Leaders Forum: Geoff Hughes, National Manager, RapidClean NZ

Geoff Hughes, National Manager, RapidClean New Zealand

How was 2022 for RapidClean NZ?

2022 started out a slow year after such a fantastic previous year due to negative GDP growth and a slightly retracting economy.

Highlights came in the form of an overdue Clean NZ Expo, which the members both thoroughly enjoyed and supported. This was then followed up by our own RCNZ conference, which was previously withheld for a couple of years due to COVID-19.

This was very well supported by members and our preferred suppliers with events and speed dating for direct contact between member and preferred supplier senior staff which was not always possible during the COVID-19 situation.

The RapidClean NZ conference concluded with our awards dinner to acknowledge excellence in performance by both members and preferred suppliers from RapidClean NZ. Filta was named Preferred Supplier of the Year, and RapidClean NZ Member of the Year was awarded to Waikato Cleaning Supplies Limited.

What are your main priorities for 2023?

To continue to expand on the fact that RapidClean NZ is a mainstream competent, competitive, knowledgeable, and reliable supplier, with a strong focus on the environment, governance, and sustainability.

What are some of the fresh challenges the market is facing?

Main challenges for the New Zealand market are that economists are predicting that we are most likely heading for a recession/negative GDP growth which no-one really knows how bad it will be.

However, there is an election this year plus our hospitality/tourism sectors have started to thrive again. No-one can really predict so early in the year if this will bring about good growth so that hopefully will bring good vibes back into our economy, so our member businesses continue to thrive.

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

We believe the cleaning, hygiene, and health sectors will continue to remain strong as new COVID-19 variants keep governments and people on their guard.

However, as most people have signalled, they have had enough of lockdowns by governments they are travelling more readily and willingly to see other parts of the world outside of their own country. This should bear fruit for our members in the hospitality and tourism sectors where they have extensive experience and support.

Are there any key sustainability commitments/targets the Rapid Group has made for 2023?

Our members are expanding their sales via support from their customer base for our RapidClean NZ Green ECNZ certified range of chemicals which to date has received good support and is continuing to do so.

All our members are very mindful they are employers with staff who depend on them for their livelihood, so they are always careful with the decisions they make.

These decisions can impact all parties concerned both economically and socially in the short and medium to long term thus the members research all their decisions thoroughly.

Our group of members are in for the long haul and their presence in this area is one that is represented with pride and vigour.

How will you measure your progress?

Measurement is via the criteria prescribed in certifications of ISO9001-Quality; ISO-Environmental & AS4801-OH&S standards which are monitored on a regular basis. The benefits of dealing with a certified company are many and beneficial as we as a group of members supply and engender the knowledge that they have the following objectives:

  • Business and customer related objectives
  • Embedded cycles of improvement (continuity of process improvement)
  • Customer complaints handling system
  • Customer focused process development
  • System and process performance monitoring
  • Planned and implemented staff training for both members and customers if required.

What’s the biggest challenge facing leaders in the cleaning industry today?

Compliance costs have been on the rise, and it is a situation that continues to develop and is a very hard area of business to get a direction in from either local or national government bodies so due diligence is required to be sure the objectives in this area are met.

Do you have any advice for fellow leaders in the industry?

This year looks uncertain in terms of the New Zealand economy and how/where it will go. So, to coin a couple of old phrases in one sentence we need to keep our eye on the ball and stick to our knitting in the short to medium term.

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

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