Industry Leaders Forum: Grant McLauchlan, Managing Director, CrestClean

How was 2022 for CrestClean?

While the last 12 months were full of ongoing disruption and uncertainty that impacted the general economy, we are pleased that our strategies to counter Covid and the related disruptions have delivered the greater CrestClean franchise system a high degree of resilience which resulted in us wrapping up the year with significant positive momentum and engagement with franchisees and customers alike.

What were the highlights?

Without question, celebrating our 25th anniversary as a team was an overriding highlight, followed by successfully deploying our new information technology environment and launching our specialist services programme ‘CrestClean HealthCare’. These made for a year of milestone achievements that lay the foundation for an exciting year ahead.

What were the challenges?

The ongoing uncertainty of Covid disruptions across the country, coupled with the lack of the Government’s understanding and support of businesses in New Zealand, has made it difficult to plan too far into the future, which is both frustrating and challenging for all businesses in the country. With tight labour markets, due to unrealistic immigration settings and elevated inflation in the economy, we see the challenges of 2022 only being extended into the year ahead.

What are the company’s main priorities for 2023?

Like every year, in 2023 our core focus will be on doing the basics well, ensuring we are delivering on our promises to our customers, while maintaining an emphasis on the health and wellbeing of everyone involved with CrestClean.

What do you see as the big trends for 2023?

We see further focus on the wellbeing of personnel as a growing trend within successful, sustainable organisations, coupled with a need for all entities to have a good look at their supply chain regarding modern slavery as a requirement to ongoing success in the year ahead.

Are there any key sustainability commitments CrestClean has made for 2023? 

Being the only nationwide New Zealand cleaning company with the government-endorsed Environmental Choice Licence, (Licence Number 4517141 Cleaning Services), we are challenged, as part of that licence, to document and prove annual reductions in our environmental impact as well as educate our customers in the benefits of implementing good environmental practices within their organisations. We have committed to continually improving how we operate regarding this as a responsible corporate citizen.

How will you measure your progress?

As part of maintaining our Environmental Choice Licence we have a rigorous independent audit undertaken by Tonkin and Taylor bi-annually, where our progress is monitored for improvement.

Over the last six years we have achieved annual improvements in our environmental credentials and over the last 12 months we have seen a significant increase in the number of EV and hybrid vehicles across our fleet which will only see further improvements in all our environmental KPIs well into the future.

How do you see the cleaning industry evolving in 2023?

Seeking out innovation and the absolute need to work smarter, given the tight labour markets, will be a necessity for businesses that wish to succeed. Innovation will be key to reducing the pressure in some areas.

Training and personnel development, not only in cleaning but also in professional development, will become a focus as cleaning becomes a pathway to success in other careers.

What’s the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

Maintaining a culture of success, one that engages all people at all levels involved in the organisation with a view to retaining the personnel who are crucial to the ongoing operation and success of your business — this is mission critical in an economy where labour is unsustainably tight.

What advice would you give to fellow leaders in the cleaning industry?

It’s all about the people! He Tangata, he Tangata, he Tangata. Take care of your people, respect them, train them, empower them, support them and they will look after you.

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

The essential services/products we supply as an industry are critical to enabling organisations to operate, so ensure you place a sustainable value on what you’re offering so that it delivers an equitable return to all stakeholders.

Do not discount your pricing as it will end up delivering little value to you as an organisation, to your customers and most importantly to your people.

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

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