Leaders Forum: RapidClean NZ

INCLEAN chats to Craig Newton, national manager, RapidClean NZ.

How was 2019 for RapidClean NZ? What were the highlights? What were the challenges?

Rapid’s 10 members in New Zealand had a fantastic year of growth. Our members and preferred suppliers returned from the 2018 RapidClean conference in Auckland, with a real sense of unity. From there, the membership grew to 12 over the next seven months, adding members in Whangarei and Rotorua, while also seeking options in Wellington and adding to our existing Auckland base.

There were also a number of additional preferred suppliers added in segments to enhance the original supply channel with a flavour of “Kiwi Made”. Rapid NZ is fully New Zealand-owned and is always seeking to support New Zealand made products and services to build an extremely strong platform that supports the local industry.

We now have our RapidClean cleaning chemicals and garbage bags made in New Zealand and are supporting other local manufacturers. As Rapid NZ grows, the local opportunities are endless.

What will be the immediate focus for RapidClean NZ in 2020?

The immediate focus will be to grow members in the areas of Auckland and Wellington, as well as two or three regional areas, if opportunity exists. Our focus will also be on adding preferred suppliers with the right criteria that will continue to enhance the growth opportunities in NZ.

The growth platform will strengthen Rapid NZ’s ability to support local and key accounts nationally. The program is gathering speed now and will broaden its reach into the market step by step through 2020.

What do you expect will be the big trends of 2020?

Products and systems that support productivity and profitability in daily activity for cleaners and cleaning companies, as well as deliver savings to the client. There will be more product innovation as well as an increase in eco-solutions and battery-powered technology.

Previously in the industry, new technology has been at a high cost, and often ineffective in bettering the business. It will be a back to basics approach, at the right cost, that will benefit the end-user and secure future loyalty.

What key issues do you think the industry should be discussing in 2020?

The industry needs to implement correct training and support systems for cleaners. This will ensure the right application of products, which in turn will deliver not only happy clients but future opportunity for the business to grow.

Ecological innovations are gathering pace at an incredible rate and we foresee that this will only increase as clients seek more supply and service in this area. However, we need to be careful in choice as fashion doesn’t equal function, so the correct choice of product is critical.

What is one issue you think the industry should urgently address in 2020?

Training, Training, Training (TTT – Train the Trainer).

You can never have enough training. With product supply growing at a very fast pace in the industry, manufacturers and distributors must educate the industry. Without education and knowledge, we are treading water and the wrong product can have immeasurable and long-lasting effects on a business, not to mention fiscal implications.

Cleaning will never go away, even with the introduction of automation, there will always be a human element to cleaning. We must continue to focus on the cleaner as they are the end conduit between the innovation and technology available. It is the cleaner that delivers the rise, or fall, of a product or solution to the client.

Incorrect or no training can deliver failure, and when asked who is to blame it unfortunately often falls on the cleaner, when in fact if the training and product support had been delivered the outcome would have been very different.

How do you see the cleaning landscape evolving into 2020?

Evolution in the cleaning industry is interesting as the opportunities and options for change and choice is moving at a very fast pace.

There’s always human interest for innovation and new products, but there can be lethargy in the person making ‘change’. Is it that we are generally cautious? Not trusting? Or just not sure? It could be a lack of education as to why change is a positive move for business.

Local and global manufacturers spend an incredible amount of money on R&D to innovate an industry and to take a product from an idea on a page to the hands of the user. Change should not be feared. If you are the decision maker, ask to receive proper product education and training so that you can make a positive and informed decision.

Is there one key message you would like to share with the industry?

Work smarter not harder; embrace change, do not fear it; and support your local New Zealand-owned and operated businesses.

The big end of town always have their eye on the profit and it rarely stays in NZ, whereas, a locally owned business has all the tools and more to support all levels of the industry. Everyone needs product, support, training, trust and loyalty to grow. RapidClean embodies those sentiments every day.

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