Industry Leaders Forum: Ebin Sebastian, Managing Director, NZ Cleaning Supplies

How was 2022 for NZ Cleaning Supplies?

2022 was an exciting year for NZ Cleaning supplies, despite all the challenges we faced in terms of logistics and manpower, we emerged victorious by meeting customer expectations which has always been the goal from the start.

This year is unequivocally dedicated to our team who has gone above and beyond to ensure there is no disruption in the supply chain. What truly made this year exciting was the zeal with which everyone at NZ Cleaning worked towards the common goal and stepped up when needed.

This year truly reflected the work culture and the future of NZ Cleaning that is only getting brighter. In addition to this, we introduced DULEVO to NZ, which is a range of street sweepers that saves labour cost and less reliability on labour to do cleaning tasks ,which is one of the main concerns we as an industry are facing today. The range of DULEVO sweepers are eco-friendly and it is our way of giving back to the environment and maintaining our sustainability status.

What do you see as the main challenges the market is facing in 2023?

One of the few challenges our cleaning industry is facing today and will possibly face in 2023 would be skilled staff. Businesses are always looking for highly skilled industry mavens as we continue to face staff shortages.

We are actively looking to solve this by introducing semi-automated and fully automated cleaning machines into the market. We are conducting demonstrations and trials for existing and potential customers to see what suits best for their businesses. This will help businesses rely less on staff and more on proven technology.

What are NZ Cleaning Supplies’ main priorities for 2023?

Our goal for 2023 is very clear. As our business is expanding and constantly acquiring more and more customers across the country, we are actively looking to open up a branch in Christchurch to provide better service to our customers in the south.

We are hoping to achieve this in the first quarter of 2023. We are also investing on getting more DULEVO sweepers that takes less labour hours and also introduce SCARAB HINO SWEEPERS to NZ market.

Our second priority is to keep our staff updated with all the latest technology we bring in to help our customers choose what’s best for them armed with strong marketing collateral.

We are aiming to participate in more expos to cater a range of customers from commercial cleaners to facilities management.

We are also working towards effectively strengthening our online presence as the future is digital and we believe in keeping up with current and possible future trends.

What do you expect to be the big trends of 2023?

What we believe would gain momentum as employees are back to work would be to contain infections in the workplace. It is vital we look after our employees and make sure they feel comfortable working in the office so hygiene is paramount which in turn will again increase demand for sanitisers and disinfectants. This will open up opportunities for us to introduce innovative products to help solve the problem and stop them from recurring as companies will strive to avoid staff irregularities to avoid disruption in their services.

How do you see the cleaning industry evolving in 2023?

The evolution has unfortunately happened once we were hit with COVID, it was a learning process for everyone who hadn’t given hygiene utmost importance. It is no more one solution to all problems, it’s about a tailored approach to every cleaning issue as every little negligence could lead to things getting out of hand.

In 2023, cleaning companies would be looking into investing in effective products that are efficient and will prove profitable in the long run rather than cost cutting and trying to buy cheap products to retain customers. The reward for work well done is an opportunity to do more.

Cleaning industries need to be well equipped for the unseen future keeping in mind what the past had us go through. More importantly be proactive, invest in right products, and focus on long term profits by catering to customer needs which in turn will increase customer satisfaction and reap good results.

Are there any key sustainability commitments NZ Cleaning Supplies has made for 2023?        

NZ Cleaning as a company strives to be environmentally and socially responsible. We believe small changes can make a big difference. Starting with our office where we try to use natural light, when possible, instead of artificial lights, energy efficient bulbs, use laptops instead of desktops, hibernation feature on all computers thus reducing energy bills.

We are more inclined towards bringing in recycled or recyclable products wherever possible and avoid single use plastics which in turn reduces wastage in the supply chain.

We look at the packaging our suppliers send us if it can be recycled or reused. We are also looking to make changes to the way staff work by encouraging hybrid working, video conferencing, choosing energy efficient vehicle. We also source products locally made to reduce carbon footprint.

What’s the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

The biggest challenge facing leaders today is keeping up with changing trends and customer expectations. Currently, meeting customer expectations while being sustainable can be challenging in terms of costs.  It can get tricky to introduce new technology while some customers are resistant to change and swear by traditional methods.

Retaining trust of the customer while we face disruption in supply chain due to unavoidable circumstances can be challenging.

Every leader will have their own set of experiences and challenges so all I can say is ‘customer is king’ and if you don’t take care of them somebody else will.

This first appeared in the February 2023 issue of INCLEAN NZ magazine. 

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