long term to give our staff peace of mind. It’s not my job to get rich quick, buy a yacht and retire to the Bahamas – even if I wanted to! It’s my job to keep the business’ momentum going, to help it grow and employ more people to create the foundations of a secure future for the people who will eventually carry the business on.

Do you see any opportunities for growth in the UK

market, even with uncertainty like Brexit looming? I do see the market itself growing; it’s grown more and more professional in the last 20 years. I think the public’s expectation of cleanliness has also increased, in everywhere from shopping centres to motorway service stations – the bar has been raised across the board.

People are going out more, whether it’s dining out or shopping at the weekend, there’s a lot more footfall in public areas than maybe there was 20 years ago, with a much higher expectation of cleanliness. As a result, the market has had to step up and acknowledge these changing consumer habits so that it can provide the products and services to meet the need of customers and end users.

What about growth abroad? We manufacture cotton mops and dishcloths which we sell a lot of in the UK, but the rest of Europe doesn’t clean that way. Everybody in Europe cleans slightly differently, and the smaller and less expensive the product, somehow the more resistance to change there is. It’s not a focus for the business to expand into Europe further, simply because we don’t manufacture the products these markets want to use.

What’s the next step for Robert Scott? For us as a business it’s about innovation. We now have a whole process for feeding back new ideas from customers, seeing if we can feasibly turn those into products and then presenting them back to the market in the hope we can bring some really unique products to customers over the next few years. We’ve also been looking at products in our range that perhaps we’ve not really been shouting about, or telling people just how good they are. This will be a real focus for us in the next 12 months, starting with the Interclean Show in May.

Finally, do you have any predictions or thoughts

about where the industry is going? I would love it to be more eco-friendly. I had a conversation with somebody in Germany who said we’re not really interested in it at all, and he’d just given up even offering [eco-friendly services] to customers. I think that’s a real shame, and I believe that has to change eventually. As new people come into the industry, they will realise that eco is actually critically important, and whilst it is by no means new and people have been aware for a long time, I think it will become a necessity. There will be a critical mass of people that will know this from a young age who will be committed to reducing their company’s – and its customers’ – impact on the environment. I hope that Robert Scott will be a positive influence in this field for future generations. 18 | WHAT’S NEW?

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