One of the most significant changes in the industrial and commercial cleaning space over the past number of decades is a shift in mindset. That shift has been from viewing cleaning as a commodity service measured purely on cost, to one that values partnerships that contribute to supply chain efficiency.

This is the view of Emma Corder, MD of Industroclean, which recently rebranded following a management buyout of Nilfisk South Africa.

“For customers, it’s about looking at their total cost of cleaning,” she says. “Labour is always the biggest component, followed by chemicals, consumables and equipment. So, we aim to work in partnership with our customers to see how we can optimise the costs we’re able to control.”

Industroclean is in a unique position in that it’s able to offer a holistic service in this way. Corder says this differs markedly from markets like Europe where there is greater specialisation, with providers supplying only chemicals or machinery or consumables.

“What our local market wants is significantly different. And our labour component is different, which influences the type of equipment and basket of goods we supply,” she says.

Another characteristic of the local market is the consolidation of supply chains by larger organisations. Corder says this is as a result of budgetary pressure as well as the need to reduce complexity and pursue efficiencies.

“Our bigger customers are looking for one supplier that can act as a partner to them and supply the biggest basket possible.”

This plays to Industroclean’s strengths as an experienced supplier that represents the industry’s leading brands in machinery, chemicals and consumables. The company also has a long history of manufacturing cleaning equipment, including the WAP brand, in South Africa and for developing its own range of cleaning chemicals.

Corder says the company is always looking at how to improve its chemicals in response to customer demands. This is specifically in the field of environmentally-friendly solutions that use less water or reduce waste.

“We are always assessing our product portfolio and doing more market analysis on what customers are going to be wanting in the next couple of years. Our international network and partnerships are key to doing so.”

This is an aspect of the Industroclean business that sets it apart from many local competitors. And one that has only been strengthened since the company regained it’s independence.

“We intend to work closely with those partners regarding the trends they’re seeing in their markets and what they’re developing. This allows us to then be first to market with those innovations in South Africa,” Corder says.

This is also an important strategy to combat cheaper product offerings– whether machinery or cleaning materials and chemicals. This is a threat that many an industry has suffered under, with Corder adamant that quality products will always prevail in the long run.

More importantly, Industroclean’s ability to slot into supply chains as a proven, reliable partner that can offer an all-round service is expected to drive its growth and expansion into the future.