Offering the best equipment available globally, together with the lowest total cost of ownership for its customers, continues to give Goscor Cleaning Equipment (GCE) the leading edge in Africa, according to General Manager Greg Venter.
Part of the Goscor Group, GCE’s transformation into a specialist equipment company was cemented with its distribution agreement with Tennant of the US to introduce its high-end range of cleaning equipment to the local market. “Our underlying priority right from the start was to focus on the best-quality equipment available,” Venter stresses.
“In order to make GCE a successful business, we knew we could not sell cheap brands and in bulk. We had to specialise in the best quality, ensuring our customers had the lowest total cost of ownership at the end of the day. This is a common thread of the Goscor Group: to provide its customers with the best-quality equipment that costs the least over its lifetime.”
While this does mean that GCE’s premium brands cost more, Venter points out its customers ultimately spend a lot less in the long run than having bought cheaper equipment at the outset. “Our equipment lasts a lot longer, almost double the lifespan of our competitors. Not much breaks down, which means that our customers’ productivity is so much higher.”
GCE focuses on three main market segments, the first being end users. This means selling equipment to entities such as parastatals, with GCE priding itself on the fact that every single Eskom power station has at least one of its machines. End users also include diverse applications such as warehouses, factories, and mines, with GCE having the necessary flexibility to cater for both small and large customers.
Building service contractors
The second market segment is building service contractors, which encompasses largescale contract cleaning companies. “As this is a market with different requirements to those of the end users, we focus more on a pricing model so these customers obtain the lowest monthly value on their costing.” GCE’s predominance in the overall industry is indicated by the fact that it has over 75% market share in the industrial segment, and a large number of building service contractors as clients.
The newest segment that GCE is targeting is the retail market. With over 5 000 retail stores in South Africa alone, this represents a massive opportunity. “We already have our equipment working in about 40 to 50 retail outlets, for example, so our idea is to grow this market quite a bit. Our initial focus is a market share of about 10%, which alone represents 500 to 600 machines,” Venter highlights.
“What gives us a significant advantage here is that we have the equipment base in order to tackle a market of this scale.” Venter adds that GCE has also developed a specific business model for the retail segment, which traditionally does not acquire the most expensive equipment. “We offer a 36-month rental period, after which the equipment is replaced, and a new contract entered into. This equipment is then channelled into our general rental fleet or redeployed elsewhere in Africa, for example.”
Venter comments: “It seems to be biting, with our retail customers slowly becoming excited about the concept. The main benefit is that they do not have to worry if a machine breaks down, as the rental fee not only includes the actual cost of the equipment, but service and maintenance as well. We can even offer ancillary equipment such as cleaning consumables if need be.” GCE also has a product specialist focusing exclusively on its industrial vacuum cleaner and high-pressure washer product range, aimed at everything from car-wash facilities to washbays.
Service and aftermarket support
Venter attributes GCE’s continued predominance in the industry to its critical understanding that cleaning equipment is highly specialised. Its service and aftermarket support offering includes a countrywide team of field service technicians, with 12 in Johannesburg alone, in addition to having full workshop facilities at every branch or dealership able to cater for refurbishments to major repair work.
GCE’s extensive branch network covers the whole of South Africa. “Where we do not have a branch, we have a dealer. These are companies that distribute our product range in addition to carrying parts and being able to fix machines.” The company has a national spares stockholding of between R8 million to R10 million, indicating the extent of its total product range, which includes multiple variations of many machines.
A significant aspect of GCE’s business model is its rental department, which Venter points out is even unique to Tennant globally. The rental fleet comprises over 200 machines, available on daily, weekly or monthly short-term rental periods. “This business has grown considerably over the last five years, catering for customers urgently needing a replacement machine in the event of a breakdown, to a major clean-up on a construction site.” The main trends driving this market are increased productivity and cost-effectiveness.
Being an equipment specialist means that innovation is essential, which is why GCE is constantly introducing the latest equipment and technology to the local market. For example, the GM1ze from Green Machines International GmbH is a compact sweeper that not only saves time thanks to its powerful battery, but is also easy to operate. Being a zero-emission machine, it is also environment-friendly.
Perhaps the biggest revolution that GCE is introducing to the local cleaning industry is the No-Touch® Cleaning System from Kaivac of the US. “This means the end of the mop-and-bucket concept, which simply redistributes the dirt. The system focuses on dirt not as grime, but as harmful bacteria, and how to prevent such harmful contamination from multiplying,” Venter elaborates.
Apart from introducing the latest developments locally, GCE is also an active participant in the industry, hosting the monthly meetings of the National Contract Cleaning Association (NCCA) at its Johannesburg premises. “It is important for us to keep abreast of the needs of our end users,” Venter points out.
A major focus for 2017 is a more structured expansion into the broader African market, on the back of group holding company InServe’s foray into the continent. “Our stance is that our dealers have to be the best companies to represent us and our brands. They have to be able to mirror us as a company and offer a total service.”
Venter reveals that GCE has just appointed a new dealer in Namibia, which is seeing major development in both its retail and mining industries. “Botswana is our next focus, where we are finalising an agreement with a company. There are good opportunities there in terms of mining companies such as Debswana.”
Ghana is a potential foothold in West Africa, with major South African property developers involved in shopping-mall developments there. “We have a dealer in Nigeria, but this is a difficult market due to various factors such as the fluctuating interest rate, and we are working at making it more viable for us.” Another major growth area is East Africa, with both the Tanzanian and Kenyan markets looking to introduce mechanical cleaning to boost productivity.
In terms of training, GCE has a full-time training and technical manager, in addition to bringing in representatives of its major brands on a regular basis to update its sales staff and field service technicians. With a lot of modern cleaning equipment encompassing both automation and electronics, such training is vital in order for GCE to retain its competitive edge.
From remote-controlled vacuum trucks to boom lifts, the cleaning industry has always been quick to innovate. Venter adds that GCE has a company-wide training session every Friday in order to familiarise its staff on the latest developments. “If everybody knows what our machines can do and how they work, the easier it is to explain to potential customers. The more we know, the more opportunities we can access. Our customers are constantly on the lookout for the most innovative and productive means of carrying out the basics of cleaning, which continues to be our main focus,” Venter concludes.
About Goscor Cleaning Equipment
Part of the Goscor Group, Goscor Cleaning Equipment is South Africa’s top-quality cleaning equipment provider, priding itself on providing the ultimate cleaning solutions from a range of world-class brands to suit almost every cleaning application. From sweepers, scrubbers, industrial vacuums, high-pressure cleaners, single discs, road sweepers, jetting equipment, carpet extractors, and beach cleaners to selected speciality chemicals, Goscor Cleaning Equipment (formerly known as Tennant SA) has all of your cleaning application needs under one roof. We focus on complete and holistic green cleaning solutions in the Southern African and SADC markets, moving away from the traditional supply of cleaning equipment and detergents. Our solutions cover various industries and applications, backed by service excellence.