The National Contract Cleaners Association (NCCA) has formed an alliance with the Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association (ISSA) to draw up various policies for the local cleaning industry.
NCCA chairperson Clive Damonze says the international alliance with the ISSA, which is a global community of more than 5 500 distributors, manufacturers, building service contractors and in-house cleaning professionals, will allow for the integration of the local body into the global network and the sharing of information with fellow associations across the world.
Damonze says the NCCA, which will celebrate its twenty-fifth year of operation in 2012, is currently compiling a Green Cleaning policy for the local cleaning industry. “The policy will be in line with inter- national standards, as prescribed by countries that are more advanced in this field,” he says.
Further, the local and international bodies are compiling a book, ‘Doing Business in South Africa’, which is aimed at encour- aging investment in the manufacture of cleaning equipment, focusing especially on scrubbing machines, vacuums and washroom dispensers in the local market.
The book will be launched at the annual ISSA Interclean trade show that will be held in Amsterdam in April next year.
Meanwhile, the NCCA is also assisting in the development of a new regional cleaning organisation, the African Cleaning Institute (ACI), which will invite cleaning companies and related associations from neighbouring countries to join and be locally represented.
“It is proposed that the ACI will function as a representative of all cleaning-related affiliated associations, of which the NCCA will also be an affiliated member,” he says. The official launch of the ACI is expected to be in February 2012.
In addition, the NCCA is piloting a compliance audit on its members in the Gauteng region. Damonze says the num- ber of companies that are volunteering to participate in the audit process is encouraging.
Damonze says companies and govern- ment departments increasingly approach the association seeking advice on tender documentation and service-level agree- ments. “The association is strengthening its position as a professional body and custodian of the South African cleaning industry.”
The industry is facing a number of challenges, such as noncompliance with industry standards, a lack of best practice, high HIV-infection rates among employees, nepotism and corruption in awarding contracts, and skills shortages.
However, the Department of Higher Education and Training, which is restructuring the Sector Education and Training Authority (Seta) landscape, said during a countrywide roadshow in July and August that the department’s focus would, in future, be on the training and skills development of cleaners and workers in the cleaning industry, especially those in rural areas.
The NCCA is directly involved in the development of the department’s five-year strategy plan for the Services Seta, which will see an improvement in training in the cleaning industry.
He adds that the association is encour- aging potential workers to take up posi- tions in the cleaning industry to alleviate the high unemployment rate. “The industry is involved in virtually every other industry in the country and employees have a secure future in this industry,” says Damonze.
Meanwhile, he highlights that another challenge is that the volatile local and inter- national economic situation is making it difficult for companies to achieve their margins.
He urges cleaning companies to be innovative in their business models and performance delivery.
Damonze says green cleaning is the most talked about topic at exhibitions and trade shows and notes there has been an emphasis on promoting environment-friendly steam-cleaning equipment, in particular.
Further, he has noticed that energy efficient cleaning equipment, which uses 50% less energy than previous models, is also in the limelight. These machines perform the same functions as older machines that use much more energy. Surface sanitisers and new hand drying and window-cleaning equipment have also been vastly improved.
The NCCA has a membership of 420 companies.