The Real Deal

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A recent rebrand and a realignment of strategic goals has seen Australian-based manufacturing group True Blue Chemicals position itself as a leading contender in the premium cleaning and hygiene solutions space.

Honouring brand heritage is a responsibility that sits easily on the shoulders of True Blue Chemicals managing director Brad Macdougall. A market leader of innovative, cleaning and hygiene solutions for the industrial, hospitality and healthcare sectors, True Blue manufactures a range of high quality cleaning and hygiene products—in addition to a range of stock and custom-made soaps for local and international distribution.

While it is renowned for its Blue Lazer bathroom cleaner, Use All all purpose cleaner, Dishmatic machine dish washing detergent and Liquidate degreaser and cleaner, the business prides itself on the value-added service it delivers to its customers in the form of OH&S audits, compliance assistance and ongoing consultation and advice. A recent addition to the CSS family, True Blue is 100 per cent privately owned and manufactures all its products from its 1250sqm premises in Caringbah in Southern Sydney.

In recent times, however, it has been its work in the industrial space—notably through its heavy vehicle cleaner and degreaser, its hand soap and a product it calls Suppress CP20 which helps control airborne dust and reduces airborne dust hazards in above- and below-ground mine sites, on roads and graded tracks—that has seen it garner most attention.

Family heritage

Over the years this has seen it service an enviable client base that includes everyone from BHP and Blue Scope Steel to St Vincent’s Health. Clearly True Blue has come a long way since being founded in 1986 by Macdougall’s father Stuart, a former Australian rugby international player— and a natural born salesman.

Having overseen his son’s early career, Macdougall describes the company’s founder as both an “astute entrepreneur” and larger than life character. “He was no shrinking violet. He is an extremely loveable, humourous, generous kind person who attracted good people around him.

As a businessman, he had a genuine desire to assist. But while he’s no longer part of the business, he is still an important part of the heritage of who we are,” Macdougall says. Yet as the head of a second generation family business, Macdougall recognises that while he must remain reverent to the values instilled in the company when first established, like all good leaders he is also duty-bound to make hard decisions to secure its future.

Core values

Macdougall, a champion believer in nurturing longstanding relationships with True Blue’s team, customers, and distributors, recently steered the company through a major rebrand, which he hopes has redefined its energy for a new era. “There’s some core values that Dad established early in the business around loyalty, trust and honesty which fit nicely with the True Blue brand marque without sounding too ‘ocker’,” he says. As well as a dynamic new logo, the changes also resulted in Macdougall making the difficult decision to allow True Blue to be a 100 per cent distributor-focused business.

“Whilst we still do have and will continue to service some large long term contracts that we deal with directly because they’re in some niche spaces where there’s a high level of skill required, our primary focus is working with independent distributors and being quite selective with whom we deal. “We’re very committed to making sure that our distributor partners are number one, they’re good ambassadors for our product while delivering really cost effective products to their end-users.”

Facing the corporates

Macdougall says while the brand has been forced to prove its resilience several times over the years, its agility in relation to its larger competitors has held it in good stead. The reality is that a large proportion of the Australian market is supplied by a few big multinational tier one companies, he says. “They, like most corporates, offer value, support and genuine service but the big boys ride their reputation too much and don’t always deliver.

We’ve taken business off some of these big boys and exceeded the customer’s back-end expectations in terms of education, training and technical assistance—all those things that we are nimble enough to deliver at a high level. True Blue’s goal is to continue focusing on its three core markets while also ensuring it always delivers the unexpected in terms of service through its infield expertise, serious commitment to education and culture and innovation in its products, he says.

“We want to be everything that the corporates aren’t—accessible, reliable, responsive. I want to have fun and enjoy what I do. “I still get a huge [kick] out of seeing our products in remote parts of Australia. But what true success means to me is being in partnership with people that share similar values around our business and who are passionate about our product and our brand.”

“We’re very committed to making sure that our distributor partners are number one, they’re good ambassadors for our product while delivering really cost effective products to their end- users.” Brad Macdougall, managing director, True Blue Chemicals