Industry Leaders Forum: Darran Leyden, Managing Director, Whiteley Corporation

Protecting lives and livelihoods’” is the core message that resonates across our business and is part of our leadership philosophy.

How was 2023 for Whiteley? What were the highlights? What were the challenges?

2023 has been challenging with post-pandemic fatigue causing a reduction in the use of hand hygiene products such as alcohol-based handrubs and a reduction in the focus of surface cleaning and disinfection products across the spectrum in non-healthcare markets. This has been countered by the supply issues created during the pandemic for some of our hard floor products being resolved and these products have been launched back to market better than ever!

What are the most significant opportunities and challenges in the industry? How can the industry leverage or address these?

One of the most significant current challenges in the industry is the ability to fill vacant roles and retain key staff. Economic drivers with higher inflation have added pressure to all businesses and as the national economy impacts business, cleaning and hygiene costs are often one of the target areas for reducing costs. Global economic drivers are mostly beyond the control of the industry but we can certainly advocate the benefits the cleaning industry have for society across the board to future staff.

What do you expect to be the big trends of 2024?

I think we will see the market further normalise in 2024 with customers losing some of the pandemic focus on infection prevention. Staff shortages will continue with low unemployment. Increasing robotic usage with decreasing costs, automation and the introduction of AI will continue to make inroads in the industry.

Are there any key sustainability commitments/targets Whiteley has made for 2024? How will you measure your progress?

Sustainability is a key feature for Whiteley moving forward into 2024. We have seen a culture change in customers caring more about the effects on the environment. We have a dedicated team constantly working on our sustainability plan. We can measure our progress based on our Ecovadis ratings, where we see our effects on environment, ethics, labour, and human rights as well as sustainable procurement and we review based on the data to improve our circumstances.

What’s your leadership philosophy?

“Protecting lives and livelihoods” is the core message that resonates across our business and is part of our leadership philosophy. Our team, our customers. and the community are critical elements for our innovation and continuous improvement and will remain so into the future.

Do you have a message for the industry?

People are the focus of what we do, without them there wouldn’t be a cleaning industry and the community wouldn’t be safe without them. We thank everyone for their ongoing dedication and resilience to continuously improving the cleaning industry.

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