Ralf Kurtenbach is site manager for the HBC Service site in Cologne and Düsseldorf, which opened in December 2021. In this interview, he gives us an insight into his work and explains the biggest challenges currently facing the commercial cleaning industry.
What is your best experience working with customers?
HBC Service has very diverse interesting customers from startups to SMEs. For me, working with customers is always a nice experience. So there are often nice moments as a service provider in the field of building cleaning, which arise in daily communication with customers so and enrich the cooperation.
Particularly with startups, as a workplace service provider we get to see the development and growth of our customers directly, and that is often very exciting, how a company develops overall in the course of the collaboration.
Our first customer in the Rhineland was a company that produces radio play figures for children. Another very exciting example, where the collaboration is a lot of fun, is a company that specializes in concept development, planning, construction and the management of real estate.
What are the biggest challenges in commercial cleaning for 2023 and in office services? Is there a change before and after the pandemic?
The biggest challenge I see right now is that the use of space is no longer so easy to plan after the pandemic period. Many of the customers' employees can't decide whether they want to get out of the home office again and be more on-site in their company. This makes the space planning process very complex and time-consuming.
At HBC, for example, there are traditionally minded customers who say they are guided by the service specifications and always want the desk cleaned, regardless of how often it is actually used.
On the other hand, there are also companies that prefer results-oriented cleaning and want a desk to be cleaned only when it is actually being used. But how should we determine this in concrete terms? A Post-it as a notice on the desk about the frequency of use - I don't see that as the solution. There are far better solutions here, from the "used/unused" desk card to digital recording.
Before Corona, businesses were not as aware of the urgency of cleaning buildings.
What is the optimum level and ideal cleaning intervals?
In order to find an optimal measure and the ideal cleaning intervals, a good partnership between the company and the cleaning service provider is elementary. For a timely and comprehensive information of the companies to their cleaning service provider, e.g. when events take place, after which an increased cleaning requirement could arise or when there are rest days or company vacations, in which no high cleaning frequency is necessary, also help the companies to be more efficient in the subject of cleaning and thus also to save costs through good communication.
Results-oriented cleaning is therefore a major challenge for the industry.
Because each person defines cleaning and hygiene very individually.
What is the advantage for companies when you work with HBC Service?
The teams of HBC Service plan the cleaning processes strategically, efficiently and also so individually that with good communication the companies can also save costs. HBC Service therefore offers companies a cleaning service based on their needs.
For this, however, it is important that a contact person is available in the company who ensures good communication with the Workplace Service Team and also has the basic understanding of what information is required for demand-oriented cleaning with regard to cleaning intervals.
At HBC Service, we see ourselves more as a partner to the companies, to be able to advise and support them in the best possible way, so that they can do their own work in the best possible way.
Companies can communicate with us promptly both via digital tools, by phone or in person. The advantage for companies in working with us is that we think and plan innovatively.
What do you value most in your daily work?
Through this industry, I have come together with different companies and people, whether culturally or in terms of their respective professional backgrounds. HBC Service stands for diversity, versatility and digitalization, and this is also reflected in the fact that we work with people from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds, both on the customer side and in-house. What I like about my work is that it gives me a lot of inspiration and ideas, because I have conversations with people that lead to a broadening of perspectives on both sides.