INCLEAN July-August 2021

Page 32

PROCUREMENT

Delivering the goods

Supply chains and procurement processes have been tested like never before during COVID-19, but smart players in the cleaning industry are finetuning their approaches to ensure a prosperous future. Words Cameron Cooper

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ith demand for cleaning and healthcare products skyrocketing during COVID-19, many companies have been seeking a procurement and supply chain edge. Bunzl Australasia is confident it has such an advantage. Offering a mix of carefully sourced and checked imports from China that complement other international and domestic products, the specialist distribution group has been able to keep delivering for customers at a time when many others have struggled because of border closures. The ability to use its national network of more than 50 warehouse and office facilities around Australia and two in New Zealand to manage deliveries in its key sectors – healthcare, cleaning and facility management, hospitality, retail and food processing – has also been crucial. “So, at any particular point in time we have been able to quickly transfer stock into and across our national footprint to any of our 16 distributions centres to best support our customers,” says Greg Crisp, sector manager – facility management Australia & New Zealand for Bunzl. “Our supply system was certainly put to the test in 2020 and definitely didn’t break down. We discovered better and smarter ways to support our customers at a most difficult time.”

REGIONAL BOOM PAYS OFF Despite predictions of doom and gloom as a result of the pandemic, some sectors are doing well and many companies have performed strongly as a result. 32 INCLEAN July / August 2021

After suffering a significant decline along with their customers in 2020, Alsco is one of those organisations that has bounced back this year. Alsco provides linen, workwear, commercial floor mats, industrial cleaners, first aid kits and washroom hygiene services to about 48,000 customers. It has gained from a hospitality sector that has thrived in regional areas such as the Hunter Valley in NSW and Far North Queensland as pandemic-weary holidaymakers have travelled to regional and rural areas. “We’ve enjoyed the benefits of that through our laundry services,” says Monique Welsh, divisional general manager at Alsco. “And our washroom division, Fresh & Clean, has been super busy with demand for things like sanitisers.” Welsh says government rules around wearing masks and maintaining hygiene standards has also driven demand, while Alsco’s Cleanroom Garments division has been flat out supplying pharmaceutical companies. Such demand has inevitably put pressure on Alsco’s supply chains, but the business has taken the opportunity to do things better and embrace sustainability. This has included setting up more formalised processes to assess suppliers and to conduct due diligence on them. “Suppliers have to meet strict guidelines around whether their products are sustainable and where they have been ethically sourced,” Welsh says. “We’ve changed a lot of supply partners, especially in the washroom division, and most products are now locally sourced from somewhere in Australia.”