Approaching its 40th year in business, Hako and its brand continues to go from strength to strength.
With an enviable product range coveted and used in the industrial, commercial and outdoor environments, Hako provides bespoke solutions that are tailored to the individual needs of each and every customer, who enjoy a service that continues to flourish after contracts have been signed.
The company is headed up by Managing Director, Sylvie Giangolini, who has seen great strides made at Hako in her six years here. Together with Alison Conroy, Sales and Marketing Director, Sylvie spoke to Business Britain Media about Hako’s success in the UK market, how its own management team is chosen, and why the products are so popular in the industrial, commercial and municipal markets.
This is an excerpt – the interview in full can be found in Transport Britain.
Can you tell us about Hako’s origins and subsequent growth?
The company was established in 1948 as a family-run business which moved into the sweeper market. Our first sweeper for the Hako range was launched in 1961 and the first scrubber drier arrived 14 years later.
Our UK team was formed in 1979, and we’ve been operating as a direct subsidiary of Germany since then. Next year will be our 40th birthday here in the UK.
Since we have been part of the UK market, we have steadily increased the range of sweepers and scrubber drier products in our portfolio. A big change to what we offer came in 1995, when we launched our first outdoor machine into the market. This catapulted us into the outdoor cleaning market, adding to our already solid foundation in the indoor market.
The Hako family sold the business to a company called Possehl between 2004 – 2006, and the brand in the UK has continued to flourish.
I would say that in the UK we are unique because of the wide product range we offer, which includes combination machines that undertake scrubber drier and sweeper functions. Our portfolio goes right up to machinery such as six-tonne road sweepers that are largely used by councils.
We remain confident that nobody provides the range of equipment we can.
Regarding your product range, how did you see the gap in the market to develop this, and how are you capitalising on it?
As a business, our success has emanated from our commitment to moving forward and introducing products to the range that add value to what we already have now.
It is the reason we differ from our competitors: the choice across our product range. We are clear where each of our products sits in either a market or an industry.
Rather than sell as a commodity, we try to make sure that the solutions we offer are bespoke to each and every customer.
This is obvious in our approach to customers. From the outset, when a customer contacts us, we will call them to discuss their requirements and undertake a site survey so that we can guarantee the brand is being given the best opportunity to perform; sometimes, the customer may feel they need a sweeper, when in fact, they need a scrubber drier.
It is therefore important to us to make sure we understand the bespoke client requirements, and the challenges on each site, because every site is different.
Our range comprises of 12 scrubber drier variants, 10 sweeper variants, and four Citymaster outdoor machines. The variants of all machines guarantee multi-functionality to the customer, which allows year-round use of our equipment, for snow clearing in winter, grass cutting and street scrubbing.
What type of clients and sectors do you work with?
For indoor cleaning, it’s anywhere you can think of that has a floor which needs cleaning! We have clients in retail, hospitals, universities – the possibilities for us are endless, quite frankly!
For outdoor sweepers, our largest sector is the municipalities and local authorities. Having said that, we find any client with a lot of ground, such as universities, logistics and warehouses, all benefit from our outdoor kit.
How do you target companies in the different sectors?
When I first joined Hako, the outdoor market was very small in comparison to what was previously seen as our core market, whereas the indoor equipment market was very strong.
Whilst this has continued to grow, I’d certainly say since Alison joined, we have seen incredible growth in the outdoor market because we have strategically targeted it as a growth area due to the confidence we have in the product range.
The result is what we see today – two strong, direct sales channels, and two clear definitions within the team.
We bring in experts across the board who are confident and knowledgeable in each of our market sectors.
What are the company’s plans for the future, and are there any gaps in the market for expansion?
We are constantly looking to grow, and are continuing to develop our diverse product range. This year, we will be introducing new machines into the market and have plans for even more in the next couple of years.
Hybrid technology is something we’re looking closely at for the outdoor market, because cleaner environments are something that Hako prides itself on, along with sustainability. We have undertaken extensive research and development regarding the robotic range of indoor equipment too.
In terms of our UK management team, we are always making sure that the product range we have meets the demand of all our clients.
The interview in full can be found in the latest issue of Transport Britain.