On a recent business trip, I
stopped in an airport restaurant to have dinner while waiting for my flight to
depart. I was sitting at a table overlooking a bank of twenty or more pay
phones. Actually, it was more like where the pay phones used to be.
I was struck by the realization
that, with the popularity, reduced costs and efficiency of cell phones, there
is no need for pay phones anymore. What a huge change for the
telecommunications industry, as well as for the consumer. Can you imagine
operating without a cell phone today?
Think of your computers, the
Internet, E-mail and GPS; how in the world could we survive without them? I
know I would have a very difficult time. I spend hours every day communicating
with my friends, family, peers, IICRC board members and staff by e-mail. I
purchase items and book airline tickets and hotel rooms online. I also pay
bills and engage in online banking. I’m sure many of you do too. If I can’t get
on my computer every day, I fall behind and I feel lost!
We all know that change is
inevitable. How we deal with change is optional; it even becomes a test of
character. And I have to admit, I haven’t always done this very well, though I
The cleaning and restoration
industry has experienced tremendous change over the past few years. On the
cleaning side, just think about the recent shift in trends in the floor
covering industry. Although carpet is still popular in homes and offices, the
trend toward hard surfaces and area rugs has had a significant impact on the
carpet production and cleaning industries. Today, most major carpet (flooring?)
manufacturers produce ceramic tile, laminate, wood flooring and rugs. In 2002,
area rugs represented about 17 percent of carpet production in the U.S.; last year,
it was up to 25 percent.
Other changes on the cleaning side
of the industry include the introduction of microfiber; increased popularity of
polyester fiber in carpet; encapsulation cleaning, and manufacturer warranties
specifying the use of CRI SOA chemicals and equipment and IICRC Certified
Certainly on the restoration side
there have been tremendous changes because of weather patterns, improved
technology and a better understanding of the science behind restoration and
remediation processes. There are many new tools available for professional
restorers including: meters and monitoring equipment, drying equipment and
methods including “heat” drying, and of course, improved extraction methods and
Nothing is as important to the
survival of an organization as change, while nothing has greater potential to
cause failures, loss of production, or lower quality than resistance to it.
History is full of organizations that failed to change and are now extinct.
Just ask any automobile manufacturer who resisted alternative fuels or hybrid
One of the missions of the IICRC
is to keep up with changes in our industry. That’s why we improve or introduce
new courses periodically, write or revise our Standards, and require CECs
(Continuing Education Credits) for registrants. Just a few weeks ago we began
investigating hydro-electrolysis as a substitute for chemical cleaning in many
hard-surface applications. Talk about the ultimate green cleaning process!
Resistance to change comes from a
fear of the unknown or an expectation of loss. Understanding the reason for
change is the first step in accepting it. Recently, I had to explain to a
registrant why several years ago the requirements for Master Restorer status
changed. He feared that he had lost his Master Restorer status. Once he heard
the reasons for the additional course requirements, such as Health and Safety
Technician, he understood and now supports the program.
Remember, there are good, sound
reasons why IICRC courses and Standards have changed over the years. Don’t sit
back and let the industry and your competitors pass you by. Changing and
keeping up with industry trends is not only the right thing to do, it is the
key to your very survival and success.