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Why innovation is a necessity and not just a buzzword

Management Article

10 June 2015

There has been a lot of hype around the word innovation in recent years. In fact, the dominance of startups in the media has made the word increasingly synonymous with entrepreneurial tech firms racing to launch the next big new product to market. But innovation isn’t limited to big budgets and venture capitalists - it is paramount to every successful business model, and should be built into the core competencies and culture of even the smallest company.

Lesley McKenna, Marketing Executive for Brightwell Dispensers, looks at what innovation really means and investigates how it can be applied to the cleaning and maintenance industry.

The term innovation can be defined as finding original and effective ways to meet new requirements or existing market needs. It can range from a minor change such as removing obsolete product features leading to reduced costs to something more large scale such as a major product development to cater to emerging market demand. 

Customised chemical solutions

For Brightwell Dispensers, innovation is about looking at problems that customers face and coming up with creative solutions to solve these. One such problem often encountered with chemical dosing systems relates to system size and the space available for installation. Traditionally, chemical proportioners were about saving money as well increased health and safety for the end-user. Today’s proportioners continue to cater to this need; however recent developments in expertise and market knowledge have seen Brightwell Dispensers’ design shift towards sleeker, more customisable units.

Taking into account that chemical dosing and dilution systems are often mounted in cluttered cleaning closets, the Brightwell Dispensers’ equipment is compact, modular and easy to install. A modular system works best when there is flexibility with chemical cabinetry and accessories allowing you to customise the system to fit within the desired area. Where space is tight, consider the benefits of being able to play around with the positioning of the chemical cabinet such as mounting it on either side of the unit or perhaps using a wall bracket instead. Modularity removes the inconvenience of bulky systems and instead enables users to build a one-stop cleaning station customised to meet their specific requirements.

Servicing the problem

Innovation is not just limited to new products or enhancements. It can also be about offering a service to make life easier for your customers. This can be applied to the matter of system maintenance. Periodic maintenance call-outs are costly and often do not form part of a distributors service offering. This means that users are left to install and maintain the system themselves with limited knowledge and/or experience.

Chemical proportioners require routine servicing and cleaning and if they are not looked after correctly the return on investment can be poor. Instead of acting as a cost-effective and efficient alternative to pre-diluted concentrates, potential problems such as inaccurate dilution ratios may go unnoticed, thus compromising the effectiveness of cleaning operations.

One innovative way the industry has found to overcome the challenge of periodic maintenance is to put control into the hands of the end-user through education. Training days, detailed instruction manuals and a strong after-sales service go a long way in ensuring that the operator is equipped with the necessary knowledge to install and service the system. In addition to this, Brightwell Dispensers also provide video tutorials to troubleshoot common issues and problems which are available to view in the Resource Hub of the company website or on Brightwell Dispensers’ YouTube channel. This is particularly useful for installers who are on-site and looking to solve problems at that exact moment in time. They can conveniently access the most up-to-date information and installation instructions from their mobile device without having to delay the installation or servicing.  

Investing in innovation

But let’s face it - innovation doesn’t happen overnight. It needs to become embedded in the company culture where problem-solving and creative thinking is encouraged on every level. Innovation doesn’t have to be a radical new idea. It can come from a factory operative who has spotted a way to improve manufacturing processes to the sales executive who gets a light-bulb moment when trying to solve a customer query. However, ideas don’t develop themselves meaning that they need to be followed up with investment in resources to ensure that these concepts can be effectively carried out to fruition.  

Innovation is not unobtainable. And it is most certainly not exclusive to Forbes’ List of the World’s Most Innovative Companies. Innovation is achievable and needs to move from being a buzzword to a commonly accepted value forming the foundation upon which every company regardless of size or sector rests.