The Cleaning Industry’s Innovation Quandary

The Cleaning Industry’s Innovation Quandary

Over the last few years, the cleaning industry worldwide has undergone remarkable transformation driven by innovation, more so in North America and Europe but Asia is fast catching up. As technology continues to advance at an unprecedented pace, the cleaning industry is also caught up and reacting to the market situation to increase its innovative products and services. However, in a bid to stay ahead, many products have been developed without attention to market requirements or understanding of the needs of cleaning services providers, and thus were not seen as innovations as the added-value and product unique selling points were not clearly defined nor understood.

Traditionally, the commercial cleaning industry relied heavily on manual labour and equipment, with contracts primarily based on headcount of cleaners and the frequency of cleaning, with labour accounting for 80% to 90% of the costs. However, in the past decade, the industry has undergone a significant transformation, shifting from a headcount-based model to an outcome-based approach. Under this new model, the focus is on achieving desired cleaning results, leaving the specific cleaning process details to the cleaning company's professional judgment. 

This transition allows for greater flexibility in exploring and adopting new technology solutions, even if their full potential or results take time to materialise. The outcome-based approach empowers cleaning companies to utilise their expertise in delivering satisfactory outcomes, optimise resource allocation and improve operational efficiency.

Avenues With the Highest Potential for Technology Adoption

One prominent area of innovation is the development and adoption of advanced cleaning technologies where traditional cleaning methods are being augmented or replaced by automated solutions that streamline processes, increase productivity and improve overall cleanliness. These technologies include:

  • Robotic Cleaners 
    Artificial intelligence robots have gained significant acceptance, capable of autonomously navigating and cleaning large areas, reducing labour costs and ensuring consistent performance. They can navigate and clean large areas with minimal human intervention and some can even be programmed to clean at designated times.

  • Digitalisation
    Smart sensors and Internet of Things devices are being integrated into cleaning equipment, allowing for real-time monitoring, data collection and predictive maintenance, optimising resource allocation and reducing downtime. They can detect occupancy levels thus reducing unnecessary cleaning in unoccupied spaces. Digital management systems centralise and automate crucial processes, reducing manual errors, improving workflow and providing real-time insights that enable managers to make data-driven decisions for optimal service delivery.

  • Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products 
    Green or sustainable products are developed to promote healthier living and minimise environmental impact. They are usually non-toxic and biodegradable, significantly reducing the risk of chemical exposure to cleaning professionals and occupants.
Is Your Company Ready to Adopt Technology?

While innovation brings numerous benefits such as improved efficiency, enhanced service quality, and sustainability, it often comes with a price tag that must be carefully managed to ensure economic viability. Things to consider:

  • Cost – evaluate the upfront investment and ongoing costs to implement new technologies, upgrade equipment and transitioning to eco-friendly products.
  • Return on Investment – assess the long-term benefits in terms of increased efficiency, productivity and cost savings.
  • Suitability – consider if the new technology is suitable or right for your office space, shopping mall or factory, as well as equipment and systems, to ensure a smooth transition with minimal disruption.
  • Training and support – evaluate the training requirements for staff to effectively operate, maintain and troubleshoot the new technology.
  • Sustainability – consider if energy consumption, water usage and chemical waste generation is aligned with your company’s sustainability goals and environmental compliances. Evaluate the long-term strategic goals and objectives and if the use of these new technology aligns and will help achieve them.

Finding a balance between the cost of innovation and affordability is a complex challenge. It is a transformative process and requires careful evaluation. It is also crucial to understand that the benefits of adopting new cleaning technology, including increased efficiency, productivity and improved service quality, often materialise over time. This strategic investment requires patience, planning and a long-term perspective for the desired results to be realised.

1. DTO Research. (2020). How the cleaning industry is approaching innovation: Facts, trends and outlook for Europe.

Beyond Cost Effective Solutions

“Thank you, Maclean team, for the good support and on time completion of the cleaning activities as required at the Phase 2 cafeteria and Phase 2 new wing office floor without any delays which met client satisfaction.”


“The final cleaning has come to an end today. We appreciate your team's full commitment and cooperation in ensuring the successful completion of the cleaning work at Plot H. Your site person in charge and his team has performed well throughout the cleaning period. Their prompt response and action as well as their workmanship on the end-product satisfied us.”


“I would like to take this opportunity to first, thank you for the 9 years of services to the hospital. Maclean has offered a top-level cleaning service with the magnificent team of client service right down to the cleaner.

I am particularly writing to appreciate the cleaner, namely BAL BAHADUR, M. SUMON and MASLINDAH for their professionalism and exceptional work ethic. They are punctual, dependable and presented with more than what has been asked of them.”


“We are writing to express my sincere appreciation for the exceptional work of the cleaning crew who was responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of our office premises. Over the past few weeks, we have observed the excellent work that Nur Alom has been doing, and we must say that his dedication and professionalism are truly commendable.

I have personally witnessed Nur Alom going the extra miles to ensure that the office is clean and hygienic especially during these challenging times post pandemic. His commitment to maintaining a clean and safe environment has been exceptional, and he has made a significant contribution to keep our workplace safe and healthy for all employees. “


“We would like to express our thanks towards janitor Suriakala for excellent cleaning services rendered during Deep Cleaning activities on 14th and 28th January 2023. As well, we find her job deliverance is excellent and committed on daily routine tasks.

Hereby, we extend our thanks to Bobby, Fahmi for their prompt response of any inquiries and replacement planning during janitor's absence. We are also thankful to be supported by the Maclean team for

  • deep cleaning upholstery office chairs, sofa
  • fabric wall meeting rooms
  • fabric cubicle – employee workstation areas
  • lobby reception, breakout area, workstation area
  • floor scrubbing at carpeted area total approximately 3,617sqft
  • floor scrubbing at pantry vinyl floor area"

“Excellent cleaning services. Prompt response of any inquiries and fast planning during your janitor on leave”


“Excellent service during the summer break for the school opening preparations - efficient, gracious customer service, the level of detail and accountability you have demonstrated on the housekeeping service.”


Our Supervisors and Crew Are Well Trained

“I received a verbal compliment from client on Crew’s performance & improvement after we had engagement meeting. Well done and keep up the good work!”


“Services provided by the crew on site was good and amazing, especially the head of the crew obviously showing his excellent performance on managing his team that provided high quality cleanliness service throughout the year. They have shown a great team spirit and hope this can continue and maintained in future. I would also take this opportunity to congratulate Miss Nadia who trained such a good team and of course your good services to our company as well.”


“Thank you very much for the team you lead! Professional and high efficiency!”


“Convey our outmost appreciations for the excellent service provided to our team in Bayan Lepas. Your team, which is Samy and his supportive team, have been doing great jobs & supported us. Samy has been committed to all the tasks given with fast response from him & the teams.”


“Formally and sincerely express our gratitude for the amazing honesty your team shown during recently lost and found case. Nurhayati Binti Abdullah had shown exceptional discipline and dedication to her daily work. Her actions directly impacted our image and Maclean directly benefited the team and company on a greater level. Once again, thank you for the leadership shown by Maclean’s management team – Kak Mis on the diligence and integrity adopted for all the team on the site.”


“Layanan yang sangat baik, berdisiplin, komited, sabar, berbudi bahasa dan sentiasa positif.”

3S Centre

“Thank You for the Good Service. I would like to express my deep appreciation for the women who are doing the cleaning at our premise. I am very satisfied with their work! I would like to thank Diana (supervisor) and Sajib who always monitor and ensure someone to cover when the cleaners go on leave. Good teamwork and dependable.”


We Are Well Versed with Various Industry Compliancy Requirements

“Congratulations “Maclean Team” as all cleaners have successfully passed the EHS training that was conducted on site.

We are satisfied with their service”


“Thanks for your team’s kind support to maintain the cleanliness of our LMM plant during our two important events:

(1) EHS Corporate Audit

(2) EHS Plan Forum Recognition”


“Thank you very much for giving 100% support and for ensuring we followed and maintained proper social distancing amid the events.”


“Gratitude for Maclean’s performance and support during our compliance audit held last October. Maclean’s team has made so much effort in order to keep our business running with full compliance. It's a good image that we comply to every legal requirement that was relevant with Maclean’s help. Maimunah has been key player into this Audit weeks.”


“Many thanks to Zura for the last compliance audit which covered compliance in pharmaceuticals.”


“Our management would like to take the opportunity to sincerely thank you for the excellent service provided to our facility especially for the fresh goods department, for maintaining cleanliness as per our standard.”


“Able to answer questions from Auditor during ISO Audit.”


Understanding Urgency and Providing Personalised Attention

“We would like to extend our greatest appreciation to you and your team for all the hard work going the extra mile ensuring everything is ready for the event. We know there were a quite a bit of last-minute requests, but you guys managed to extend your excellent service and that made a difference definitely. We appreciate your contribution and management also relay their appreciation and gratitude to all the Janitor team. Thank you so much for being good support for this event and hope this good performance can be maintained.”


“Hope you are doing great. For the past few months Samy Rau has been supervising our Penang location. We are very grateful that he has been showing his interest and helping me to solve a lot of problems. His presence here during the site visit has made us able to voice up regarding most issues directly. Most pending issues have been resolved. We hope that we will make a better team in future.”


“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Samy and the team, especially Ali Raihan, Sajib Sikdar and all Maclean team members for helping our team on the water leaking issue that happened. Their fast respond to our call during midnight and coming to help us to handle the situation. Keep it up and continue to work together and support our Facilities team.”


“They are remarkable with their attitudes. The way they go above and beyond to ensure that all our events are presented well, their sense of collaboration and attention to detail is greatly valued.”


“I would like to extend our appreciation for the amazing work done by your team on site especially team leader, Maimunah in supporting several occasions of main event. They have been supportive in terms of logistic, pre-event preparation and on top of that making the event running smoothly.

Please pass my appreciation to Maimunah, Sulaiman, Susilawati and Haipah for their support.”


In addition to the above, we are proud and grateful to receive 2 awards from CBRE:

  • Exceptional Service Award 2022 
  • Best Safety and Covid Response Award 2022

So, try us out and experience the Maclean service first-hand. 

To find out more on how we give you the best value for your budget without compromising your health or safety, please connect with us at 03-7773 0300 or

Sep 2023
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