Leaders Forum: Garth Michalson, Cleanstar

Industry leaders share their plans and predictions for the year ahead.

How was 2019 for Cleanstar? What were the highlights? What were the challenges?

2019 exceeded expectations with new and innovative product releases.

We sold more backpacks than ever and with the release of innovative and improved products such as the MIRA 40 battery-powered floor scrubber, T1 Backpack, Medusa battery-powered sweeper, Escateq-escalator cleaning system, washroom products and hotel amenities.

Even though the Australian economy is tough, the Aussie dollar is falling, fuel is increasing and general business expenses are growing, we made a decision to keep investing in new product to open opportunities up for ourselves and our distributors. We realise this will only strengthen the Cleanstar brand.

What will be the immediate focus for Cleanstar in 2020?

Our focus is to continue to grow Cleanstar, with an expanded product range, new product releases including restoration, hospitality and battery-operated products.

Our focus is to keep our customer service number one with a strong call centre and sales representatives that will call on our distributors and offer great support.

Our focus is to also keep our Cleanstar brand strong with quality product and parts and service to backup all of our machines.

What challenges and opportunities do you see for Cleanstar looking ahead to 2020?

We are exploring acquisitions of other business with synergies to Cleanstar. Not only do we want to supply alternative product to our distribution network, we want to reach new distributors with our massive range of product.

Cleanstar caters for so many industries, we believe that this is our strength, a sort of one stop shop. These are very exciting times for us and we look forward to expanding into other industries.

Another area that we are having some impact in, is the pet grooming industry with our Xpower Pet Dryers. We are now supplying pet stores and pet groomers and our presence in this industry is growing.

How do you see the cleaning landscape evolving into 2020?

The cleaning industry is looking for convenience in their cleaning, with technology like robotics and battery powered products. Cleaners are always looking for ways to get their jobs done quicker, to fit more jobs in and therefore make more money.

What is one issue you think the industry should be urgently discussing in 2020?

‘Right to repair’ is an issue that the industry should speak about as a priority. Instead of just replacing full machinery when they breakdown, it is always best to repair the product.This is not only beneficial for the customers pocket but also for the environment.

We at Cleanstar invest in a massive range parts for all of our equipment, which allows our service agent to fix machinery instead of disposing of them, which is creating more waste for the world.

We should be rewarded by carrying so many parts for our products, the cleaning industry has access to parts for our machinery. Repairs equals less impact on the environment.

What do you expect will be the big trends of 2020?

Trends relate to convenience and the environment. From cordless battery-powered machinery, robotics (but we are still a while away), biodegradable, enviro-friendly, water saving, recycled products and generally greener products.

With the environmental/climate change movement becoming stronger all over the world, we expect this to be the main trend in 2020.

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

Cleanstar’s message to the industry is to those who support our brand. We are an Australian family-owned business and brand, with all employees based in Australia.

The money we make stays is re-invested in our business and in our staff. We are proud, hardworking Aussies who encourage the cleaners of Australia to support us and not the international brands whose profits are sent out of the country.

Read INCLEAN’s inaugural Industry Leaders Forum Report in the January/February issue of INCLEAN magazine. 

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