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Olena Neznal expressed the impact of the pandemic on the cleaning industry

EMEA Vice President and Director for Kimberly-Clark Professional discussed the impact of the pandemic and the trends that will shape the future

Olena Neznal currently serves as Vice President and Director EMEA for the Kimberly-Clark Professional (KPC) division, with responsibility for nearly $ 1 billion in B2B regional businesses, providing hygiene solutions to organizations including hospitals, large large-scale office buildings, industrial manufacturing and the hospital sector.

With more than 25 years of consumer and B2B experience, working for companies including M & M / Mars, Procter & Gamble, Neznal promoted the business sector to empower her team in Europe and North America.

In recent years, where everyone had to adapt to new ways of working due to the pandemic, Neznal expresses her optimism regarding the future of Kimberly-Clark Professional. “The pandemic has certainly been an extremely challenging time in so many ways, however one of the positives to emerge from this situation is that it has elevated awareness of cleaning in all our public areas.

Closely linked to that increased awareness of hand hygiene, and very much in line with K-C businesses, is the rise of smart hygiene. “There were an increasing number of digitized, no-touch solutions for away-from-home washroom prior to the pandemic and the last 18 months have accelerated their implementation at a wider level,” says Neznal.

K-C Professional identified that for some time there was a need to modernize sales processes, and the pandemic accelerated this trend. “The selling process has been the same for hundreds of years. Companies hire salespeople and they go out on the road to meeting clients. But now, most professional organizations employ professional buyers to go online to do their research and they want to buy remotely. Up to 70 per cent of purchasers do not want to see a salesperson in their office and that trend is accelerating rapidly. That means we must change now how we approach virtual selling so that it becomes the norm.”

On the other hand, K-C Professional has developed different educational webinars so that its distributors can provide knowledge to their final consumer, and thus give them support in matters of care and hygiene.

In addition, the company has invested $ 500,000 million in establishing the Kimberly-Clark Professional Scholarship program, in conjunction with ISSA and GBAC in the US. This online courses has been devised to equip cleaning operatives around the world with the skills they need to manage situations arising in their daily job as a result of Covid-19.

As a business leader, Neznal says that one of the most important factors in managing her work group – which is more than 1,200 people – is to stop worrying about being in the office. “Working virtually – as long as the job is done – is fine for me. My focus is on outcomes.”

“One very importante lesson I’ve learned over the various lockdowns, however, is that people still value that sense of belonging to a team, even when they can’t see each other in person. We cannot underestimate the value of communication and that sense of unity ir brought became absolutely critical during the pandemic.

Now that everything is returning to normal, Neznal is focused on finding new business models for her sales department and letting her consumers know that they can count on the company. “We can be a great example of achievement when it comes to sales,” she said.

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