Interclean gathered cleaning and hygiene professionals to Amsterdam on 15-18 May 2018. A group of professionals from Kiilto also visited the event to find out where the professional cleaning market is heading next. Along with the group was Kiilto’s Export Marketing Coordinator Julia Lempiäinen, who visited Interclean for the first time, and Business Area Director Lasse Kantonen, whose first visit to the event was 30 years ago. Julia and Lasse discuss how their visit was. You can also read here what Lasse had to say about Interclean before the event.
Interclean 2018 was the largest exhibition yet – the exhibitors alone required an area of 50 000 m2. What was your focus at the fair?
Lasse: I mainly focused on agreed meetings with our cooperation partners and customers at the fair. When I had the chance, I also wanted to check out especially IoT solutions and Service Design.
Julia: I was keen to see what the event had to offer in general and how it looked like. I wanted to get a complete overview of Interclean. I was also looking forward to learn more about the whole industry – and what would be a better place for that than the biggest event for cleaning and hygiene professionals. I’m currently studying Design Management and Service Design while working so I was also interested to see what kind of services were introduced at the fair.
Did you pay attention to any new trends at Interclean?
Lasse: One thing I have noticed during the years is that cleaning windows is a significant segment in other markets – In Northern Europe the category is not as remarkable as it is in Central Europe, for instance. Is it less important to us? Or, perhaps the sun shines too seldom up here.
Regarding machines, it seems that small and handy machines are taking a bigger share of the market. It might be that the market will focus on them and ride-on machines in the future. The models in between will probably decrease.
Environmental issues have been visibly present at the fair for a few years already and the same trend seems to continue. Responsibility is also becoming a strong standard in the industry.
Julia: Yes – responsibility seems to be more like a rule these days. For example, it is great to notice that while economical use of water has been a top issue for us quite some time already, it also starts to raise attention elsewhere too. In addition, digitalization, IoT and solutions for circular economy are making a breakthrough in the professional cleaning market. These themes were strongly represented at the fair.
Lasse: Exactly, this development continues. There are really interesting solutions in the making. The impact will be significant for the whole society, when new possibilities are found in areas such as prevention of epidemics.
Julia: I found it fascinating to see what kind of topics were addressed regarding hospital hygiene. The industry is constantly working in order to find new ways to reduce hospital-acquired infection, for instance.
What other thoughts the fair raised?
Julia: I got thinking how vital and integrated the industry truly is. At the fair, it was so concrete that such a large number of people work in an industry that affects every single aspect of our lives. People do not always realize it, because when cleanliness and hygiene are well taken care of you don’t really pay any attention to it. On the other hand, the competition intensifies at an obvious level and it becomes more and more challenging to differentiate. In addition to these, interesting conversations with customers, cooperation partners and colleagues stick to my mind. Previously in my career I have participated in similar events in another industry. At the fair, I noticed a clear difference on how well Interclean has managed to maintain the dialogical atmosphere even though the event is large and still growing.
Lasse: Yes. In particular, the conversations generate ideas for new product and service solutions. The discussions are one of the most important aspects of the event.
What did you get from Interclean?
Julia: I learned a lot and found fresh perspective to my doing. I got some new ideas for marketing products and services, especially concerning our exports. After the fair, I have new ideas on how to differentiate. I believe visiting the event will prove to be beneficial as now I have a better understanding on the industry and how our customers view things.
Lasse: Exactly, our customer relationships were strengthened at the fair yet again. Networking must not be forgotten – it was an important part of the event, as always. If you skip Interclean, you’ll miss out of all the important discussions. The event is an effective way to get an overview of the next international trends in the professional cleaning market. We also got ideas for developing and commercializing new services and products. There are many new solutions on the market, designed to simplify complicated processes. For these, ready infrastructures have already been developed, and it is definitely worthwhile to utilize this.
Julia: Yes, it was interesting to explore packaged services in which the service provider together with cooperation partners have built an easy solution from a rather challenging process for the customer. The fair was rewarding regarding both my work and studies.
Did anything surprise you at the fair?
Lasse: In Interclean, environmental themes have been visible for many years now. Still, I found it surprising that recycling did not have a bigger role. Maybe it will be a bigger theme next time at Interclean 2020.
Julia: As a first-timer, I was surprised by the popularity of the environmental themes! Circular economy seems to be a hot potato but there were only few ready solutions for that. The programme in Interclean was of good quality and many presentations gave food for thought. It was easy to plan the visit before the event and I highly recommend doing so in order to get the most out of the fair. On the other hand, I was quite surprised how little time there was to go around and see the stands as the other programme and discussions were so engaging.
Lasse: Yes, I remember being surprised on how interactive Interclean is. This year it seemed that there were exhibitors from more countries than before. Digitalization generates ideas for solutions everywhere, not just in the biggest markets. Overall, the event was well organized this year – it was effortless to go around at the exhibition area and there were no queues. This has improved along the years.
What about Kiilto Happy Hour – how was it?
Julia: There were many guests and the atmosphere was cheerful. The discussions started at the fair continued at our event and time just flew by.
Lasse: Yes, Happy Hour successfully extended the day at the fair but in a more relaxed environment. The place was almost full with nearly a hundred guests. We were glad to have guests from Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany and Sweden. It seems like the event is more popular every year – and hopefully continues to be the next time as well. Thank you once more for all the guests!
The next Interclean will take place on 12-15 May 2020.