“Our ability to produce bespoke solutions for customers and offer cost-effective and highly productive products has been the cornerstone of our success.”
Truvox International is a leading supplier of commercial floorcare machines, based in Southampton, England. From the production of its first electrical polishing machines in the early 1960s, Truvox has successfully expanded both its product range and its geographic reach to a point where it is now recognised in over 60 countries worldwide.
In 2007, Truvox became part of the Tacony Corporation based in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, providing it with a world-class development facility, access to an even wider range of product permutations and extensive sourcing options including manufacture in the UK,USA, China and India. Truvox has been in the Middle East since a while now through various partners. Clean Middle East speaks with Gordon McVean, Sales & Marketing Director, Truvox International, about the company, its presence in the region and future plans.
It has been 50+ years since the launch of Truvox International when you started off manufacturing electrical floor polishing machines. What would you say has been the company’s biggest achievement in these years?
Positioning our company with a secure financial footing has been our biggest achievement. When I joined Truvox nearly nine years ago, we were not in a good shape; however, over the next three years, we re-wrote our go-to market strategy, reduced our costs and grew our top line. As a result, we now find Truvox in a very strong financial position going forward.
2007 saw Truvox be part of Tacony Group – how did this alliance impact Truvox as a brand and its offerings to customers?
The Truvox acquisition in January 2007 gave us the financial muscle to develop new innovative products, giving Truvox global sourcing and extra engineering resources to enable a smooth supply of quality products for our global customers.
Tell us about your presence in the Middle East region. What is your fastest selling product here?
Within the Middle East, we have a strong network of importers and distribution channels. We are covered in nearly every country within the Middle East and have been for many years. Our fastest selling product in this region is definitely the Tornado CK3030, which is a wide area vacuum cleaner.
Give us an idea of the trends in floorcare machines across the globe and in the Middle East region.
The introduction of new battery technology has seen a dramatic growth in smaller battery powered equipment over the last few years. The drive for cleaning equipment to deliver extra productivity is another developing trend across the globe.
Today, companies are adopting Industry 4.0 from their manufacturing set-up till the operational phase. Where does Truvox International stand in this trend?
Our products, being smaller, commodity-type equipment, do not readily lend themselves to a great deal by way of automation and exchange of data, other than in field asset management. We are continuing to monitor this closely as we create our product roadmap for the next 3-5 years, and, should additional product ranges form part of our portfolio, we will ensure that these features are incorporated into those products.
What is the time span between conceptualising a product and launching it in the market? What are the various stages involved?
It can be anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, as it will depend on the product, whether it is already in existence or if we are building a product from the ground up. We undergo a thorough go-to market process, which starts with the Project Assessment, which assesses all potential projects via an initial project prioritization analysis. The projects scoring high enough on the prioritisation matrix will be placed on the roadmap for approval. After the roadmap is approved, the new development process starts.
Next, the Concept Development is where the customer requirements are further detailed and technical feasibility is established. Rough prototypes of design concepts may be generated at this time. At the end of this phase, the Product Definition is complete and submitted for approval. Phase 3, Product Design & Development further details the design of the product and processes, a product specification is finalised along with costs and a capital plan is established. Phase 4, Tooling & Validation develops the tooling and ultimately works like/looks like prototypes that will be used for engineering, safety testing and customer validation.
The final phase is Production, where first production units are run and manufacturing and marketing launch readiness plans are completed and a post-audit plan is developed.
You have four brands under your umbrella – how do they differ from each other?
Our four brands are Truvox, Powr Flite, Tornado and CFR. Each one is a standalone company within our division, with Truvox being our true international brand. We now export Truvox equipment to over 60 countries worldwide. Powr-Flite is mainly our on-line US brand; however, it is also exported globally together with Tornado. CFR is our high-end carpet restoration line, mainly aimed at professional carpet cleaners.
Being a manufacturer, a lot of the responsibility to the environment rests on your shoulders. What steps has Truvox taken towards this goal?
Since moving to our new premises in 2014, Truvox has continuously reviewed the environmental impact of our products and operations, and taken all steps to ensure that, wherever possible, we minimise that impact at all stages of our manufacturing, supply chain and business management.
What would you say is Truvox’s USP? How do you ensure that you stay above the competition?
We pride ourselves upon our flexibility and readiness to work with our customers to ensure that they receive the best possible solution. Our ability to produce bespoke solutions for customers, whether by branding or other options, and, at the same time, offering cost-effective and highly productive products has been the cornerstone of our success.
What would you deem to be the challenges of running a company of Truvox’s stature?
Truvox is a small company in a market place dominated by major global organisations, and we, therefore, need to ensure our profile is always being marketed to its optimum potential. We also need to focus our investment in those areas where we can genuinely compete against the best in class and obtain maximum benefit.
What are your strategies for the next 5 years in this region? What is the future of the company?
Here at Truvox we see the bulk of our potential growth in International markets, primarily Europe, Middle East, Pacific Rim and South Africa. Our home market will have an uncertain time until the exit of the UK from Europe is determined and new trade agreements established; however, we see business steadily increasing in both the short and medium term.