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A fascinating week at ISSA Interclean

Templacms-MIC-May2016Rick Stoor, MD of Templa recounts his first experience of Interclean from the point of view of a software developer.

It’s five years since we launched TemplaCMS, our integrated software product for cleaning contractors, to the UK market. For the last three years we’ve exhibited at the UK’s various cleaning shows and have enjoyed the experience. Along the way, however, we’ve picked up a number of cleaning contractor clients from abroad, which made us think the time was right to pack our bags for The Netherlands and take a stand at ISSA Interclean 2016.

Off the shelf systems still popular
The general consensus amongst contractors from most countries at Interclean was that they’re still mainly relying on standard accounts and payroll systems. The multi-faceted nature of cleaning, and most particularly the collection of pay details, is handled predominantly with manual systems, which causes similar problems abroad to those in the UK. We had visitors as far away as Japan, China, Brazil, Australia, Middle East and Africa, all complaining about the lack of joined up thinking.

Exhibition has truly global reach
I was flabbergasted to meet two of my Australian clients at the stand, proving that Interclean Amsterdam is a key date for the worldwide cleaning industry. We also picked up a serious interest from South Africa, where we already trade, and probably because of the distance they had travelled, they asked us to do a full demo at their hotel before they went home – the sort of thing that wouldn’t have happened in the UK, where the visitors are almost exclusively British or Irish and everyone’s just there for the day, mainly to browse. Again, probably because of the travel involved, I noticed that most visitors were senior management. This meant we were speaking directly to the decision makers and had positioned our product perfectly in this respect.

UK is the hot spot for software
Another feature of Interclean that is missing from the UK shows is the presence of software re-sellers. One of them, a US consultant on the East Coast, revealed a fascinating insight, namely that the US is no different to many other nations in being behind the curve with solutions in this marketplace. It seems the UK is seen as a leading light in innovation across many aspects of the cleaning industry, information technology now being one of them.

Massive event, but limited software representation
You just can’t imagine the scale of this exhibition. The largest hall was probably as big as two or three London Excel halls put together, and there were eleven halls altogether. The technology providers were grouped together in a small hall, with most stands handling mobile communications, for example Quality Audit, Time and Attendance, CRM – another interesting insight into what global suppliers see as the priorities for contractors.

Thoughts and conclusions?
We’d definitely exhibit again. For a flexible product like CMS, there’s no substitute for face to face meetings and demonstrations to illustrate its versatility. The networking possibilities alone make the trip worthwhile and there is a real sense of international camaraderie. Being there for four days means there’s time to discuss products with other exhibitors and, according to a French provider of communications systems to the cleaning market over there, they are now going to recommend us to all cleaning companies in France. Vive l’entente cordiale!

For more information visit www.templacms.co.uk or call 01732 832 888.

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About Sarah OBeirne

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