Shopping mall trends: more competition and larger spaces to clean

Ranked eighth, South Africa is one of the top ten countries with the most shopping malls, in the world. This is according to a recent South African Council of Shopping Centres’ (SACSC) study.
The SACSC’s study also found that shopping centres are increasing in size, which means a larger space to maintain – although little thought goes into the process behind keeping shopping malls in pristine condition. Many experts agree that the task is no small feat but with the right expertise, maintaining a high standard of cleaning becomes effortless.

Emma Corder, MD of Industroclean, which recently rebranded following a management buyout of Nilfisk South Africa, says that a well-maintained shopping centre leaves a lasting impression and saves money in the long-run. “A clean shopping centre creates a welcoming environment and increases the rate of return. Keeping a shopping centre hygienic and as clean as possible by investing in quality machinery and materials will make all the difference.”

Industroclean, is an industrial cleaning supplier that has been a specialist in the industry since the ’80s. The company supplies facilities with a wide range of cleaning chemicals, materials and accessories.

Durable cleaning equipment is an investment that should last you through the years but if this isn’t the case, Corder suggests checking the following:

• Are the machines stored in an area where it’s not subjected to damage from constant interference (from trolleys and forklifts, etc.)?

• Are the staff equipped with the knowledge to maximise the machine’s full potential? In the case of high staff turnover, do they know enough about the machine to circumvent damage?

• Who is responsible for the equipment? Limiting the number of operators using the equipment and allocating responsibility helps with the longevity of the machinery.

Ensuring that cleaning tools are regularly changed will help to maintain a high level of hygiene. Using items – such as mop heads, pads, brooms and cloths – that aren’t frequently replaced is an exercise in futility. “Cleaning with dirty items can be very unhygienic. This also goes back to having staff that is familiar with the basics, keeping hygiene a top priority to maintain health and safety for customers and employees alike,” adds Corder.

The choice of flooring can also play a role in a facility’s condition. Corder advises careful consideration of the type of surface and how to best clean it: “In the case of porcelain tiles, which is a favourite amongst most shopping centres, the quality of the tile can affect the amount of dirt that gets sloshed around during the cleaning process.”

“An incorrect method of mopping can spread dirt and other harmful germs, exacerbating dirt inside the microscopic pores (usually found in a porcelain tile),” she adds.

Corder suggests a machine like the automatic scrubber drier, which does an excellent job of cleaning floors on a daily basis, will ensure that dirt is actually removed and not just spread around.

Another effective method is using strategically placed floor mats. Mats at the entrance of a shopping centre, in conjunction with walk-off mats placed between different departments, works well. This can quickly trap dirt to help alleviate the amount of time cleaning floors, especially during the busy seasons.

Corder notes there are frequently cases of facilities trying to invest the bare minimum in cleaning equipment, with this often seen as a grudge purchase. “The investment in cleaning products can be inconsistent and staff is often left using products that are not part of the original cleaning specification. It becomes challenging for a supplier when it doesn’t offer a consistent standard (especially when servicing a chain of the same stores).”

“It’s important not to make the range of products and services too complicated as this could negatively impact service delivery. This brings with it the risk of unnecessary strain since there are too many variations of products and parts that have to be taken care of. Consistency is always meeting a high-standard outweighs variety, especially in a fledgeling company,” says Corder.

Recent trends have found that consumers are looking for added convenience, with more lifestyle centres popping up and many shopping centres extending their hours of business. According to Corder, 24-hour convenient stores and the growth of online shopping poses a threat to the ever-growing shopping centre industry.

The company’s recent rebranding has created the opportunity to relook all of its company’s local operations. “This means we can refocus our efforts on traditional strengths in business. We have a lot more space to expand the range of international brands that we represent, and we have more scope to do product development on the chemicals we produce locally,” she says.

“With an increase in competition, a clean and hygienic shopping experience will elevate the shopping centre and its stores. We believe it’s important to prioritise quality and ensure that our products are always associated with excellence.”

Corder concludes it’s crucial that both management and staff have knowledge and access to the best equipment. This gives them an edge to keep up with increasing mall sizes to reduce cleaning time and maximize effort.