Steve Bagshaw, CEO, i-team ANZ
How was 2021 for i-team ANZ? What were the highlights? What were the challenges?
2021 was an exciting year for i-team ANZ. We expanded and solidified our i-partner network across ANZ, with now close to 30 active partners across Australia and a new master partner, Filta, in New Zealand.
Highlights were many. We’ve launched several new and exciting products that continue to build on the i-team reputation for innovations that genuinely make a difference. We’ve also had some very exciting opportunities with end-users and our i-partners in various sectors, from minesite services to aged care to retail chains and the BSC space.
Of particular note are several instances where organisations have identified the value of presenting the complete i-team offering and led with this in successful offers for new contracts, as well of retention of existing contracts at re-tender phase. These are very rewarding opportunities for all parties.
The major challenges were no doubt the lockdowns in New South Wales and Victoria, which had an impact on buyer confidence for a few months. However, this has bounced back quickly and strongly. Constraint in global supply chain affects every industry, and this looms as an ongoing challenge into 2022.
Is there an achievement that you’re particularly proud of from the past 12 months?
The way we’ve been able to quickly and effectively establish a network of like-minded and passionate i-team i-partners across the country over the last 12-18 months.
The opportunity is not something that we lightly give partners, and this results in a closeness and alignment that we believe sets the i-team network up for long-term success.
What will be the immediate focus for i-team ANZ in 2022?
We have a host of exciting developments in the pipeline. Expansion of our marketing activities, new products soon to be launched, while pushing into new sectors are all very much on the radar.
What opportunities and challenges do you see for the wider industry in 2022?
Global supply chain constraints and delays will continue to be a challenge. There are so many moving parts to this that we expect there to be some impact at least until the middle of 2022.
We are also definitely in an inflationary cycle. We see cost pressure on many components of the supply chain, and i-team is certainly not alone in this.
While thankfully, within i-team’s global network, we have a lot of synergies and opportunities to streamline our supply chain to mitigate increases, this will certainly be a challenge for the wider industry. Businesses must be agile with pricing and alert as to costs.
What will be the big trends of 2022?
We don’t pretend to have a crystal ball, but we believe some keys trends or topics will be around indoor air quality (IAQ) – not just purification, but also the monitoring of IAQ.
Second, labour saving, and optimisation is always on the agenda, and with the continual development of robotics – albeit cautious – combined with more efficient cleaning equipment, labour efficiency improvement will be an ongoing trend.
Third, data. Connected cleaning machines, integration of IAQ and cleanliness monitoring with cleaning routines, and even data points that the industry isn’t thinking of yet, will inevitably continue to develop.
What role will innovation play for i-team ANZ in 2022?
Innovation is always a priority one for i-team; it’s our DNA to enquire, innovate, and inspire.
Innovation is not just a buzzword for i-team.
Without sounding cliché, it’s not so much a matter of what role will it play- it’s genuinely what we’re focussing on all the time. It’s more about what areas we innovate in, specifically.
Three key areas we will be looking at is product, introducing the a la carte custom branding concept to Australia, and go to market strategies; expect to see some exciting developments.
What is one issue in the cleaning industry that you would like to see addressed?
Focus on price. Cleaning is such an important part of the economy and our lives, yet so often from end users, there is a focus on cost, which forces service providers to cut corners and deliver sub-optimal outcomes.
Thankfully, there has been progress with many leaders in the industry who are choosing to move away from low-cost, low-capex methods to superior higher-capex methods that improve outcomes and reduce total cost of ownership.
Looking forward to 2022, what advice would you give to fellow leaders in the cleaning industry?
Buy that special person in your life an i-mop lite for home – they’ll love it!
On a serious note, what can you do to make your business better than it was yesterday?
This article first appeared in the January/February 2022 issue of INCLEAN magazine.
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