The jolliest of cleaning trolleys

22nd of December 2015
The jolliest of cleaning trolleys

How can a trolley manufacturer enhance the look of their products to make the traditional cleaning cart appear easier on the eye? And why should they bother to do so in the first place? Ann Laffeaty discovers the reasons behind today’s trend towards more attractive trolleys.

A cleaning trolley is essentially a practical tool. It can be argued that its appearance is irrelevant so long as it can accommodate everything that the cleaner will require during his or her shift. So why are today’s trolleys becoming more attractive all the time? Admittedly new printing techniques make it easier for companies to add logos, slogans and images to their trolleys. But are manufacturers enhancing cleaning trolleys simply because they can?

On the contrary according to Filmop export manager Paolo Scapinello. He believes that the trend towards smartening up trolleys reflects a deep-seated change in attitudes towards cleaning. “The public used to think of cleaners simply as the people who got rid of the dirt,” he said. “But recent global pandemics such as SARS and swine flu have changed all this and there is now a general perception of cleaners as the protectors of our health.

“This change in attitude has had a knock-on effect on trolleys, many of which used to be messy-looking carts that gave the impression of disorder. But there is no need for a trolley to be an eyesore.”

According to Scapinello the appearance of trolleys is becoming more important all the time. “From a customer’s point of view, a filthy trolley will not give an impression of cleanliness and hygiene. However trolleys need to be efficient as well as attractive,” he said. Latest products from Filmop include the Alpha line for general cleaning and the Emotion line.

“Both models are extremely customisable and can accommodate any request in terms of picture, logo, name or drawing,” said Scapinello. “For example we recently had a request from a children’s hospital in France for cartoons to be used to decorate the sides of their trolleys to brighten up the days of the young patients.”

The company’s Emotion trolley line is targeted chiefly at four and five-star hotels where a more discreet design is often preferred. “In these types of facilities we are often asked to provide room service trolleys that match the décor of the room and that tone in with the furnishings and carpets,” he said.

Increase satisfaction

He feels that an attractive trolley can help to increase the cleaners’ job satisfaction. “It makes them feel more accountable,” he explained. “A smart trolley will give the cleaner pride in what they do and make them more likely to want to keep it looking that way. They will also prefer being in charge of an attractive trolley that is made of easy-to-clean plastic rather than a scruffy old metal cart that may have begun to rust.”

And he believes that the trend for more attractive trolleys will continue. “It is important for a company’s image,” he said. “A presentable-looking trolley will catch the eye and alert customers and guests to the fact that cleaning is taking place. However a trolley need not stand out – it should be fully integrated with the décor of the environment.”

TTS export sales manager Alessandro Costantini agrees that the emphasis on appearance is a growing trend within the trolley sector - and he concurs with Scapinello about the reasons behind the change. “The image of the cleaning industry and of cleaners in general is improving,” he said.

“The sector is now being assessed not only on its efficiency but also on the visual impact of items such as cleaners’ uniforms and equipment. And this comes at a time when we are seeing a general strengthening of cleaners’ image and a new level of dignity for the sector.”

Professional image

He says an attractive trolley can provide a cleaning company with a modern and professional image. “Everyone can benefit from this type of aesthetic improvement: the manufacturers, the cleaners, the service providers and the end-users,” he said.

TTS’s Magic Line of trolleys offers the possibility of a high level of customisation, says Costantini. “We can print on any visible part of a trolley and our designs can incorporate logos, web addresses, graphics, texture, photos or any other visual element requested by the customer,” he said.

“Trolley customisation is a daily request for us and we have supplied bespoke trolleys to a range of sectors including hotels, cleaning companies, hospital, sports grounds and institutions. We are sometimes even asked to add doors or walls to a trolley not for any functional need, but simply to provide more surfaces that can be customised with a logo.”

However he adds that trolleys should never be considered merely as a decorative object. “Manufacturers must keep in mind the fact that trolleys need to help cleaners in their day-to-day operations,” he said. “Factors such as price-quality ratio, efficiency and functionality are all key points to consider when choosing a cleaning trolley. “Once these have been satisfied we can start to talk about aesthetics and appearance.”

Marketing and communications manager at Kärcher Linda Schrödter says customers associate trolleys that offer a high quality design and appearance with good performance and improved hygiene. “If a cleaning firm brings along quality equipment, the customer transfers that perception to the quality of the work,” she said. “Visual appeal also plays an important role when deciding on a product because first impressions both count and endure.”

She says image is becoming increasingly important since the cleaning buyer associates quality and performance with a strong brand. “An attractive cleaning trolley also gives a more professional appearance,” she said. “High quality materials imply better quality jobs and this gives employees a sense of self-esteem. An attractive cleaning trolley also enhances job satisfaction and improves the working environment for the cleaner. And this is good for productivity because employees who operate in a pleasant working environment tend to work faster and more efficiently.”

She adds that employees will value a smart trolley more highly and treat it more carefully than a battered old cart. “This in turn enhances operational safety and creates the best possible ergonomics,” she said.

According to Schrödter it is becoming increasingly easy to adapt a trolley to individual customer requirements. “New printing methods and technologies make it possible to match products more precisely to customers’ needs in terms of colour-coded labelling and individual logos,”
she said. “Changes in a company’s logo can also be implemented more quickly these days.”

She says customers consider factors such as quality, robustness, compactness, capacity and versatility when purchasing a trolley. “But an attractive design is also important since the appearance of a product will influence the purchasing decision,” says Schrödter,

Unique systems

International sales manager at Crisp Clean Judy Toes says her company has always understood the need for trolleys to be aesthetically pleasing. “The functionality of a trolley along with its efficiency, ergonomics and aesthetics are all key considerations during the design and development process,” she said.  “Customers have been asking for bespoke trolleys for years.

“They want to be able to offer a unique system to their customers and they are able to do so simply by adding accessories or components to a standard trolley base. And today’s printing techniques are frequently being used to enhance the appearance of trolley systems.”

She says a well-designed trolley provides a professional appearance and claims her company’s  Nipper Plus is designed to be aesthetically pleasing while also being functional, ergonomic
and adaptable.

Business development manager at Vileda Paul Harleman feels that both the design and the appearance of trolleys are becoming increasingly important. “Like cars there are no bad trolleys any more,” he said. “The trend is being driven by sectors such as hospitality and healthcare where cleaning operations need to take place during the day and where smart, attractive equipment is therefore required.”

He agrees with other manufacturers that a cleaner is more likely to take care of an aesthetically-pleasing trolley. “Appearance creates a value perception, both for the facility user and for the cleaner,” he said. “You will instinctively treat a well-designed product better than you would an unattractive one.”

He says trolley customisation has become easier and more affordable today than it used to be in the past. “New techniques are available to personalise your trolley and to make it more attractive and we expect this facility to improve even further in the future.”

All Vileda’s Origo trolleys can be customised and decorated using a printed wrap on panels and doors, says Harleman. Customers can choose any slogan, logo or image they wish.
“For example a major contract cleaner recently wanted its trolleys to be decorated with images of the company’s cleaners in order to demonstrate their pride in the workforce,” he said.  “A healthcare customer also asked for pictures of monuments from its home town to be displayed on its trolleys. And an ambulance company customer decorated its trolleys with the official ambulance colours and stripes.”

He adds that factors such as cost, efficiency and space management are all very important to Vileda’s customers. “But it is often our experience that a trolley’s appearance is considered to be equally as important as the other factors.”

Better performance

IPC Group managing director Michele Redi agrees that an attractive trolley can lead to improved performance from a cleaner. “A clean and elegant trolley that is also highly functional will inspire a feeling of order, hygiene and tidiness,” he said.

IPC’s new printing techniques allow the company to satisfy even the most difficult of customisation requests, claims Redi. “At Pulire 2015 we exhibited our modular BRIX trolley range which is fully customisable and we used modern art pictures and images of the natural environment to highlight this new design,” he said. All IPC trolleys can be customised with a company’s logo along with images provided by the customers.

Redi believes that the appearance of trolleys will become increasingly important as companies seek to differentiate themselves further from the competition.

“Customers like to stand out from the mass market which is why we are continually developing new products that can satisfy ever-more demanding clients,” he said. “But for most of our customers, what remains really important is a true compromise between an attractive, customised trolley concept and a competitive price.”


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