Learning How to Weather the Storm

Published in Cleaning Maintenance Management, October 11, 2017

It cannot be denied that we are experiencing more wild weather around the globe and it is having a dramatic impact on businesses small and large.

In 2011 the most devastating storm to hit Taiwan in modern history caused flooding throughout the country, virtually bringing businesses in the country to a halt. When Hurricane Sandy hit New York City in 2012, a power station in the city exploded. In August, Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and the Caribbean hard, to be followed just two weeks later by Hurricane Irma, which hit Florida as well as the Caribbean.

The Bottom Line

We could discuss other examples of changing weather patterns, but the bottom-line is this: Weather conditions are changing. As a result:

  • A hotter planet is negatively impacting agriculture and farming around the world.
  • Rising temperatures are causing more frequent and damaging weather events that disrupt global businesses.
  • Extreme weather events are interfering with energy and water supplies.
  • The normal distribution of goods and services have been impacted.
  • Prices of some essential commodities are rising significantly.

Companies Must Pivot

According to Andrew Winston, author of The Big Pivot, in an article published by Harvard Business Review, “Companies need to have a clear vision of how [changing weather patterns] and resource scarcity will affect their prospects and their ability to reach long-term goals.”

To do this, he suggests that successful companies in the 21st century will need to “pivot” by making profound changes in their operations and not assuming the way things have been in the past—when it comes to supplies, distribution, energy, weather, etc.—will continue into the future. This calls for organizations to become more operationally and find ways to reduce energy and water consumption, waste, and carbon emissions. This will help companies become less fragile, so operations do not have to come to a stop due to natural disasters.

“This discipline increases a firm’s cost and risk resilience,” Winston writes. “Companies that rely on fewer resources will be more competitive in a world of declining availability and higher prices. Organizations that minimize energy use and generate their own power from renewable sources can operate more reliably if the electrical grid falters.”

Pivoting in JanSan

We are also seeing many jansan distributors pivoting as a result of ISSA’s Distributor Efficiency Analytics & Learning (DEAL) program. In 2016, distributors participating in the program each saved on average US$20,000 in operating costs as a result of taking steps to operate more efficiently. And as of the first six months of 2017, these distributors have already saved, on average, $12,000 each. This tells us that pivoting—adopting proven sustainability initiatives—is simply smart business.

It appears that all segments of the professional cleaning industry will likely need to make some changes in the coming years. But these jansan distributors have shown us it is possible, and even more importantly, that changes can reap significant financial rewards.

We Must Prepare for Change

Our reliance on plentiful and inexpensive energy and water is coming to an end. To adjust, we are going to have to pivot, keep our businesses operating and profitable, keep employees working, our industry healthy, and protect the well-being of the communities in which we are located.