Industry Leaders Forum: Kerry Boon, Proquip NZ

Kerry Boon , Sales and Marketing Manager, Proquip NZ

How was 2021 for Proquip? What were the highlights? What were the challenges?

Despite a challenging year for many businesses across New Zealand and the world, 2021 was a very positive year for Proquip. We experienced considerable growth by adopting new products and staying focused on our goals.

Being able to support and lead a fantastic team of people willing to go the extra mile in tough times has been a highlight. It’s exciting and, at the same time, humbling, to have such a dedicated and loyal team driven by a common goal.

Supply chain challenges that have affected the entire world are accentuated for New Zealand business’s as we are so far away from many of the large manufacturing countries.

Our procurement team have put a lot of energy into forecasting and planning with our overseas suppliers and shipping providers to ensure we have stock for our customers.

Is there an achievement you’re particularly proud of from the past 12 months?

Since launching our South Island branch in Christchurch we can truly say we bring a consistent offering of the best products to all our customers across New Zealand. Our nationwide reach has been a long-term goal for some time and an achievement we are very pleased with, but if I had to say what I’m most proud of, it would have to be the solidarity and resilience of our team through these recent times.

What will be the immediate focus for Proquip in 2022?

The latest technology developments in battery life and runtime will be leading our focus for 2022, particularly in the NX300 lithium range from Numatic. For example, the NEW RSB150 battery vacuum offers 100 per cent increase of runtime per battery pack and a 400 per cent increase on battery life before a replacement is needed.

These tangible productivity and product longevity gains are truly revolutionary for the cleaning industry and Proquip are excited to be able to deliver so much value to our customers. Raising awareness and demonstrating the savings in time and sustainability of these new products will be at the forefront of our focus this year.

What are the major opportunities you foresee for Proquip in 2022?

The expansion of our customer service and technical service division creates a significant opportunity for us in 2022. Our new customer service specialists will be fully trained on our customer care standards as well as our suite of finance solutions and delivering technical service coordination on a national scale.

We have a technical service team in both Auckland and Wellington, where we also coordinate nationwide service requirements from. Expanding these divisions allows us to provide an even faster, smoother, and a more comprehensive support experience for our customers.

What challenges and opportunities do you see for the industry in 2022?

Staff availability, especially trained staff, is the single largest challenge we see in the cleaning industry in 2022. Lockdowns and closed borders have played a huge part in creating this problem.

However, if viewed as an opportunity, BSC companies faced with this issue can turn to technology in some cases. By demonstrating new technology and ideas in achieving better cleaning results, companies can help their customers upskill and upgrade while at the same time, not having to invest in more labour. It’s a win/win scenario.

What do you expect to be the big floorcare trends of 2022?

We will continue to see a further move away from traditional mopping for floor maintenance as machinery is more efficient and effective and continues to advance.

An increase in education around the relative ineffectiveness of mopping will continue to grow and machinery will slowly replace this archaic, non-ergonomic mode of cleaning. (Mops were invented in the 1800s!)

What advice do you have for fellow leaders in the cleaning industry?

For anyone in leadership, it is important in the current business climate to keep a steady mind, show stability by not making erratic decisions and take the time to respond to challenges using logic and facts.

The environment we find ourselves in now involves high tension and emotion coupled with constant change and differing opinions across a broad range of topics.

The number of cleaners in New Zealand is comparative to the entire population of Gisborne so strong leadership in our industry can instigate a positive effect to a significant number of Kiwi families.

Is there a message that you would like to share with the industry?

Keep an eye on our LinkedIn page and make sure you are following us as we have some great new products coming out in 2022! We’ve put a huge amount of effort into making sure we can make a difference for our customers in the industry in 2022 by helping them with the latest high-performance technology to make their job (and lives!) easier!

This first appeared in the February issue of INCLEAN NZ magazine. 

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