Seeing how Hillyard has become the national standard in the cleaning business, one might not expect such modest beginnings. In 1899, a young entrepreneur named N.S. Hillyard moved to St. Joseph, Mo. Just eight years later in 1907, Hillyard, Inc. was founded and, in 1920, erected the first full-stage, manufacturing plant.
At that time, Hillyard’s focus was on developing and perfecting new wood gym seals and finishes. His manufacturing plant housed the largest wood gymnasium floor west of the Mississippi River, which was used to test new sealants and finishes. N.S. went on to develop more than 100 patented products and formulations, pioneered custodial training programs and helped propel Hillyard, Inc. to a leadership position in the sanitary supply industry.
By the 1970s, Hillyard was in the process of tremendous growth that would change the very face of its business. Bruce Windsor, vice president and director of marketing, explains the transition.
“Up until that time,” he says, “Hillyard was a direct seller of its own products. Then in the 70s, we began to establish a wide network of distributors. There became such a demand for our products and services that to handle the direct sales became almost overwhelming. With our distribution network in place, we have taken the product directly to the customer, where they live and work. This provided for faster delivery times, quicker equipment repair responses and ‘trouble-free’ troubleshooting.”Windsor also points out that the distribution network continues to grow today along with the popularity of Hillyard products. Through the company’s 31 branches and 108 independent distributors located in all 50 states, Hillyard seems to be cleaning up the competition.
Hillyard’s reputation comes from providing multi-level solutions to complex cleaning problems. This unique approach has earned the company the title, “The Cleaning Resource,” which it proudly displays.
“After nearly 10 decades,” Windsor boasts, “we’ve earned a reputation of being the best at troubleshooting, consulting and training. Our services extend far beyond the cleaning formulations that are the bedrock of our business. We assist our customer with product selection, equipment repair, staffing assistance and even controlling their cleaning costs.”
It’s this well-rounded approach that helps Hillyard dominate the cleaning supply demands of a wide variety of market segments, including education, industrial, commercial, government agencies, hospitality and healthcare. It’s about far more than floor wax, mops and buffers for Hillyard.
The company’s goal is to become partners with customers to help them do better business; to be thought of as “on your staff” and not “on your payroll.” With suppliers such as Nilfisk-Advance, Inc., Neo Resins, Georgia-Pacific, Rubbermaid and 3M, it’s evident how valued their services are.
Quality is No. 1 with Hillyard. The company continues to forge partnerships with customers by offering value-added services along with its renowned products. These services come in a variety of “programs” that are specifically tailored to the customer’s need to minimize labor and maintenance costs while enhancing facility appearance. A perfect example of value-added service is Hillyard’s Cleaning Cost Analysis Program® (CCAP).
“This program offers customers the ability to optimize their cleaning resources,” explains Windsor. “With CCAP, we can actually go inside a facility to identify and define labor staffing costs, cleaning frequencies, standardization of tasks and proper utilization of supplies and equipment to promote higher efficiency.”
CCAP software is available to produce flow charts and training cards that display the optimum cleaning service and staffing regime for any facility. From the complex to the simple, Hillyard is finding solutions for any cleaning quandary. Even if a problem doesn’t exist, Hillyard is constantly searching for ways to make the cleaning process faster and easier. The Arsenal® Cleaning System is a perfect example.By providing cleaning products in pre-measured pouches and with push-button dispensing systems, The Arsenal Cleaning System takes the guesswork out of diluting and dispensing cleaning products, saving the customer time and budget dollars. Arsenal prevents misuse, waste and damage. “It even helps promote a safer work environment because the user ultimately handles smaller quantities of the product,” Windsor explains.
In Your Backyard
Hillyard’s support network reaches across the country. That means that as soon as you need cleaning expertise, the company is there. A fully staffed, factory trained equipment service department is constantly at customers’ disposal. Skilled technicians are always on-hand for equipment repair and even on-site. It’s just another way Hillyard brings value-added services directly to the customer.
Investing in People
As important as profits are to Hillyard, the company is more concerned with investing in its employees. The company knows that quality is No. 1 and that quality service comes from quality employees. That’s why Hillyard takes great pride in employee training and has set up the University of Hillyard. In this unique “university,” Hillyard’s 712 employees have the opportunity to expand its skills in technical applications, personnel and leadership.
“Our products are only as good as the people who make them,” Windsor stresses. “We realize that training is not a destination but a journey and we want to help our people along the way.”
A Future That Shines
Hillyard seems to have hit upon a winning formula for product creation, customer satisfaction and aftermarket service. It would seem that any successful company might stop there. Instead, Hillyard is determined to push the envelope in all these areas.
Its future agenda includes further expansion into the healthcare field as well as creating a new service program targeted at the industrial sector, which will be released later this year. No matter what endeavor Hillyard chooses next, it’s sure to be a shining success.