the major opportunities for us as an industry is to shift the end user’s attitude about cleaning. Too often, it’s apparent that cleaning is seen as a necessary budget line item and a source to find cost savings at the expense of service quality. Our opportunity is to shift people’s thinking about the consequences of poor cleaning and the benefits of cleaning for health.
We must prove that cleaning is a good investment that will improve organisations’ bottom line. We also need to work together as an industry to improve the efficiency of our operations. Let’s harness the power and opportunities that technology provides. And let’s do it in a way that is sustainable for generations to come. We are the last generation that has the luxury to make a choice: let’s now make the choice for a cleaner and sustainable future in the hygiene and cleaning world.