In conversation with Blitz Blank Cleaning Equipment and Vileda Professional about their complementary partnership, Vileda Professional’s steps towards digitalisation, the iQonnect platform and their presence at Dubai International Airport (DXB) along with other industries in the UAE.
In the age of digitalisation, connectivity is everything, and the cleaning and hygiene industry is leaving no stone unturned to be a part of this new norm. Blitz Blank Cleaning Equipment - an exclusive UAE distribution partner of German manufacturer Vileda Professional - recently introduced the new Origo 2 Trolley System equipped with innovative features and seamless digital integration. Vileda Professional, which belongs to the Freudenberg Group – a diversified family-run global company, headquartered in Germany - provides innovative cleaning solutions and disinfecting systems for professional users in various application areas such as general cleaning, healthcare, HORECA, controlled environment, Cleanrooms and production areas.
The Origo 2 is an innovative satellite trolley series that aims to revolutionise commercial cleaning practices. It is an integrated, smart cleaning ally that features satellite sections that can be split off from the main trolley. One satellite section allows used products and waste to be transported separately from the main cart while another enables the bucket and press to be detached for filling and emptying. It also comes with a divider that facilitates dosing of a full or half bo x of mops to save chemicals and laundry. Other features include a vertical tool storage for up to four mops of any width (25 cm t o 75 cm). A motorised e-drive option for fast, easy movement on large sites, will be available in the near future.
The trolley also comes with a hands-free lid opening for safe and clean operation; clearly defined sections; protective lids on all buckets, boxes and trays; full colour coding of all elements and optionally split waste and used materials into one, two or three sections. The lockable doors and top lids prevent unauthorised access to contents while there is a hidden safety compartment for employees’ personal items. Also available are soft-touch bumpers to avoid scuff marks and damage to walls and foldable waste or used extension that makes it even easier to store after use.
Thomas Schindler, Managing Director of Blitz Blank Cleaning Equipment explains further, “You can customise the trolley to your individual needs that suit your operation with over one million options to choose from. For this, Vileda came up with a unique web-based configuration tool, which is designed to have customers create their own configured trolley in 3-D preview with every detail considered.”
Dubai International Airport will soon equip Terminal 1 and Concourse D with the customised Origo 2 trolleys to improve their vast operation and take it to the next level with this brand-new product. Having commissioned the largest order that has been made so far for the Origo 2, Dorothee Stein, Head Facility Care, Dubai Airports, says, “We have commissioned the Origo 2 Trolley System by Vileda Professional for Terminal 1 & Concourse D at Dubai International (DXB) – the world’s busiest international airport. With its flexible and ergonomic design, the new janitorial trolley model complies to our high standards of customer service and user experience. Besides others, one deciding feature was the tablet compatibility of the models supporting our objective of introducing digitally aided tools in the work place. Further the technical knowledge of the local distributor company Blitz Blank Cleaning Equipment has supported our decision and assisted us to select the suitable models for our operation.”
Blitz Blank Building Cleaning Services was established in Dubai in 2004 focusing on soft and hard floor maintenance and upholstery cleaning. With 25 years of experience in the cleaning industry, Blitz Blank Building Cleaning Services is a long-term supplier for various high-class hotels and restaurants in Dubai and Abu Dhabi as well as to the individual customers. “I moved to Dubai in 2003 and launched Blitz Blank in 2004. Before moving to Dubai I was working with my parents for more than 10 years in Germany in the general, glass, construction and special cleaning business. In Dubai we focused on the hotel industry and started with carpet and upholstery cleaning, then added services like natural stone/wood restoration, polishing and maintenance,” informs Thomas.
Soon after, to widen the company’s service and product portfolio, Blitz Blank decided to deepen its business relation with Vileda Professional after having a successful work relation of over 20 years in Germany. In 2006 Blitz Blank became an official Vileda Professional authorised dealer in the UAE. Since, August 2017 operating under the new name of Blitz Blank Cleaning Equipment the company exclusively focuses on distribution and sales of Vileda Professional cleaning equipment.
Thomas avers, “In Germany, Vileda Professional is a very strong brand. Here in the UAE, we started with the distribution of their basic range like sponges, microfibre clothes, brushes, brooms as at that time Vileda was not so strong with the trolley systems and mop-buckets. They introduced their own cleaning equipment with the launch of the ultra-speed sets and Origo trolleys in 2008. In addition, they also launched their bin range a couple of years ago and since then their product range is expanding. Dubai International Airport was our first client who placed a huge order for this Origo 1 trolley in October 2008 when Terminal 3 and Concourse B were opened.”
Recently, Blitz Blank Cleaning Equipment added another new product to their portfolio: the Micro Cleaner from MediCleanTec, Austria. The Micro Cleaner is developed for industrial and sustainable cleaning of all surfaces in hotels, hospitals, restaurants, etc., with Micro dry steam. Micro dry steam, also known as condensed water in fine nebulisation, has no surface tension and is thus able to penetrate the smallest micro structures in surfaces. At over 180°C under the pressure of over 9 bar (130 psi), the Micro Cleaner produces a dry steam, which functions without any chemicals, guaranteeing deep cleaning for all surfaces. “The Micro Cleaner is one of the most compact and smallest steam cleaners, which is as powerful as an industrial one. Though the official launch for this product will be in February 2019 we have already closed the deal with Dubai Airports and a few restaurants and hotels,” informs Thomas.
Lastly, on asking his views on the cleaning and hygiene market in the UAE Thomas opines, “When I came to Dubai in 2004 the colour coding system was not implemented the way it is now. Over the years there is a huge development in improving the cleaning and hygiene standards for better results. New materials like microfibres conquered the market of cloth and mop systems. Nowadays the market deals with tighter budgets as there is lot of competition entering the UAE market. Therefore, it is very important to focus on products offering the highest value for money and long-lasting performance, which you will find in the Vileda Professional range. We also offer consultancy services prior and during hotel opening phases, as well as training to our clients as a part of our after sales service wherein we train the cleaning team with regard to which product will be best suitable and how to take care of the product to achieve the longest lifespan”.
“Further, looking at the massive construction taking place in the region, there are lot more opportunities coming up for the cleaning industry” concludes Thomas.
Blitz Blank and Vileda Professional’s long association has got the brand another success story. With the recent launch of the latest Origo 2, Dubai Airports replaced its old Origo trolleys with the new ones. Thomas Schindler (TS), Managing Director of Blitz Blank Cleaning Equipment and Volker Klein (VK), Commercial Director for DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) and Export, Vileda Professional, speak to Rashmi Karanjekar about the partnership, the latest developments and the UAE experience…
VK: We always stress on having a good and reliable partnership. As a manufacturer based in Germany we are geographically far away from this region and being a premium supplier, we always look for trustworthy partnership and not just a business relationship while entering a new region. This kind of partnership we found in Blitz Blank with a continuous growth chart in our business ever since. We recently launched the Origo 2 worldwide and already have another success story with the sale of the new trolleys at Dubai Airports through Blitz Blank.
VK: I’ve been visiting Dubai for almost three years in a row now, and I am still amazed about the fast-paced development this city has been experiencing. The cleaning industry too, has been experiencing a change in the operations, demands and how they choose the product. This market demands a professional attitude and a high-level of expertise. Also, how sustainability will be the future, how long it will last those impression for the future business and the next generation is something that has been discussed. We are also looking forward to the Expo 2020, and I'm really thrilled about the developments over the recent years.
VK: The UAE market is on an upward trajectory with high potential. As a premium brand, our mission was to have a partner who can bring our premium quality into the market with the right knowledge and expertise; through promotional activities for our new launches; after-sales services; training, etc. We knew that we already have great partners like Blitz Blank because of our previous work experience in Germany so it was just a matter of cost for us to invest in this market. On the other hand, we knew the market before because of our consumer business and had a fair estimation that there is a market here for our entire portfolio.
TS: The response has been fantastic! Vileda is already a popular brand because of the consumer division, and it’s kind of easy to inspire customers for its premium quality of the professional range. However, you have to consult them about the price, the budget and value for money. It is easy to convince the end-user because they know the quality, but purchase departments need to understand, that spending a little more in the beginning will help them save money in the long run.
TS: We are a professional cleaning company and most of the items we sell are used in our own operations. We train the client or the team once they purchase our products. I am a certified professional cleaner and disinfector, so I can train them efficiently on how to use the product in the right way, how to store it, which chemical to be used, etc. If the trolley system has some issues we definitely look at it, and if there is some manufacturing defect, Vileda is definitely a perfect support. We have been dealing with Vileda for the last 12 years and there was never any question on the compensation or extending technical help. Moreover, as a distribution partner, we also reach out to clients to look at their requirements or what kind of challenges they are facing, what kind of surfaces or materials require cleaning, etc. As the variations of the cloths, sponges and mops are so immense, the clients are sometimes uncertain about what will suit their requirements best.
VK: This year we have introduced the Origo 2 trolley worldwide. Before the official launch we introduced the Origo 2 to selected regions in the beginning of 2017 for trial run. We made around 326 changes, starting with a change in the colours of a small screw, avoiding a hole and more. In the mid of 2018, we officially launched the product internally and in autumn started with the exports.
It is really hard to describe the different models we have, because there are so many variations of the trolley. It completely depends on your business needs and it’s very versatile. For instance, you can connect the Origo 2 to the web and our business platform, which we call ‘iQonnect’. Similarly, the bins and soap dispensers can also be connected to this app. We can also do micro-chipping inside the mops, cloths and trolleys, to keep a track on where exactly the trolley is located. For instance in a huge space like Dubai Airports you can have a difficult time locating the trolley.
VK: We are ready to take the next step in digitalisation! We have introduced iQonnect - an app focused on the (digital) future of cleaning services. By digitising operational processes, cleaning companies or other end-users can save money and time in managing the cleaning processes and increase the satisfaction level at the same time. iQonnect App contains functionalities like time- and presence registration, real-time monitoring and reporting of working hours, digital HR-information, working programmes and task management, quality management, complaints handling and more. It is available in 13 languages and is currently running successfully in countries like Germany and Russia.
We will be showcasing our new product innovations during the CMS (trade show in Berlin) in 2019. We will also showcase Cleanroom technology in some specialised regions dominant by the pharmacy, automobile or IT production. Blitz Blank recently sold a Cleanroom trolley to the space center in the UAE. It’s a complete stainless-steel trolley with no rubber and plastics parts or any hidden corners where dust can settle in. This trolley also has autoclave characteristics and is heat resistant up to 140 degrees for disinfection.
We are always in line with the next generation hence we have developed a microfiber, which is equipped with a new patented micron technology. The size of a microfiber is 1dTex or 50 times thinner than a hair. It has a high capacity to pick up dirt and bacteria offering clean, streak and lint free result - especially on mirrors and stainless steel - all in just one wipe without the use of chemicals.
TS: Origo 2 has a complete recycled option. All the buckets, trays and storage boxes are available in black colour, as they are made from 50 per cent recycled and 50 per cent virgin material. This recycled version is available at the same rate.
VK: Globally the strategy is to concentrate on two big industries: the healthcare business and General Building Cleaning. In Germany we are much stronger in the healthcare business but in the UAE it is the other way round. We have a strong presence in the hospitality sector (HORECA) and looking at expanding our reach to healthcare industry and FM companies. On the other hand, we are working towards the market development of Cleanroom technology worldwide. The next big step will be digitalisation with the iQonnect platform. Also, we will have some further developments in having the finest microfiber cloth, which we intend to combine with digital solutions. The biggest problem in the commercial laundry segment is the loss of mops/cloths. With a chip inside you can easily keep track of the number of mops used for the cleaning process. Yes, you can also wash them with the chip inside. The technology is there; the question is how smartly you can use it and connect it to the entire portfolio.
Our research and development department is always on a lookout for what’s next! For instance, if you look at the surfaces and the flooring options available now, and the various flooring materials that will be available in the future, we need to develop and work on the cleaning solutions accordingly. We will have different technologies in the future for the different materials/surfaces made available.
You need to work ahead of time; hence, you have to combine future ideas with the reality now in the daily cleaning business. You can have the best technology but what you need is reliability, service, after-sale service, knowledge, expertise, etc. It’s the base of everything.