Zep CEO Dan Smytka told Happi that prior to COVID-19, business was performing well, as his company focused on partnering with customers for comprehensive or "bundled" solutions to meet their needs.
“As we entered the pandemic, obviously the consumer mindset shifted focus on protecting employees and guests, and we started to see a heavy uptake of disinfecting and sanitizing products,” recalled Smytka. “We met that demand by internal and third-party ramps in production, and creative throughput enhancements developed by our team.”
Zep hand sanitizers have seen a 2000% lift in demand and many of its other coronavirus-effective disinfectant products like Zep Spirit II and Zep Quick Clean have seen demand lifts at similar rates. As a result, Zep could no longer meet increased demands with enhancement of existing capacity, which prompted the decisions to invest in its facilities. By Fall, the expansion will be complete and running this new capacity, in line with the timing health experts believe will see increased resurgence and demand.
Three Steps Forward
As facilities reopen in many parts of the US, Zep’s aim is to help customers disrupt the contamination cycle in their facilities and vehicles, and reduce the risk of exposing employees and guests to contaminants.
“We are committed to helping our customers provide a clean, contaminant-reduced environment as they resume operations, and have developed a simple, yet effective three-step program,” explained Smytka. “This program includes the solutions and guidance needed by our customers, and can be customized by our team of technical experts to fit their specific requirements.”
Zep has created a three-step program that includes:
• Deep cleaning–As businesses reopen, a thorough deep cleaning is required. Zep can provide the right professional grade products and procedures to help in this step.
• Disinfect—Zep has a selection of EPA-approved disinfecting products, and also provide guidance on proper use, which is critically important.
• Maintain – Cleaning is not a one-time event, and businesses need to develop the correct maintenance schedule to keep their facilities clean at the lowest possible maintenance cost.
“We have solutions that can not only clean effectively, but significantly lower labor cost,” said Smytka. “As well, we are able to provide surface protectants that minimize the growth of biofilm, and extend the disruption of the contamination cycle.”
More about Zep’s three-step program is available at www.zep.com
Like other HI&I companies, the pandemic introduced many new opportunities for Zep in terms of products, customers and partnerships. The weighting of its innovation pipeline shifted from industrial maintenance and cleaning solutions to hand sanitizers, hand soaps, disinfectants and novel sanitizers. As a result, Zep is growing its portfolio in these categories to introduce new go-to-market protocols, technologies, active ingredients, and proprietary equipment.
“Our most recent innovation was the introduction of the Zep 3-Step-System to Clean, Disinfect, and Maintain,” explained Smytka. “The system is focused on supporting communities and customers as they reopen.”
Customer relationships have expanded, too. Zep partnered with Uber, New York City Transit and Amazon, to name a few, and was able to provide products for them when other manufacturers were short on supply, according to Smytka.
“While all of our suppliers were struggling to meet the increased demand, we built unexpected partnerships to ensure we could help our customers,” he told Happi. “One such partnership was with Jack Daniels, which provided ethanol for our hand sanitizers when our traditional suppliers were not able to meet our needs.”
To meet its customers’ needs Zep has a portfolio of products that are effective against COVID-19, which can be found here. The products aren’t new to Zep or its customers, as they have been in the company’s portfolio for years.
“That said, we are constantly innovating in this space, and have several novel new solutions working through regulatory approval. Some of these solutions are already approved for sanitation use in food and beverage processing and will register as well as disinfectants,” noted Smytka. “Some are new to the world solutions about which we are quite excited.”
All the more reason for Zep executives to have some pep in their step.