A rock-solid commitment to building strong and enduring customer relationships continues to earn Proquip an enviable reputation as New Zealand’s leading supplier of commercial cleaning equipment and accessories. Campbell Gardiner reports.
Lower Hutt-headquartered Proqip has recently been in expansion mode – adding to its already impressive product suite, increasing headcount, relocating its Auckland premises, opening a new 800sqm facility and even acquiring one of its own dealers.
It’s been a growth story, par excellence. Customer focus, coupled with hard work, strategic nous and chasing new market opportunities has seen revenues at the family-owned company increase year-on-year.
Occupying a position as an exclusive national distributor of commercial and industrial cleaning equipment from US and European manufacturers, Proquip are the go-to guys for reliable high-spec scrubbers, sweepers, polishers, vacuums and floorcare systems.
Odds are, when you see a polished gleaming surface in a supermarket, warehouse, factory, accommodation or healthcare facility, cutting edge equipment supplied by Proquip has been on the job.
As well as its extensive line-up of commercial cleaning equipment, Proquip supplies cordless cleaning brushes from UK manufacturer iVo Group. The specialised brushes clean tight, hard to reach areas such as escalators and grout lines. Proquip also supplies a range of cleaning and housekeeping trolleys.
Since being established in 2002 Proquip has distinguished itself by focussing on customer service and support. A purchase from Proquip is about much more than a mere transaction. Owners Duane and Kerry Boon say before any sale Proquip takes the time to understand its customers’ total needs. Timely and accurate information and advice targeted to each customer makes all the difference.
“We work through a series of questions that helps give us a clear picture of their existing cleaning processes and how we can add value from an equipment and systems point of view.
“New customers are taken through a training program covering every aspect of their new machine. We also provide an operator’s certificate for cleaners who’ll be using the new equipment, and provide maintenance charts so the customer can see what parts of the machine need to be cleaned and serviced each week.”
Key to the firm’s success has been having the right people. With more than 100 years’ experience between them, Proquip’s 13 staff are on hand to lend expertise at all stages of the sales cycle – from pre-sales advice and information to post-sales equipment service and support. With a service agent network peppered up and down the country and a team skilled in diagnosing equipment problems over the phone, training and preventative maintenance is another focus.
Proquip has a 30-strong network of wholesalers, dealers and resellers located in New Zealand’s main urban centres and regionally. While Proquip sells a lot of equipment into the provinces including to factories and processing plants, metropolitan Auckland is driving much of the company’s success.
Earlier this year Proquip acquired one of its own Auckland dealers, Frontline Supplies Limited, and moved to a new site in Onehunga complete with an 800sqm showroom. Showcasing the diversity of Proquip’s equipment offerings, the facility uniquely features an ‘Innovation Wall’ where Proquip’s suppliers are able to set up displays for new product releases.
Duane and Kerry say the Frontline acquisition was a strategic move, done in the interests of diversification. “Frontline are focussed on cleaning consumables such as brooms, brush ware, chemicals and washroom products. Putting their consumables products and our capital equipment together gives our customers a wider, one-stop-shop offering.”
Meanwhile, new opportunities for Proquip continue to present themselves – including from the boom in aged care facilities. The country’s tourist bonanza is also having a positive effect, with Proquip now selling more equipment into hospitality and accommodation sectors.
The company is riding high on an industry wave of new equipment purchases. A far cry from the days of the financial crisis when many people opted to repair aging equipment, Duane and Kerry have seen an increased level of investment in modern, less energy hungry equipment with better productivity and user experience.
“There’s a big drive in Europe for environmentally friendly machines with low energy motors. That’s being driven by legislation, which will eventually come here. We supply all the latest European equipment in New Zealand so, as well as superior quality and performance, our customers are benefiting from the very latest in energy efficiency.”
This first appeared in the August issue of INCLEAN NZ