Leaders Forum: Kärcher NZ

INCLEAN chats to Kärcher NZ in our inaugural Leaders Forum report.

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

2019 was a very good year for Kärcher Professional, finishing well above expectations and performance was consistent across all product categories.

Our wide professional product range continues to offer full solutions to our dealers and customer needs, backed up with solid national service support.

Another key highlight was the continued success of the Thank Your Cleaner Day, now in its fifth year since launch.

This event continues to gain momentum with both BSCs and their clients and is now global in more than 20 countries. It is an event that cleaners look forward to where they can be further appreciated and valued by clients for the important work they undertake.

What will be the immediate focus for Kärcher in 2020?

Kärcher NZ will continue to offer its BSC clients unprecedented frontline technical and solution-based support nationally. It’s the key to enabling our business repeated organic growth and helps our industry partners attain leading technology.

We’ll also continue support of industries trade events in 2020.  Our business will remain a dealer-based business, we’ll continue to work with our preferential dealers and merchants enabling national supply continuity to end-users, along with promotional opportunities assisting to grow their own Kärcher business.

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

Some of the key challenges we face are the acceptance rates of newer technologies by the customer that would ultimately lift their productivity and generate a greater return on their time employed.

Newer battery technology is a good example where Kärcher cordless battery vacuum cleaners can achieve productivity gains of up to 23 per cent, but the resistance to change to this labour-saving technology by some BSCs is somewhat surprising.

Did you notice any trends in 2019? Do you expect those trends to continue into 2020?

Battery technology continues to grow as cleaning operators require increased access without the limitations of electrical cords. Majority of our scrubber drier machines are now battery driven and this has cascaded down to our smaller machines, particularly vacuums and compact scrubber driers. We will continue to see the battery extend into other cleaning machinery areas where corded options were only available up unto recent.

Are there any international trends you think will make their way to NZ in 2020?

Cleaning on demand is an emerging technology trend that will make its way to New Zealand, maybe not in 2020, but not long after.

Cleaning on demand is technology that will enable the BSC to gain more information from the building’s built in sensors and systems that will allow BSCs to make more informed decisions around how the building is cleaned and at what frequency, thereby help make better use of resourced employed.

What role will robotics and automation play in the NZ cleaning industry in 2020?

Robotics in cleaning have been at the forefront of many conversations around cleaning for some years now. Robotics will certainly be applicable in some environments, where wide open unrestricted areas exist, but for most parts, manual cleaning will still become the dominant form of cleaning.

Robotics in NZ still appear to be in an infancy stage and have seen various players enter the robotic cleaning space. The jury is still out in terms of whether robotics are truly delivering the key returns on the investment outlay.

How do you see the cleaning landscape evolving into 2020?

From a cleaning machinery perspective, we are seeing a trend towards customers prioritising after sales service solutions when looking to purchase cleaning machinery.

In the past customers may have been tempted by the lower price of non-branded machines but when the true downtime cost associated is factored into the overall price, the cheaper machine can end up being significantly more expensive.

What is one issue the industry should urgently address in 2020?

A recent industry conference in New Zealand highlighted a study which showed the high injury rates of cleaners from back related incidents.

One area the cleaning industry can address is encouraging BSC cleaners to remove the weight of backpack vacuums from the cleaner and replace with a pull along canister vacuum.

New cordless canister vacuum technology gives the cleaning operator the freedom to clean without any electrical cord to manage or negotiate and therefore provide the operator with more comfort and ultimately increased productivity from reduced downtime and increased work performance.

This article first appeared in INCLEAN NZ magazine 

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