Industry Leaders Forum: Kerry Boon, Sales and Marketing Manager, Proquip NZ

How was 2022 for Proquip?

Throughout a year of ups, downs, and uncertainty, Proquip has remained upright and resilient, experiencing consistent growth. To keep all parts of our business under one brand, we merged our Frontline Cleaning Supplies division into Proquip.

Alongside this we opened an exciting new chapter; the launch of our website as an online ecommerce platform, which has greatly benefitted our new and existing customers.

Keeping the customer’s experience in mind, we developed this platform to allow multilevel accounts, so that any customer can review and purchase our products and equipment in the same space – regardless of their department.

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

A common challenge that our company faces this year is a lack of business confidence. Business confidence is vital to the economy, keeping our ship running smoothly in the right direction, obtaining success.

Nationally we’ve witnessed some harsh impacts of the economy; a cost-of-living increase, an escalation of crime and daunting news articles that keeps us on our toes.

Collectively we need to put a concentrated effort into thinking positively, support one another to battle this gloomy storm, and make it to the other side with brute force.

If this sounds like a pep talk – it’s meant to – as a leader it is my duty to boost morale and motivate my team, which is sometimes easier said than done.

What are Proquip’s priorities for 2023?

At Proquip, we prioritise end user training and customer education. An example of this is our launching of an online training platform, The Learning Centre (TLC). This innovative platform allows 24/7 access to training on our equipment, helping our customers to easily navigate information on use and maintenance.

Alongside this, our team continues to drive effort into customer visits, providing education with cleaning demonstrations, showcasing how to get the best out of the equipment.

Our education focus also branches out to finance guidance, for customers acquiring cleaning equipment. We provide a range of finance options to suit a variety of businesses, administering flexibility and support.

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

This year I expect that we will continue to explore battery-powered products and smart technology.

In this magazine edition you’ll notice that we have released the exciting news that Numatic have upped their NX300 battery warranty from one to three years.

This provides a great benefit, especially for a building service contractor who purchases a battery powered product with the three-year warranty, they can rest assured that the battery itself remains under warranty for at least three-years of the cleaning contract duration. This makes it easier to price contracts and provides further confidence in the longevity of our products.

How do you see the cleaning industry evolving in 2023?

As the cleaning industry is a large, slow turning wheel, I don’t expect much drastic change this year. The challenges we face, such as the availability of staff and cost increases are not quick fixes either.

In preparation for the future, we need to focus on investing in our existing staff, supplier network, and customer relationships, providing as much protection and support as we can.

This should be prioritised before stepping into new projects and ideas, ensuring our team is resilient, positive, and driven.

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

Proquip is currently working on a handful of sustainability projects, the most noteworthy being a project with Numatic and an organisation called Charity Water; funding access of clean water to communities in dire need. Last year, in partnership with Numatic, Proquip funded 600,000 litres of drinking water to communities in the Atsinanana and Sofia regions of Madagascar.

Every time a customer purchases the popular NUC244NX floor scrubber, a contribution is made towards this initiative. We expect this to grow by at least 20 per cent over this year, continuing to give back and improve living conditions to those who need it most.

Alongside this, we’ve also made the consistent effort to replace an increasing number of our products with those built from recycled plastic. Our EM3 cleaners trolleys are made of up to 97 per cent per cent recycled plastic!

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

When the economy takes a hit, business leaders can find themselves swept up in the stress and uncertainty, saying and doing things out of character. As a leader, it is vital to remain calm and positive around your team, and continuously focus on moving forward. Make sure to celebrate team successes, no matter how big or small, and focus on constructively turning any negative scenarios into positive outcomes.

Staff can reflect their leader’s attitude and behaviour onto customers, so this shouldn’t be taken lightly. I thoroughly enjoyed and benefitted from reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey.

If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it, if you have read it, read it again!

Is there a message that you would like to share with the industry?
Keep an eye out for Proquip this year, we have some innovative and enticing product enhancements in store!

Not only are these improvements great to have, but they’ll also overcome challenges that we previously thought were unachievable. You can follow us on LinkedIn to keep up to date on these developments!

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

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