Sirron Holdings Group is based in Caves Beach, just south of Newcastle in NSW. At heart, they are a manufacturer of quality commercial dishwashing machines but, over time, they’ve evolved services to support the more specific needs of their customers.
Their commercial cleaning division, Zexa Clean, has been manufacturing cleaning products aimed at the hospitality and care industry since 2000. With an established reputation for manufacturing high-performance chemicals that “Clean fast, clean safe”, the Covid-19 pandemic made them the ‘go-to’ for local, reliable supply of outbreak prevention products.
Managing Director, Greg gates, says switching from manufacturing dishwashing machines to manufacturing hand sanitiser came down to thinking quick and utilising his contacts to pivot the business within days.
“We were watching what was happening in other parts of the world and at first our main concern was the impact it would have on our employees and livelihoods. Then we became aware of the critical shortage of hand sanitiser that would affect everyone in Australia and we just wanted to help.”
“We already had the small mixing and filling plant that we made our other chemicals in. We dismantled one of the dishwasher production lines and turned it into a multi-filling production line,” Mr Gates said.
As the overseas supply chain broke down, Australia faced shortages of soaps, disinfectants and sanitisers. “The phone just kept ringing”, said Mr Gates. “The supply chain was dry, no-one could get the cleaning and hygiene products they needed. Every day, people were asking us what could we make and how soon!”
At this point, a decision was made to prioritise rapid development and supply wherever demand took it. Mr Gates described the effort involved as “massive”.
“We had to commercialise formulations, source scarce ingredients and packaging, develop safety data documents, understand lawful labelling and claims, organise product testing and assemble a team and external partners to manufacture large orders quickly”, he said.
“We’ve now built a track record as reliable, nimble local suppliers of customised products across all categories. If something needs cleaning, sanitising, disinfecting, deodorising – we can make something that does it fast and does it safely”, said Mr Gates.
One of the categories heavily affected by the drop in overseas supply was the Barber and Salon industry. “Through The Cutthroat Journal, we heard that feedback through their network was that key products for sanitising styling tools were scarce and increasingly expensive”, said Mr Gates.
Talking with industry suppliers and business owners, it emerged that there was an opportunity not just to fill a gap in the market but to improve the products on offer.
And so “Soak It” was born. “The first product was a utensil soaking concentrate – we made sure it looked and smelled amazing”, said Mr Gates. “As soon as it went out on trial, we got asked for a liquid soap and then a sanitiser spray that had the same great efficacy and smashing fragrance qualities”, he said.
There is one product in the range that the team considers a stand-out. Called “Clip It”, it’s an amped-up spray clipper cleaner that not only disinfects and sanitises but has a special added feature. “We put a jet nozzle on the pack that literally blows the hair out of the clippers”, said Mr Gates. “Now preventing cross contamination between clients is not only easy – but fun!” he said.