With new representation in Namibia, Botswana, and Nigeria, and dealer talks underway in Kenya, Goscor Cleaning Equipment (GCE) is consolidating its strategy of becoming the first-choice supplier of cleaning equipment in Africa.

acroos-africa-gcePart of the Goscor Group, GCE has embarked on a comprehensive strategy to improve its aftermarket service and boost its sales force, MD Greg Venter highlights. “We are upgrading our aftermarket service to the point where it is automatic, meaning that the response is instantaneous whenever a call is logged, with our customers informed immediately about what is happening.

“Customers do not want to wait three to five days to have a machine fixed, and neither do they want to phone every few hours to enquire whether or not a technician is on the way, or if the necessary parts are available. The challenge is to get this kind of system in place even in the outlying areas,” Venter explains.

“One of the reasons we have been so successful over the last few months, and why a lot of customers are turning to us, is because we are getting our aftersales service right. This goes a long way in ensuring that our clients continue to buy machines from us, especially major cleaning contractors, who are generally much more confident with our aftersales service than they are with the competition. We work hard to ensure our customers get the type of support they both want and need, and we also look after our machines.”

This confidence in GCE is evidenced by a marked upsurge in business since November last year. Venter reveals that the company has enjoyed a “really good” order intake over the last eight to nine months. “We have sold more machines than we have in a long time, especially to contract cleaners, where business has increased significantly,” Venter points out.

The reason for this is a fundamental shift in the South African contract cleaning industry from a contract-based to a permanent workforce, due to pending government legislation in this regard, which has seen a trend towards increased mechanisation in the industry. GCE is ideally placed in this regard, supplying a premier brand, renowned for durability, in the form of Tennant.

While the fundamentals of cleaning-equipment technology have remained unchanged over the decades, GCE strives to keep up to date with the latest trends and product developments. These include the launch in the South African market of Kaivac cleaning systems to replace the traditional ‘mop-and-bucket’ system.

Kaivac No-Touch Cleaning® combines automatic chemical metering and injection with an indoor pressure washer and a powerful wet vacuum. It is a fully integrated cleaning system that allows workers to hygienically clean contaminated surfaces without any danger to their own health and safety. The end result is not only improved cleaning, but also reduced labour, chemical, and equipment costs, and much higher productivity.

Another ‘green’ innovation pioneered by Tennant, and introduced locally by GCE, is its ec-H2O NanoClean™ technology, with an optional Severe Environment™ switch to eliminate secondary cleaning operations, where the risk of slips and falls is aggravated. The technology utilises an onboard e-cell to generate electrically-converted water, producing millions of microscopic nanobubbles to boost cleaning efficiency.

“A lot of this product development is in response to specific industry drivers, such as the need to conserve water and minimise the harmful impact of chemicals. Our innovation also focuses on enhancing customer productivity, such as including an hour gauge on our machines that is capable of giving us the utilisation rate. We can use this information to approach our customers proactively in assessing their specific application, and how we can optimise their equipment. The end result is the lowest total cost of ownership for our customers,” Venter stresses.

Having captured the lion’s share of the industrial cleaning market in South Africa, GCE is now turning its sights to the retail sector, where there are over 5 000 independent stores, excluding shopping centres. “This is an awesome target market, where our business model is to offer machines on a three-year rental contract, meaning it is a self-sustaining market.”

GCE will take the onus of keeping these machines up and running at all times, replacing them with brand-new equipment after the contract period has expired. Another benefit is the training opportunity this represents for new technicians, who can commence their careers with smaller equipment, and graduate ultimately to the larger machines, allowing GCE to expand its technical pool.

Another major opportunity is expanding into the rest of Africa, as GCE holds the continent-wide rights for its extensive product range. Venter aims to consolidate GCE’s existing dealer network by establishing new partnerships in Africa, including representation in potential growth hubs such as Nigeria and Kenya. “We have done quite a bit of work in this regard over the past year, including supplying equipment into the Jwaneng diamond mine in Botswana.”

Looking to the future, Venter says that the challenge to grow the Tennant brand in Africa – which has been represented here for over 25 years now – is to identify and differentiate new target markets. “We have redefined our markets, and the spaces in which we operate. We have adapted and bolstered our sales team in order to be able to do this.”

Venter concludes: “The GCE vision has always to be the first-choice supplier of cleaning equipment in Africa. When it comes to cleaning equipment, we want to be the natural point of contact. In order to reach this level, we have to ensure that our aftermarket service is unparalleled, with no customer complaints, sufficient spares holding, and enough qualified and experienced technicians. If we can get that right – and we have in certain parts already – our growth potential will be unprecedented.”