INCLEAN January-February 2021

Page 50

INDUSTRY LEADERS FORUM

Greg Hill Product Manager, Makita Australia

How was 2020 for Makita? What were the highlights? What were the challenges?

How did Makita adjust to the impact wof the pandemic?

2021 is shaping up to be another great year for new products.

2020 was another successful year for Makita. Considering the difficulties many businesses have faced this year we are fortunate to have been able to achieve the result we have. The main challenge has been adjusting our forecasts to manage the demand and maintain adequate stock levels.

The primary change was with our customer facing teams where we introduced cleaning and disinfecting of demo tools between appointments to ensure safety and reduce risk of transmissions. As our face to face time with customers was reduced, we maintained focus on marketing through a range of channels to keep up our exposure in the market.

Did you notice any changes in customer behaviour in 2020 as a result of the pandemic? How did Makita respond to these changes? The limit in face to face contact was the primary change, in line with government social distancing directives. Delivering information efficiently was key along with maintaining flexibility by meeting outside or presenting from a distance and using video conferencing platforms to engage safely.

What will be the immediate focus for Makita in 2021? Maintaining our high level of engagement with our existing consumers and distributers under the ‘new normal.’ We’re also excited about promoting Makita and the advantages of our battery platforms with our national business development team. Looking towards October, we are excited to be the major sponsor of the ISSA Cleaning & Hygiene Expo. We’re hopeful COVID-19 will remain under control until then so regardless of where you are in Australia you can join the experience in person.

What role will innovation play for Makita in 2021? Innovation will continue to play an important role for Makita. Innovating is defined by making 50 INCLEAN January / February 2021

changes, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products. Particularly after the pandemic people want products to make their job either more efficient or more effective, simply putting a battery on an existing product isn’t innovation. We want to answer the consumers desire of a “better way to do it.” We will also be listening to our consumers and distributors to identify opportunities for totally new products we can develop for our 18V LXT & 40V XGT battery platforms.

Are there any new products to be launched in 2021? Having just released our Cordless LXT Upright Vacuum in December, 2021 is shaping up to be another great year for new products. We are expecting to release our first XGT 40V Max Stick Vacuum which is set to move Makita further ahead in this product category. We also anticipate making some additions to our Robotic Vacuum range which will include additional functions like area mapping & return to start position.

What do you expect will be the big product trends of 2021? With the heightened awareness of disinfection, we expect to see more equipment be developed around the fight against COVID-19 as well as an additional emphasis on robotics and automation. Less people means less contact and potential for outbreaks as well as the associated efficiency increases. We also expect to see more battery platforms in the market as equipment manufactures continue to follow the trend to cordless.

Is there a message you would like to share with the industry? Makita is open for business! We have a healthy pipeline of innovative new products tailored to the industry. We have staff nationally who offer comprehensive product demonstrations to provide you and your business with the most effective solution for your application. If you are interested in a demonstration, please contact our customer service team and they can set you up with one of our business development or sales representatives. ■