Are you ready for Expo 2020?

 

Industry experts discuss their hopes and aspirations from the Expo 2020.

 

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Business
 
September 15, 2021
 
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Are you ready for Expo 2020?
 

After the challenging times of the pandemic, The Dubai Expo 2020 comes as a harbinger of hope. The cleaning industry looks forward to exciting opportunities that the Expo may bring to the table. At the same time, it is also bracing and preparing itself for a large influx of people into the country. We spoke to a few stakeholders of the cleaning industry to assess their expectations and preparations for the incredible event that lies ahead. 

PAUL SANTY, Managing Director, NEFCHEM

Opportunities that the Dubai Expo brings for the cleaning industry

Dubai Expo provides a unique opportunity for the cleaning industry as well as other industries to interact with international participants and showcase industry strengths to potential trade partners and investors. We are highly optimistic and are looking forward to the Dubai Expo especially since many of our direct customers are participating in the Expo with their outlets. We are already witnessing an increase in business volumes driven by the Expo demand.

Impact on the demand for cleaning chemicals

Dubai is one of the fastest growing cities in the world thanks to the visionary leadership of the UAE. Dubai Expo provides a huge opportunity for the business community in UAE, despite the ongoing pandemic situation across the world. While Dubai Expo is for a period of 6 months starting October, the demand for cleaning chemicals has already evidenced an increase ahead of the Expo and we are confident that even after March 2022 the demand will remain robust.

Challenges anticipated

Dubai Expo is expecting around 25 million visitors posing significant challenges. We are anticipating a good growth in business volumes especially in the disinfectants and sanitizers segment, given the pandemic situation, and are fully prepared in terms of manpower, sufficient stocking and logistics.

Overcoming obstacles

Dubai is well prepared for the Expo with all the necessary infrastructure in place well ahead of time, at the same time ensuring all safety precautions. We are expanding our distribution company by taking up additional warehousing space closer to the Expo site to accommodate additional inventories as well as to ensure seamless distribution.

Preparation for Expo 2020

Manufacturers and cleaning service providers should be fully prepared to meet the increase in volumes and ensure that, in addition to the stocking requirements, they have sufficient and skilled manpower to meet the demand.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the visionary leaders of UAE and the various departments in charge of the Expo for providing the industry with such a great platform.

Bhawani Bhargava, Director Of Housekeeping at Park Hyatt Dubai

Opportunities that the Dubai Expo brings for the cleaning industry

The much awaited Dubai Expo is being hosted right here in Dubai at a global scale which will see an upward mobility for small and medium-sized enterprises. Especially since tourism being one of the main focal points we anticipate an influx of enterprises to launch new ideas for the cleaning industry. As there are many equipment and products newly introduced keeping upgraded cleaning protocols in mind after the covid pandemic. Also, since sustainability is a big topic, we all will benefit from the showcase and will be able to imbibe if it is tailored for hospitality especially housekeeping. I am personally excited for the sustainability pavilion.

Impact on the cleaning industry 

Certainly a positive one, as the city and neighboring emirates gear up for the “larger than life “ event there are numerous benefits for not only the tourism sector but also sectors such as infrastructure, transport, technology, finance and property. In my opinion, the most significant one is the arrival of international tourists in large numbers and the exposure of Dubai as an iconic destination to the rest of the world.

Challenges anticipated

With the arrival of so many visitors from various countries and travel histories, we will have to put cleaning protocols under the spotlight. To ensure cleaning is done accurately as per COVID-19 protocols, frequent disinfection of surfaces and to be ready for emergencies at any given point of time.

Overcoming obstacles

The key is to review standard operating procedures and to ensure the team who is executing the task are well versed and trained. Also, have required equipment and chemicals at bay to carry out the task effectively.

Preparation for Expo 2020

Preparation is necessary as we play an important role in enhancing the image of UAE as a clean and safe destination. Deep cleaning of the guest rooms, public areas , disinfection and sterilization of areas and have documentation in place. This has to be a regular practice.

Team members need to be trained on basics and of course the latest protocols. It will be a good idea to take them to Expo for them to understand the importance and be proud of what they do every day especially during the duration of Expo.

Expo event is very exciting for everyone especially the residents. Dubai will take center stage on the world map and this is something we all can be proud of.

David Nice, General Manager at Emrill

Opportunities that the Dubai Expo brings for the cleaning industry

Under the banner of ‘The World’s Greatest Show’, Expo 2020 Dubai will bring together participants from all over the world to create a better tomorrow, focusing on people and the planet, sustainability, mobility and opportunity. At the latest count, 191 participating nations will exhibit across the 4.38 square-kilometre site. The scale of this event has created an exponential increase in the demand for cleaning services to cater to specifically designed buildings, artistic façades, 24/7 offices and commercial spaces, expansive car parks, roads, metro stations and other assets, which challenge traditional cleaning methods and create a need for cleaning service providers to be more innovative in their cleaning processes.

Although not open to the public yet, the site has required concurrent cleaning service and the removal of debris within stipulated time frames, which will be the case until all infrastructure works are complete. 

Expo 2020 Dubai’s vision of sustainability has given the cleaning industry the opportunity to assess the products and processes providers are using, ensuring all hygiene products and cleaning chemicals are effective, eco friendly and sustainable. Moreover, organisers have set the ambitious target of 85% of waste being diverted from landfills to an onsite central waste facility, which converts waste to energy.

Expo 2020 Dubai has given cleaning service providers, such as Emrill, the opportunity to demonstrate Dubai and the UAE can host a significant mega-event safely in the face of a global pandemic. This has necessitated following all COVID-19 guidelines and protocols, both in the delivery of cleaning services and in anticipation of welcoming visitors. As a result, we have seen increased demand for disinfection, sterilisation, hygiene and sanitisation services throughout the project, which will continue once the doors are officially opened to the public.

Impact on the cleaning industry 

In short, the industry must adapt to continuously do things better and quicker, implementing global best cleaning practices to ensure the safety of exhibitors and visitors. The expected influx of international participants and attendees brings significant potential opportunities for growth within our industry and in other sectors, which will hopefully benefit as a result of Expo 2020 Dubai. This event is wholly aligned with the vision of the UAE, a country that already has a reputation for being forward-thinking and demanding the highest global standards. I believe Expo 2020 Dubai gives us the perfect platform to demonstrate our spirit of innovation, best-in-class standards and progressive methodologies. In the longer term, the event will attract investment into the region, presenting further growth opportunities for the facilities management and cleaning industry.

Challenges anticipated

Large-scale, public events certainly present challenges, but they are not unique. Cleaning service providers will have to navigate time restraints and restrictions on cleaning activities during operating hours so as not to disrupt guests. However, Emrill has vast experience delivering services to sites within the limited hours allocated to deep cleaning each day. For example, we have contracts with malls and airports, and we were tasked with cleaning during and after the record-breaking New Year’s Eve celebrations in Downtown Dubai; and we develop our cleaning schedules with guest experience at the forefront.

Another challenge for cleaning service providers will be the provision of ad-hoc and emergency cleaning services that may arise during visiting hours. These services will need to be delivered quickly, efficiently, and in an unobtrusive manner to ensure visitors are not inconvenienced. Again, this is an area we have expertise in.

Investment in people will be of paramount importance during Expo 2020 Dubai. To ensure our teams are able to interact with visitors confidently and knowledgeably, every site-based, frontline employee will receive extensive training about the event and the safety protocols in place, including ongoing social distancing guidelines, appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and hygiene standards. 

Overcoming obstacles

Investment in the training and development of our excellent people is fundamental to delivering services at Expo 2020 Dubai. Our world-class training is delivered through our Centre of Excellence and is continuously reinforced onsite by our leadership team. 

Emrill also understands the importance of planning and preparation ahead of any large-scale event. In collaboration with our client, we have been perfecting our plan for both before and during the event for over two years, which includes proactive and reactive cleaning methodologies that will enable Emrill to meet every demand, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

To ensure cleaning methods, procedures, and feedback systems are working well, Emrill continuously plans and schedules, communicates, assesses, and executes and checks all work being carried out, coordinating closely with clients openly and transparently. We have deployed well-trained cleaning staff and empowered them to carry out their roles with confidence and expertise. On an ongoing basis, we frequently review activities and ensure open lines of communication with a defined escalation matrix so emergencies and challenges can be handled efficiently and quickly.

Emrill has also developed contingency plans and operational continuity plans for unforeseen incidents – we always expect the unexpected. To ensure preparedness, we have carried out emergency and mock drills to ensure our people are ready for any and all circumstances, which will enable them to operate in line with our emergency preparedness plans.

Preparation for Expo 2020

Upon mobilisation of our Expo 2020 Dubai contracts with pavilions and organisers, we have executed a robust training programme. This spans familiarising employees with the areas and assets they are responsible for maintaining to ensure the team fully understands client expectations and KPI/ service level agreements. Emrill has achieved this through induction programmes and daily Toolbox Talks, in addition to our other ongoing development programmes.

We have provided cleaning teams with training to ensure they comply with the required standard of safe cleaning methods and procedures via EXPO-Way, a specific training programme for the event, which has included mock drills to test the preparedness and skills levels of employees.

Emrill has prepared a detailed service plan, which covers every element of our work onsite, including multiple scheduling plans, regime frequencies, shift handover details, staff movement, break plans, and out of hours cleaning.

Steve Kadah , Regional Director Of Operations, AKC Group Of Companies

Opportunities that the Dubai Expo brings for the cleaning industry

The cleaning industry was always a critical sector, but looking back at several factors here, the last eighteen months, the size of an event like Expo 2020, the location of where this event is being held and the audience of this event, add on top of that the importance that cleaning industry gained during the pandemic.

There was never an expo before that was easily accessible for nations from around the world. Dubai has always been a hub and a multi-culture spot, so we in the industry will have a great opportunity here to both prove that we are up for this challenge and benefit from what it will contribute to our businesses. 

Impact on the cleaning industry 

In my opinion, the largest impact will be the new standards that Expo 2020 will set for later stages, the team in Expo are already ensuring to set the bar high in deploying the most innovative technology in cleaning and make sure the most effective practices are implemented based on the huge experience the industry gained in those couple of years.

Challenges anticipated

The biggest challenge is the frequency of the services, these kinds of services used to be 2 to 3 times in operational hours in normal events in the past.

Today, we are not talking about a normal event, we are not talking about normal times, and we not talking about a normal city, I believe the frequency of the cleaning and disinfection services and monitoring it is the hardest challenge, it will involve a lot of workforces, an extensive training, and a professional supply chain.

Overcoming obstacles

As a supplier we have adapted to the situation in a very short time after the pandemic hit, so as of now it's too late for planning, our plan is in place, our stock is ready and our fleet has doubled.

We have already opened our training center, held many training sessions there with the cooperation of our clients and we focused on many aspects like floors and how to monitor the cleanliness of public areas using the latest technologies available.

Our service center is highly trained to deal with any issue within hours and our spare parts center was already provided with a separate budget to make sure that any concern or issue is dealt with on an immediate basis.

Zinah Mohammed, Soft Service Director, ServeU

Opportunities that the Dubai Expo brings for the cleaning industry

Expo 2020 as the biggest event in the region will open limitless opportunities to introduce modern technologies and innovations to the cleaning industry. This is a venue for the industry to align their standards with the international cleaning standards, as well as increase their visibility and exposure. The facilities management (FM) Expo Show will highlight technologies utilized in the industry, including those used in creating smart washrooms, contactless cleaning, digital disinfection methods, among others. 

Impact on the cleaning industry 

Currently, most of the FM companies follow the international standard by the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc). With the expected number of participating countries at the EXPO 2020, this would open doors for knowledge-sharing among participants in the same industry. This would also introduce new international standards in the region such as ISSA, an international leading trade association for the cleaning industry. Overall, we see this event bringing more innovation in cleaning operations, enhancing industry standards, and bringing the cleaning industry into a new technological height.  

Challenges anticipated

With the ongoing pandemic, safety considerations and huge crowds expected to visit the EXPO, the first challenge would be to keep the area sanitized and clean without limiting the crowd’s accessibility to the area. We have to ensure they will enjoy the EXPO while guaranteeing their safety and health.

Second would be how to access all the pavilions for cleaning and maintenance. Most of the pavilions are modern structures and cleaning them would be challenging as we don’t come across such massive structures and modern built in our daily operations. 

In addition, the cost of this operation is another factor to consider. With the high level of service expected, we need to prepare our staff and give them hands-on training with the use of technology such as Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), use of smartwatches to update daily operational inputs, Near Field Communication Tags (NFC Tags), run operations of smart washrooms, among others.

Overcoming obstacles 

As mentioned above, we are ensuring that our staff will be fully equipped with the knowledge and training to handle obstacles. The training we are going to provide for them will not just focus on technology for increased efficiency, but also how to minimize human intervention for safety purposes. For the first two challenges, aside from our established practices, we partnered with other service providers. This will address potential risks in such big crowds and massive structures. 

Lastly, our operations at the EXPO 2020 will run on a Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM) system for real-time updates of routines and tasks. This ensures enhanced and efficient performance at the site. 

Preparation for Expo 2020

We are enhancing the skills and knowledge of our employees through comprehensive re-trainings, while also actively recruiting suitable candidates. This move will ensure that we have the right ratio to navigate such a big operation. All the staff for EXPO 2020 are being trained at our in-house Abtikar Training Centers with full end-to-end customer experience training modules. 

At ServeU, we follow the BICS training standard for cleaning to ensure that our staff are equipped with the skills required to carry such tasks. In addition, we also prepare them with the technologies we utilize in our operations. We believe that enhancing their capabilities with modules and training go alongside with the proper technology skills and knowledge. Enhancing their productivity and performance with knowledge, skills and experience before the event is essential. 

The cleaning industry has high hopes from the Expo 2020. It looks forward to new business, technologies and innovations through the “World’s Greatest Show”. There lies a golden chance to create a better tomorrow, to focus on people and the planet, sustainability, mobility and opportunity.