Patrick Malnes is a busy, but also jovial, man. As head of Eir Renhold, 4Service’s cleaning division, he is responsible for more than 2,000 employees.
“Nowadays, I naturally spend more time on management than operational cleaning, but like most others I started on the floor,” says Patrick Malnes.
The director from Fredrikstad started cleaning at a young age and soon became involved in the family business with ten employees.
“I’ve washed and dusted, and today I’m lucky to lead many hardworking people who do the same. This journey has made me truly understand the value of every task that gets done.”
One member of Patrick Malnes’ team is relatively new in the company. Morten Mæland is operations manager of Eir Vedlikehold, a new venture for 4Service in Western Norway.
“I’d left Bergen Vedlikehold and started something new. But when Patrick called and said they’d bought the company, were going to turn it into Eir Vedlikehold and had regional growth plans, it was easy to make the decision to return,” Morten Mæland says.
Patrick Malnes enthusiastically describes how they persuaded Morten to return:
“When we bought Bergen Vedlikehold we heard lots of good things about Morten. We got in touch and had an open chat about both opportunities and challenges. When Morten agreed to join the team and help further develop Eir as a concept, this was one of the best things to happen in 2021!”
The past year was very eventful for everyone in the cleaning sector. In the second year of the pandemic, they also received a lot of well-deserved praise and recognition.
“There was naturally an even greater need for cleaning in 2021. This gave us good financial results, but just as important is that we’re now really appreciated as an industry and service provider. The Norwegian people have understood the importance of proper cleaning, which has increased our self-esteem and pride in our work for everyone in the cleaning industry,” Patrick Malnes says proudly.
Morten Mæland shares Patrick Malnes’ observation about the improved status of the cleaning profession.
“It’s exciting to be part of an industry that within a short time gained the status of being critical to society. It was also interesting to observe how the industry responded to the uncertainty in the market. Some companies shut down completely. At 4Service we did the opposite and went into solution mode,” explains the operations manager from Bergen.
An important part of Patrick Malnes’ job is to look to the future and create new opportunities. He has a clear sense of what the most important success factor is:
“To facilitate further growth, we must start by taking the best care of the people we already have!”
4Service has good systems in place to develop and care for our own employees, but the company naturally also does other things to match the competition in the industry.
“The acquisitions here in Western Norway will obviously open up some exciting opportunities in the future,” Morten Mæland says, and continues: “This was also the first time 4Service acquired a company with such a distinct profile within what we previously called temporary services, but which today is called maintenance.”
Last year, 4Service acquired a similar company in Kristiansand and plans to grow within this market in the years to come.
“We must support the traditional caretaker services, but not compete with them. It’s exciting to be involved in developing a service area that lies between cleaning and maintenance. I see many exciting opportunities for the entire Western Norway region,” Morten Mæland says enthusiastically.
It is not only in Western Norway that 4Service has become stronger. Patrick Malnes and his colleagues have also taken big steps in technological terms.
“We have a strong focus on our development department and are now working with robots and sensors more than ever before. We must be market leaders in this field, and we currently have the first fully autonomous robots in full swing,” explains Patrick Malnes.
Today, the robots Ella, Liberty SC50, Cleanfix and Whiz can be found at shopping malls, in gyms and in shops.
“The plan is not for the cleaner to work more quickly, but to work more smartly. To achieve this, we need the support that new technology can give us,” the director adds.
In Oslo, Stavanger and Trondheim, large new high pressure and clean water systems to clean windows have been procured, although both Patrick Malnes and Morten Mæland emphasise the importance of people in our digital age.
“The combination of the right people and the right skills must never be forgotten. If we’re to continue to succeed in the future, everyone must be willing to help each other, going forward,” says Morten Mæland.
Patrick Malnes agrees:
“People are incredibly important. Our culture has taken us to where we are today, and that culture is going to take us into the future. With good procedures and a forward-oriented organisation, we’re ready for new opportunities. We cover the entire country and have the resources and the appetite for what I think will be explosive growth going forward.”
“And we are looking forward to see even more robots becoming citizens of Bergen and our team,” Morten Mæland concludes cheerfully.