Industry Leaders Forum: Gerard Searl, Sales Director, Sabco Professional

We are proud to once again be manufacturing Sabco brooms in Australia, continuing with the local manufacturing that Mr Hay built the company from in Adelaide in 1892.

How was 2023 for Sabco Professional?

2023 was another growth year for our team at Sabco Professional. We have continued to refine our range by adding more key commercial products and increased our experienced account management team across the country. Our account managers are not only working directly with our strategic distributors but also in the field with end users conducting joint calls to grow both our business’.

In addition to this. we also delved deeply into our customer service, dispatch, and freight management practises to ensure we are providing the best possible service. This led to us launching our platinum customer service program that provides a dedicated customer service representative to our key strategic customers that are supporting us.

Freight delivery time frames can be a challenge due issues that are often outside of our control, but we are continually assessing how we manage this and putting in place improvement measures.

What are the company’s main priorities for 2024?

 The main priorities for us are very clear. Continue striving to become the trusted partner of choice for our customers that service the commercial cleaning market and continue to focus on our corporate responsibilities in relation to reconciliation, modern slavery, sustainability & local manufacturing.

We have been very active in all the above areas including ratifying our Reconciliation Plan & Modern Slavery Policy.  We have also started phase one of our Made in Australia program which includes the commissioning of a state of the art, broom manufacturing machine which is now in operation at Laverton North Victoria. 

We are proud to once again be manufacturing Sabco brooms in Australia, continuing with the local manufacturing that Mr Hay built the company from in Adelaide in 1892.

From a reconciliation perspective, we have recently launched our SABCO Jingo range of products featuring artworks by elders of the Jingo family, which the Sabco team were lucky to spend time with and learn from. 

A percentage of our proceeds from this range directly contributes to improved outcomes for the Central Australian Anagu community at Uluru in the Northern Territory with priority given to supporting young people.

What do you see as the most significant opportunities and challenges in the cleaning industry? How can the industry leverage or address these? 

Introducing innovative, more sustainable products is a significant opportunity for our industry as the demand for such products continue to rise. 

In addition to this, manufacturing more traditional cleaning tools that can help reduce the chance of injury to cleaners who use them for extended periods of time is important. A significant challenge for our industry is introducing these more sustainable and user-friendly products at a competitive price and in line with existing options. 

Are there any key sustainability commitments Sabco has made for 2024?

Our hard work on this important issue will only be continued into 2024. In 2023 some of our key achievements are (but not limited to) the fact that less than 27 per cent of our range has less than 75 per cent recycled materials or packaging and we are working hard to reduce this further. 

In addition to this, we have optimised the way we freight products into Australia which has reduced 17.6 tonnes of CO2 emissions, and this will continue to increase.

We already have numerous products in our range that are made of considerable amounts of recycled plastic including our range of Brix carts and accessories, ‘Made in Italy’.

 This month, we are proudly launching our new recycling stations and waste bins that are made of 98 per cent post-consumer recycled plastic.

Interest in these new products has been extremely high even before they have been officially launched and highlights the demand for more sustainable products. 

What’s your leadership philosophy? 

I always strive to create a team that has a positive, highly motivated culture and encourage each team member to be an active participant by sharing their ideas, knowledge, and skills to contribute to the team’s success. I believe it is important to empower team members to get the job done, whilst being accountable for their own results. 

Do you have a message for the industry? 

Sabco is dedicated to support our customers that service the commercial cleaning industry. We will continue to expand our range of sustainable products and continually strive to improve our service levels in line with our customers’ requirements and expectations. Our dedicated team of experienced account managers are in the field everyday servicing not only our distributor partners but the end users to recommend the right cleaning solutions and provide expert training and ongoing support. If we can be of any assistance to help grow your business, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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