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

How was 2020 for Sabco? What were the highlights? What were the challenges?

A key highlight of 2020 was re-inventing our Sabco Professional business and the way we service the commercial cleaning market.

This has included additional, industry experienced account managers, a national commercial product manager, and a new national account manager joining the Sabco Professional team. The recruitment of these industry professionals also coincided with the relocation of our Sabco Professional head office to Sydney from Melbourne.

Our strategy has also been overhauled so that we work even closer with our key distribution partners to provide sales support and training to their end user customers in partnership with them. Our new 2020 Sabco Professional catalogue was also launched in a new easy to read format and was very well received.

Sabco remained open at all times during the pandemic. Ensuring we had adequate product in stock, creating a safe working environment and maintaining a high level of service with legally binding reduced staffing levels in our warehouse was certainly a challenge towards the back end of 2020. A challenge I am sure many other organisations also experienced.

How did Sabco adjust to the impact of the pandemic?

Our operations team were closely monitoring the pandemic once it started and they took early steps to secure additional stock of key commercial cleaning lines and safety equipment.

A number of operational changes were made to due to having to reduce our warehouse staff on a daily basis.  Our dedicated team worked additional shifts and seven days per week as required to meet the increased demand.

Another adjustment in this period was to launch the TGA approved Sabco Ultra Shield Pro 750ml Hospital Grade Disinfectant that protects against virus’ including COVID-19 for up to seven days.

What will be the immediate focus for Sabco in 2021?

Sabco or ‘The South Australian Brush Company’, began in Adelaide in 1892 with limited production facilities and only three employees. Today, it is one of the Australia’s oldest business’ and has grown under the current management to be a market leader.

In 2021, we will return home to South Australia, with the appointment of a new SA and NT State Manager, Ben Veale. We are also making some exciting changes to our range during 2021 to meet the changes as a result of COVD-19.

How will you engage with the market in 2021?

We now have account managers servicing all states who will continue to work closely with our key distribution partners and end users. Under our new model, we have a large number of distributors and end users contacting us to conduct site audits and make cross contamination reduction recommendations across all industries. We encourage organisations to continue contacting us so we can assist in providing them with the right cleaning solutions.

What challenges and opportunities do you see for the wider industry over the next 12 months? 

At present, our industry is experiencing extremely high national demand for commercial cleaning and protective equipment. I believe the ability to source reliable supplies of these products will continue to create challenges for the wider industry well beyond 2021.

This increase in demand will potentially fuel higher prices for these items as well the impact the availability of cost-effective international freight.

This increase in demand certainly creates an opportunity for our industry to supply quality, innovative and cost-effective cleaning solutions that help in the fight against COVID-19.

It will be important to work even closer with our customers moving forward to ensure the public are adequately protected as a result of the right cleaning procedures being implemented.

How has the pandemic changed public attitude and behaviours in respect to hygiene and cleaning standards?

We have seen an increase in demand from end user customers wanting to only use a known reputable cleaning brands that they trust, such as Sabco Professional. I believe this will continue to increase as a result of the current pandemic and the desire for cheaper, untested inferior products will reduce.

What is one issue the industry should urgently address in 2021?

I strongly feel our industry still needs to continue working towards more sustainable products that have a better impact on our environment.

We have a range of sustainable products including biodegradable mop heads, traditional wet mop handles made from recycled plastic bottles and fibreglass and our Italian made IPC Brix cleaning cart that is made from over 75 per cent recycled plastic.

In addition to this, this month we are launching our 40cm x 40cm Sabco Professional Biodegradable colour coded cleaning cloths. Once these cloths enter landfill, they will completely dissolve within three months. This product is an important step in reducing the thousands of disposable microfibre cloths that currently enters landfill in Australia annually and never breakdown.

Is there a message you would like to share with the industry? 

I would like to say thank you to all of the cleaners and other essential service workers who continued working in our industry during the pandemic. Our dedicated team of industry professionals look forward to providing even better support to our key distribution partners and end users of our products in 2021.

This article first appeared in the January/February issue of INCLEAN magazine. 

Read the original article here.

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