We recently conducted an interview with Niels van den Berg, the CEO of CleanJack. Looking back on the year 2023, we discussed the inspiring projects, challenges and innovations CleanJack has gone through and what we can expect in the coming year. Niels shared his insights on the projects that inspired him the most, CleanJack’s sustainability efforts, challenges overcome and the company’s growth in new markets. Here are some highlights from our conversation.
Looking back on 2023, which projects inspired you the most and why?
In 2023 we realized an awful lot of new inspiring projects both at home and abroad! The CIAO project in Belgium stands out. Belgian cleaning companies must report the presence of cleaners at work sites to the Federal Government on a daily basis as of January 1, 2024. This requires a lot of operational and technical preparation. We were busy working on this in 2023 and we foresee a lot of work in 2024 as well. CleanJack is the timekeeping specialist in the cleaning industry, the CIAO project fits perfectly within our expertise. We also did inspiring automation projects in specific sectors: cleaning in education, cleaning in the healthcare sector and a lot of (specialized) cleaning in the food processing industry.
But it is mainly the customers’ stories that inspire. What really keeps cleaning entrepreneurs busy? What challenges do they have to overcome? With what and how can we, as an automation company, help them in the best possible way? Cleaning entrepreneurs have become real champions in flexibility and efficiency! Professional cleaning is in full swing. Robotization and further digitalization are the order of the day. It is this enormous dynamic that inspires me most.
Sustainability is becoming increasingly important. How did CleanJack deal with it in 2023 and will it change in 2024?
Sustainability is important to us. We are consciously working on this and trying to make our carbon footprint as small as possible. A multitude of small steps should eventually start to change things. With digitization, we are combating paper waste. Paper time sheets are being replaced by digital registrations, paper logbooks are being replaced by digital versions at work locations. Our office has solar panels on the roof and CleanJack’s company cars are electric or hybrid. And whenever possible I take my own bike to the office. Our contribution is only a fraction in the overall picture, but awareness is a first step. If nobody does anything, nothing will change.
What challenges has CleanJack overcome?
The past year and previous years were filled with challenges. Brexit, Corona, the war in Ukraine, changing legislation, inflation and huge wage increases in the cleaning industry were just a few obstacles. Brexit inhibited growth in the United Kingdom. Corona caused sleepless nights but in the end we got through this well. As a result of the war, we had to close our data center in Moscow and adjust our strategy. Now we focus on cleaning companies in Western Europe rather than worldwide. This turned out to be a wise choice and it is paying off! CleanJack is in full swing and we welcome new customers every week!
Are there any new markets or areas where CleanJack has increased its presence by 2023?
Time and attendance registration are increasingly important for (cleaning) companies within the European Union. Since 2019, all companies within the EU must provide a system for employees to register their working hours. We have more and more customers in Belgium, have grown strongly in the Netherlands in 2023 and are looking at opportunities in Spain. We are also noticing that specific sectors have increasingly higher requirements for time and attendance registration. For example, we grew strongly in the healthcare, education and food processing industries.
Have any major milestones been achieved in terms of innovation or technological advances within CleanJack in the past year?
In 2023, we made great strides in the further development of CleanJack. As a specialist in automation within the industry, we continue to improve. We collect feedback from customers and keep developing continuously. We launched a new planning module that allows cleaning companies to make their schedules even faster and easier. The system provides a flawless overview of available hours, contract hours and budget hours. This allows cleaning companies to properly monitor the return per location and make optimal use of the available hours. Digital hour registration significantly simplifies the process of payroll. Our new App for professional cleaners, launched during the Schoonmaakvakdagen (Cleaning Trade Days) in Houten, offers all relevant information at hand.
Are there any new collaborations or partnerships that emerged in 2023?
In 2023, we started a partnership with Loket.nl, the largest payroll processor in the SME sector in the Netherlands. More and more cleaning companies are choosing Loket.nl’s modern software for payroll administration. The dynamic link between Loket.nl and CleanJack offers many advantages for cleaning companies. Hours are scheduled and automatically registered in CleanJack, including the sickness and leave administration. The input for payroll is calculated according to the cleaning CLA in CleanJack and appears automatically in Loket.nl.
Furthermore, we have set up links with Exact and HR & Salarisgemak. We work together with facility contract manager GRIP Facility with large clients and have a partnership in the education sector with the Education Purchasing Group.
Looking back on 2023, we certainly haven’t been idle. 2024 promises to be at least as inspiring a year! Keep a close eye on our social media and newsletters, because there is much more to come.