INDUSTRY LEADERS FORUM
Frank Cupido Managing Director, Hako Australia
People are placing a much higher regard on cleaning and hygiene, which is an opportunity for the industry to promote their value and in turn, improve profitability.
How was 2020 for Hako What were the highlights? What were the challenges? Like everyone else this year has been a massive adjustment, both professionally and personally. We were down year-on-year in 2020, compared to 2019, which was a massive growth year for the business, however, we remained in a stable position and were able to keep all our staff working. We operated as ‘business as usual’ in an unusual business environment which is why I think we managed to achieve what we have. The challenge has been learning about COVID-19 and implementing COVID-safe protocols correctly. It was important for us as a business to not just give these protocols lip service but for everyone to properly understand and implement. The highlight for me has been the work of our team. I am so proud of how our team came together, looked after each other, backed each other, and adapted to the changes that we implemented. Likewise the way our HQ Germany management team handled this major global pandemic with focus on people and health, along with prudent financial management. It has really strengthened and unified our global teams as one unit.
What will be the immediate focus for Hako in 2021? Our team really stepped up in 2020. The immediate focus is reconciling everything we have done in 2020. Taking a minute to catch our breath. We want 2021 to reflect on those efforts by continuing to move forward in a positive and productive way. Our focus will be to continue our strategic growth plans, albeit cautiously. Staying on course with our new product releases, adapting our strategic plans to the new ‘normal’ of doing business. Adding new roles and expecting to achieve modest growth in 2021. Despite the impact of the pandemic and its challenges, we want to set our own path and not let it decide what 2021 looks like.
What challenges and opportunities do you see for the industry over the next 12 months? The challenges in our industry, both cleaning and equipment supply seem to always remain the same. I see a lot of opportunity over the next 12 months. COVID-19 has elevated the value of cleaning. People are placing a much higher 40 INCLEAN January / February 2021
regard on cleaning and hygiene, which is an opportunity for the industry to promote their value and in turn, improve profitability. Autonomous cleaning interest will increase and perhaps adoption will be faster. Companies wanting to consolidate what they have learnt in 2020 about workplace health and safety, leading to implementing sustainable solutions to achieve better work, health and hygiene cleaning practices day to day. I believe the process of cleaning is no longer a ‘spray and wipe’ and move on concept. People are more aware and knowledgeable of what clean looks like.
What is one issue you think the industry should urgently address in 2021? I don’t know if there is anything that urgently needs addressing, as I think the industry has come a long way in recent years. I think it is incumbent on our industry to make sure our cleaners are undertaking more education and training programs in 2021 to meet the increasing hygiene standards expected and required to keep Australia COVID clear. From an equipment supply perspective, that would also include a stronger acceptance and understanding of the importance of floorcare and its role in removing or reducing contamination in facilities, which is often underestimated. If a floor is not cleaned properly, building occupants will transfer bacteria throughout the facility via foot and/or forklift traffic. Proper upkeep, training and use of the equipment is imperative to achieve higher standards and reduce cleaning costs for BSC clients. Cleaning is not just disinfecting high touch points such as handles or buttons, it is a complete cleaning process, including floors.
Is there a message you would like to share with the industry? I am incredibly proud of the way cleaners around the country have put themselves on the frontline during the most challenging period our world has faced in a century. Cleaners have played a critical role helping stop the spread, and they have placed themselves in settings during times of unknown and panic. I am sure there was fear and apprehension, but they continued to do their job. I am proud to be associated with this industry, and although we are not a cleaning company, helping and assisting cleaners do their job has been phenomenal. ■