An Interview With Lysol Pros at the 2022 ISSA Show North America
The ability of cleaning professionals to identify potential health and safety threats and eliminate them continues to be a major demand that cleaning product brands are desperately trying to supply. At the 2022 ISSA Show North America, multiple brands showcased modern innovations and product highlights to make cleaning post-pandemic more effective and simplified.
For Lysol Pro Solutions, this desire to supply the cleaning industry with the latest and greatest remains top priority likewise. At the event, Cleanfax Magazine’s Associate Editor, Sammy Hager, had the privilege of speaking with two of Lysol Pro Solution’s leaders, Max Shearwood and Brian Leafblad.
Shearwood serves as the General Manager at Reckitt Business Solutions and leads the complete operation of the Reckitt Professional B2B division for the Americas region. As a spokesperson for Lysol Pro Solutions, his insights into the company’s current processes and developments was just as insightful as it was engaging to discuss.
Meanwhile, Leafblad serves as the R&D Sr. Manager for Global Business Solutions. His insights gave a more scientific and direct look into the products that Lysol hopes will impact the industry positively and help countless ISSA Show attendees and industry leaders “˜rethink clean‘ as ISSA likes to say.
Together, the pair shared insights into new products, industry developments, and inclusion initiatives that Lysol Pro Solutions—and the industry as a whole—will surely benefit from. To hear what these leaders had to say and what topics were discussed in full, check out the rest of the interview with Cleanfax Magazine below.
The 2022 ISSA Show North America experience
When asked about their experience at the 2022 ISSA Show North America at The McCormick Place in Chicago, Shearwood specifically shared his love for the communication and collaboration this event provided, “One of the highlights of the show was getting to interact with our customers face to face. Again, we had pretty light representation last year due to the pandemic. So obviously, we’ve been doing teams calls, but it’s awesome to get out and have conversations directly with our customers and hear their challenges face-to-face. We were able to talk with them about ways in which we can help them address those challenges.”
Shearwood also explained how booth placement played a major role in their satisfaction for the event this year, “Another highlight for sure has been the fact that our booth is in a great location. We’ve really increased the amount of investment and focus that we put into the B2B space, and we’ve massively expanded the number of people we have attending the show too. I’m really proud to say we’ve had a fantastic showing not just from the commercial and sales team but also from our marketing team and their presence here as well. That’s a reflection for the increased focus we’re putting on training and educating our customers around the full range of products we provide and exactly how to integrate them into their solutions.”
The Lysol spokesperson then explained why this presence was so important to their team and the industry as a whole in his eyes, “Our supply has had some really good supply-oriented conversations with our customers. We’ve also had our R&D team in attendance as well and, to be honest, they’ve been the stars of the show. They’ve been absolutely fantastic. Brian is the leader, and we’ve got some really great demos that we’ve been taking them through showing them the efficacy behind our products.”
How R&D transcends production at Lysol
As Shearwood stated, R&D played a major role in the Lysol Pro Solutions display at the 2022 ISSA Show North America. However, this division of the company is hardly a product highlights team. Instead, as Leafblad sees it, the work they are doing may just transcend the industry itself and benefit the world as a whole, “There have been two main areas of focus that have led into a lot of research and development on our end. The first one is really germ elimination. I mean, everybody’s concerned about getting sick, whether it’s COVID-19 or the pending cold and flu season that’s ramping up. There are germs everywhere, and people are concerned. So it’s really centered around germ kill. How can we kill the key organisms that we need to kill? We need to kill them based on where people are interacting with surfaces and spaces. And, we need to find out how to do that in the fastest and best way possible.”
The products that the company aims to develop for this R&D focus will not only help the industry but may also help the world to create a healthier and happier future for all.
Leafblad went on to share the second big area of focus for the brand, “The second big area is centered around the everyday cleaning needs that everyone has. Expectations have gone up, customers expect more, and we must ask ourselves how we can help them do more with less. It goes partly into the product technology, and then perfectly into the protocol, which is the steps and process of how, when, and where to use our products to get the maximum benefit out of them.”
With cleaning products being expensive and the pandemic leading to financial instability for thousands of Americans, the true cost of cleaning must be redefined—and this is yet another way that the Lysol leadership team hopes to transcend beyond simply making products that work.
Utilizing “˜products that work’
While this well-known brand may be more recognized as a consumer-facing brand, Shearwood hopes to change that and help cleaning pros and managers alike moving forward, “Everybody knows our lifestyle brand. That’s our hero brand in the professional space. Everybody knows the products we have in the key categories of disinfecting spray and disinfecting wipes. We’re really well known for our products in that area, particularly during periods like the cold and flu season. Over the last couple of years, we saw demand for those types of products absolutely soar thanks to the pandemic. But, what we realized during this time was that there was a significant demand for our products and our brands outside of these periods of heightened germ protection. We discovered that we had a much bigger role we needed to play in more traditional cleaning and disinfection. We’ve got a big focus on expanding our portfolio and expanding the communications we have with professional cleaners.”
When asked about the importance of hygiene protocol and using products effectively, Shearwood explained, “It has to start with the customer. And, in this respect, it’s our customers’ customers. You have to create an environment that’s as safe and hygienic as possible for your customers. That’s priority number one. The second reason hygiene protocols are valuable for leaders to implement is to ensure the health of their teams likewise. It’s not just important to have high standards of protection for your patrons, but you want your team members to be in a safe environment and to be as comfortable and motivated as possible. We really believe that good hygiene practices don’t just result in better hygiene but can actually help the business’s bottom line when implemented effectively. But, all in all, your patrons and your team members should be your main focus which will lead to a healthy bottom line.
In the same regard, Leafblad added, “It all comes back to protection. And it’s ultimately about protecting people. You’re protecting the customers or patients that come in and you’re protecting your employees. Then, you’re protecting your business. If you drop the ball on any one of those three, the other two are sure to suffer.”
However, hygiene protocol challenges still face leaders in every industry. As Shearwood explained, “We’ve seen an increase in concern, and hygiene requirements remain incredibly high post-pandemic. That’s a trend that’s not going to going to go away anytime soon either. But some of the challenges in regard to this is that there are massive labor shortages going on right now. And our customer’s costs are through the roof. As such, driving good hygiene protocols while maintaining the bottom line is next to impossible. But we mustn’t forget that good hygiene protocol implementation is not really a cost but rather a benefit to companies.”
This concept of value within hygiene protocol investment was elaborated upon further by the Lysol leader as he analyzed the positive returns from these endeavors, “Firstly, it creates a massive liability risk if you don’t have adequate standards of protection. Secondly, we see that good hygiene can actually be an influencing factor towards motivation, productivity, and making people feel comfortable and safe in the workplace.”
Shearwood also discussed the issue of product misuse that plagued companies during the pandemic and even now, “What we saw during the pandemic was people using a lot of products and not necessarily knowing how to apply them in the right way. But, when they’re applied correctly with training, it can help our customers save costs by using fewer products and saving time on labor as well. That’s a big focus for us. We also have a big focus as a company on innovating to develop more convenient, easy-to-use solutions.”
To counteract these usage problems and to consistently innovate as a brand, Leafblad explained the value of the company’s science-based approach, “Our science-based approach starts with a couple of foundational principles. One is that we have to understand what our customers do, what they care about, and their working environment. If we don’t understand where our customers are coming from, we can’t teach them how to use products more effectively and save money in the process. That ties into the science because, while it may seem practical, if my team comes up with the most beautiful, complicated product in the world but the customer can’t use it, it doesn’t do anyone any good.”
This dedication to business beyond profits alone is one of the main reasons why speaking with these leaders was so refreshing and exhilarating. After all, every great company in the industry should be focusing on the people first and how the products can help these people specifically.
Striving for a brighter and cleaner future
The final major topic of discussion during this enlightening interview was how Lysol Pro Solutions seeks to form a brighter and cleaner future for all. Although there are several initiatives that the company actively invests in, some of the main initiatives include their DEI efforts, uplifting women in the workplace, and developing products with sustainability in mind.
As a leader in the Lysol DEI council, Leafblad shared his thoughts on these efforts and how the company strives for an egalitarian workplace, brand image, and consumer base alike, “We have a North American DEI board that stretches across our business units. Our hygiene business as well as several other business units represented here in the U.S. take part in this board, and I’m on that board. Another one of our marketers is the president of one of our ERGs or employee resource groups. There are a number of us within our professional business team that is involved in DEI efforts within the corporate structure with a very strong focus on developing relationships, inclusion, belonging, making sure that people are seen, heard, recognized, advanced, given opportunities, supported, and developed.”
Leafblad also explained how The Hygieia Network, a division of ISSA, aligns with Lysol’s efforts as well, “All of this is part of what we are building internally. So, when we found out about Hygieia, it just clicked. I mean, the mission of The Hygieia Network just aligned perfectly with what we’re trying to do. We have a significant number of women leaders here in the booth that are part of our team. We have some really strong women on our teams, especially mine. I even joke with my team that we’re built up of first and second-round draft choices only. That’s what our larger team really is. When we carved out this business unit, we were picking the best of the best, and so, we have very strong women leaders in every facet of the brand.”
Finally, the topic of sustainability came into the discussion, and Shearwood proudly exclaimed, “We have a big focus on sustainability from a product perspective. There’s a big emphasis on developing more cost-effective, sustainable solutions. The innovation we brought to market this year is a really good example of this. There’s going to be a much greater focus on how we innovate in our product technology in order to save costs and reduce plastics and water usage as well. From a total company point of view, we have some very aggressive corporate sustainability targets that we’re working to set up as a business. And, as a Pro Division, we’re absolutely committed to supporting the business and helping it deliver on sustainability goals.”
The spokesman also shared some of the highlights of one of their newest sustainable products likewise, “We launched an 800-count disinfecting wipes bucket this year. It needs replenishing 10 times less frequently, which saves on labor costs. The buckets are also reusable, so there’s a cost-benefit there as well from using the same bucket multiple times. And, the bucket itself is made up of 50% Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) materials. All of these things make it cost-effective and sustainable to use, and we’re very proud of that.”
At the end of the interview, Brian Leafblad shared some of the product highlights and the team was happy to highlight some of their proud displays for the Cleanfax editor to experience. In the end, it was yet another way this company seamlessly connected with its audience and consumer base in a truly authentic manner. In moments like these, it’s hard to believe that companies as authentic and innovative as this one could ever possibly fail at even their most outlandish hopes and dreams—and with dreams as positive as theirs, we at Cleanfax truly hope they succeed in strides.