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Cleaning in the USA

JohnsonDiversey, President and CEO Greg Lawton Talks About the Future
On Friday May 3rd, the sale of Diversey Lever to Johnson Wax Professional became a reality when documents were signed and money changed hands. And on that day JohnsonDiversey became the new global name for the company. The purchase is unique for many reasons, one of which is that Johnson Wax, a $1 billion dollar a year company, bought Diversey Lever, a $1.6 billion dollar a year company.

Having talked with CEO Lawton in Scotland after he spoke at the World Federation of Building Service Contractors Association Congress, I was invited to attend a JohnsonDiversey (JD) press conference with Lawton and other senior executives at the ISSA/INTERCLEAN Show in Amsterdam.

And here are some of the key points that I found interesting:
– Cleaning chemicals are an $18 billion a year market. Johnson Wax has 14% and Ecolab has 17% of the market.
– JD has 15,000 employees in 54 countries and generates $2.6 billion in annual sales.
– Two thirds of JohnsonDiversey’s income is from Diversey Lever’s sales.
– There will be some reductions in staff, sites and products.
– The deal has been in the works for over five years.
– The new challenge is how to best bring the companies together as smoothly as possible. Each company has deep roots, ethics and committed people and good products. The entire process could take two or three years, with senior management teams in place in 3 or 4 months.
– The corporate mission is to provide the best and the simplest total solutions to a customer’s cleaning problems.
– JD wants to provide a complete complementary package of cleaning supplies and equipment to it’s customers
– Management sees it as a good marriage, Johnson Wax is strong in floor care and housekeeping and Diversey Lever is strong in food, beverage, laundry and equipment.
– Taski equipment is part of the deal.
– The new company will be better positioned to meet the needs of global customers. (The Wal-Mart’s of the world)

Once the press conference was over, I met privately with JohnsonDiversey, President and CEO, Greg Lawton for an exclusive video interview during which he talked candidly about his career, the industry and JohnsonDiversey’s plans for the future.

You can see and hear the entire unedited interview via streaming video at Click on the “On the Road with Bill Griffin Video Interviews” button on the right side of the page and follow the instructions.

For more information on JohnsonDiversey or their products visit:

Guerrilla Matrix Presentation Shocks Contractors
When we think of a threat to our business we normally think of the competitor down the street who may underbid us on the next job. Giles Trendle, Owner of Global Profile got the attention of attendees at the World Federation of Building Service Contractors Association Congress (WFBSC) in Edinburgh Scotland when he held up a list of 616 U.S. businesses that he said are being targeted for cyberwar by Islamic Hizbollah guerillas in Lebanon.

Trendle, who spent ten years reporting on the war in Lebanon, witnessed first hand how a small group of guerrillas, who were outgunned and outnumbered, were able to outmaneuver a larger and better equipped adversary by adopting the right mindset and structure. Trendle’s presentation “Guerilla Matrix” not only stunned attendees as to their vulnerability and shattered their security, but also gave them a framework for applying these same principals in a positive way to the marketing and operations of a cleaning business.

According to Trendle, the Internet economy represents the soft underbelly of Western political, economic and military dominance in the world. Cyberwar offers a new potential for a devastating attack that should be a serious concern for the business community. Information warfare involves disseminating information via websites or email to raise awareness, mobilize support and create global networks of like-minded individuals. It can also involve infiltrating and disrupting computer system networks, databases and websites with viruses, worms and Trojan horses. Such attacks can enable a small group to damage computer systems or “down” a website of multi-national corporations. As information technology comes to rule every part of our lives, it is no longer necessary to have rockets and guns to destroy a company or to disrupt an economy, a government or an electrical facility.

Trendle had this advise:
– Identify these threats and develop a response.
– The Internet is creating a power shift that can and is threatening the establishment, examples include: Linux software, Napstar and the wireless LAN.
– Don’t ignore or underestimate this threat – Intelligence can win out over size and power.
– This type of enemy can’t be defeated by conventional means.
– Learn to think like your adversary.
– When fighting the strong, move fast, use speed, surprise, audacity and daring to your advantage. These are your strengths.
– When you have fewer resources, use your imagination, be inventive and more fluid, learn to adapt and respond more quickly than your enemy.
– Decentralize, be flexible and everywhere, but nowhere.
– The motivation is different – It’s hard to defeat someone who is willing to die for his or her cause.
– Only fight if you can succeed – then hit hard and move on to fight another day.
– Success today depends on the use of innovation, information, speed and flexibility, not size and dollars.

Not everyone appreciated Trendle’s presentation. Ian Greig, President of Daniels and Associates, asked the speaker if the list of names was real or just a blank sheet of paper held up for dramatic effect. Greig questioned, “Can I get a copy of the list? I want a copy of the list.” Trendle responded, “You can see it.” “No,” said Greig, “I want a copy of the list.” After the presentation, Ian Greig and Carol Dean, President of the BSCAI both got copies of the list.

I met with Trendle for a video interview where he explained further how small businesses can use the principals of “Guerrilla Matrix” to compete against bigger and better financed competitors.

You can see and hear this exclusive unedited interview via streaming video at Click on the “On the Road with Bill Griffin Video Interviews” button on the right side of the page and follow the instructions.

For more information on Giles Trendle and his free “Guerrilla Matrix Newsletter” visit his website at: www.

The Dawn of a New Era – Technology’s Impact
In the cleaning industry, when we think of technology, we often think of new chemicals and equipment for cleaning and we are certainly seeing some changes in these areas. But technology of another type is about to impact our industry in a big way. Other industries have gone before us and now it’s our turn.

Last week I attended an ISSA District Meeting in Portland, OR. After the meeting, Roger Parrott, President of the ISSA Board of Directors and I took a bus ride about 20 miles South to Wilsonville for a visit to the offices of Coastwide Laboratories, Inc.

Grant Watkinson, Past President of the ISSA and one of the owners of Coastwide Laboratories, Inc., gave us a nice tour of their modern facilities and then we gathered in their media conference center to hear more about how Coastwide employees are now teleconferencing for meetings instead of spending hours driving between their main locations in Oregon and Washington.

According to Watkinson, the new Sony Teleconference System cost them about $20.000. “We see it as a good investment,” Watkinson said. “So far it looks like the system will pay for it self in less than one year. Traveling between our Portland and Seattle offices used to be a one or two day trip. Which means a lot of wasted windshield time. Now it’s a quick walk to the conference center and a phone call. It sure beats the long drive,” added Watkinson.

I think Coastwide is on to something here. I’ll bet it won’t take them long to figure out that they are not the only ones who don’t like to travel to meetings and training seminars. In a few months I expect Coastwide will be beaming custodial training classes to their customers locations via the Internet for display on a monitor in the lunchroom or computer screen on someone’s desk. I can just see 10 to 50 cleaners gathered around the screen listing as someone demonstrates carpet spotting or proper restroom cleaning procedures. That’s the future, and it’s becoming reality in Washington and Oregon, thanks to one company’s investment in technology. For more info visit:

Be a Winner at the ISSA Show in Las Vegas in October
The biggest cleaning show of the year is scheduled to be held this October in Las Vegas, NV. This is the big one that is now open to end users and distributors alike. If you want to know who makes what and where to get it, this is the show for you. For more information on the show, seminars and other related activities, visit: or call 1-800-225-4772.