How was 2020 for Tennant NZ? What were the highlights? What were the challenges?
If 2020 was a rugby analogy it would certainly be a forward pass, knock on, or even like playing against 16 players with the referee on the opposition side.
Many challenges were thrown at the team in the lockdown and especially the second wave in Auckland, however, I was very proud of how we worked together to overcome everything that came our way.
Highlights would be a few large machine orders placed for Auckland Airport, launching our autonomous mobile robot into the New Zealand market, accompanied by the launch of the IPC offering.
How did Tennant adjust to the impact of the pandemic?
We had to look at how restrictions affected our industry, but also be there for our customers when they needed us.
Having many units across essential services such as hospitals and retail, in particular supermarkets, we ensured those facilities were supported to keep the machines working. Credit to our service team who quickly implemented a contactless service offering to keep themselves and the customer safe.
Inventory has always been a strong point of ours and we made sure back up for new equipment and parts/consumables was at optimum levels.
Did you notice any changes in customer behaviour in 2020? How did Tennant respond to these changes?
Sometimes the cleaning side of businesses does not get the credit it deserves and unfortunately it has taken COVID-19 to raise awareness.
Many facilities looked at various aspects of their cleaning requirements and processes, with activity in this area rising significantly.
Having the only HEPA offering in NZ on our sweepers, air quality in warehouse manufacturing has been high on the agenda.
Leasing and long-term rental activity enquiries has certainly increased, and I believe will be even bigger in 2021. Tennant has many options for our customers to explore in both commercial and industrial markets.
What will be the immediate focus for Tennant in 2021?
Robotics will be high on the agenda with our T7AMR going around the country to Christchurch and Wellington to be demonstrated at some large facilities.
We are also expanding the robotic scrubber offering in 2021, with our smaller T380AMR, being more manoeuvrable and designed to help customers that want autonomy in spaces that are more confined.
We also have the larger T16AMR coming, which gives a more productive solution to customers in warehousing, logistics, and food and beverage.We will also be launching more IPC units and the S16 sweeper with HEPA is very exciting as it is a new design era of sweeper.
What challenges and opportunities do you see for the industry over the next 12 months?
I am hoping 2021 gets back to some sort of normality, however I believe the challenge we face is to keep the spotlight on high level hygiene practices.
Our industry needs to keep challenging clients not to take their emphasis off a high standard of cleanliness from hand washing all the way through to using larger pieces of equipment and maintaining them.
Freight has been an issue and a challenge for some will be to have back up and support in parts and consumables. Luckily, Tennant is direct in NZ and not an agency, so we have the collateral and support to be able to suffice the needs of our customer base.
Do you think the pandemic will fast track the use of technology such as robotics and autonomous machines?
You only need to look in the news in recent times to see we have a big shortage of labour component across many sectors in NZ, including fruit and vegetable exports.
These facilities need to be kept clean from a sweeping and scrubbing perspective along with all facilities. Robotics can bridge this gap giving an instant and ongoing ROI with labour savings.
Tennant has the best and only fully backed robotic offering in NZ and with more products in this sector to come, we believe 2021 is going to be a great year in this space.
The units are so simple to operate hence becoming more appealing that we have 3500 units either deployed or on order to US-based retailer Walmart as one example.
We say to our customers if you have a Tennant scrubber, they are known for longevity and quality in their build, however, if you wanted to look at a trade in for an autonomous unit, we would be happy to work with them.
What do you expect will be the big product trends of 2021?
From my colleagues in Australia and the UK who have seen airborne silica become more of a concentrated area, our HEPA Sweepers will play a big part.
COVID-19 has highlighted the need for better air quality in all our factories and warehouses and we can provide that through proprietary technologies on our units.
People will be looking more at machinery and being able to offer a high-end product in Tennant and a mid-tier in IPC gives us great flexibility to our customer base.
What additional advice or guidance do you have for the cleaning community now and after the pandemic?
Over the last 14 years working with BSCs, franchise groups, and end user facilities direct, one common theme is our industry does not get the recognition it deserves.
Keep up the hard work we all put in and show what a key part we all play in making sure our work does no go amiss.
2020 has given us a platform to keep up our high standards and show what quality service and product we deliver to achieve great results. Keep people up to speed with training.
I was big on this last year as I see so many people using equipment incorrectly or not looking after it to a required standard. My team in NZ are always happy to help whether you are in Bluff or Russell.
This article first appeared in INCLEAN NZ magazine
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