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Ticking The Boxes The need for simplicity is something which Robert Scott have been passionate about since their humble beginnings, but in terms of sustainability, in many ways they are leading the way. Recently, they re-invented their Big White Mop by cutting the amount of plastic each fixture had – a simple change, but with a big impact. In these days of environmental awareness, you can’t get much better than shredding up old clothing and turning it into dish cloths. Add to that the small delivery miles to a UK base, and there are certainly a lot of boxes ticked in this area.


All products are in some way recycled at the site. From the off- cuts of cotton strands used to bulk out cattle feed, to the packaging which is sent back to the original manufacturer to be re-used, sustainability is a key consideration in the workings of Robert Scott’s site.


Innovation Or


Re-Invention? Introducing such practices at your own plant or warehouse is fairly straightforward, but affecting this change upon the industry as a whole is a different matter. “One of the problems is that the cleaning industry doesn’t like too much change,” Alastair explained. “Everyone says they want innovation but they don’t really – there’s only so many ways of cleaning a floor, and chances are, the method which people have been using for 30 years is probably popular because it does actually work.


“Everybody is always looking for something new and innovative, but they don’t necessarily take you up on it – the take up rate is very low. Everybody likes to feel that they’re in the loop with what’s going on, but they only want innovation so that they feel they’re in a vibrant industry, when in fact they’d often prefer to stick with what they have.”


90 | WIPES, MOPS & MICROFIBRES


For these reasons, Robert Scott take a different approach to innovation, and, fitting with their ethos, a much simpler example of creativity. Instead of attempting great leaps forward, they make minimal improvements which will be accepted, such as changing metal socket mops to plastic sockets to remove the rust element. Even that, a relatively obvious step forwards, has taken a long time to be accepted, despite no training being required or any risk involved in the adoption.


What The Future Holds... Despite being in the industry for 82 years, Robert Scott are a big player who few people may know of, but they are keen to correct this by re- addressing their position within the marketplace, with the help of their newly-bought Contico label. Up until now, brand has not been their focus – the identity has taken second place to service – but they are ready to make this step forward. Alastair concluded: “Robert Scott is a very traditional product range and there’s still a huge demand for them, but people don’t necessarily think of us for the new stuff like microfibre, whereas Contico have really pushed for it, so that’s where we’ll pick up where they left off.


“We’ve grasped the range well, and now is the time, with the new catalogue and new website, to really take the product range by the scruff of the neck. You can have too many products; bigger isn’t necessarily better, it has to be rationalised and made logical – cleaning shouldn’t be complicated.” With companies striving to out-do one another, clambering for the next innovation, this is certainly a rare sentiment, but it is one which has kept Robert Scott & Sons growing for many years, so perhaps this ‘clean’ approach should be considered more often.


www.robert-scott.co.uk


www.tomorrowscleaning.com


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