Meet the GBPAP18’s outstanding PTC showcases: Stomerij Van Kan (Netherlands)

For the coming period, we will present you week by week, the most outstanding PTC showcases that were officially nominated for The Global Best Practices Awards Program 2018. The profiles of these companies are also present in the WOPCOM platform, which you can access here.

Stomerij Van Kan (Netherlands)

More than a century of quality

If you look up the word “dry cleaner” in a Dutch dictionary, the definition might just as well come with a picture of Stomerij Van Kan in Leidschendam, in the region of The Hague in the Netherlands. The foundations for today’s operation were laid all the way back in 1916, when Kees van Kan set up a laundry service. With a classic T-Ford, his company would pick up and deliver laundry for people in the region.

After a change of locations in 1968 (52 years later!), Bert van Kan took over from his father and expanded the business by adding a dry cleaning operation, as he saw an increasing demand for dry cleaning services in the region at the time. Twenty years later, in 1988, the business was handed over to Bert’s son Ron van Kan, who has since then been focusing on turning Stomerij Van Kan into a very environmentally and socially responsible operation.

In addition, a cousin of the Van Kan family has recently joined the company. His interest in the textile care business had led him to spend a couple of years under the guidance of Stomerij Van Kan’s experienced professionals. Once he’s familiar with all the ins and outs of the industry, and the business itself, he will be taking over the company. By taking their time to groom the fourth (!) generation of Van Kans to take over the business in the future, the current management is allowing a refreshing wind to blow through the existing operation.

In recent years, Van Kan’s strategy has led to several prestigious prizes, titles, and mentions. In October 2014, for example, the company won the Award of Excellence for Best Practices Textile Cleaning 2014 during a CINET fair in Milano, Italy. A year later, Stomerij Van Kan was chosen as Best Dry Cleaner in the Netherlands during the NETEX Annual Marketing Awards. On top of that, the family company celebrated its 100th anniversary in January of 2016, an occasion that was accompanied by being awarded the official title of Purveyor to the Royal Household. Stomerij Van Kan is the first dry cleaner to obtain this title in the Netherlands.

Stomerij Van Kan: Purveyor to the Royal Household

A great product at an affordable price

After more than a century in the textile cleaning business, Stomerij Van Kan is still a family-owned company. Over the decades, many things have changed at the Van Kan, from the location of the store to the management as new generations took over from the previous ones, but at least one company has remained unchanged during all that time: Founder Kees van Kan’s policy to offer a great product at an affordable price.

At Van Kan, the price to quality ratio is essential to the services offered by the company. Put simply, when a customer brings in his or her laundry for dry cleaning, he or she expects to get it back clean and nicely finished, and that’s exactly what Stomerij Van Kan strives for. The company usually tries to take it a step further with each customer by taking any potential personal preferences in regard to the garments or textile items in question. By actively involving the customer before, during, and after the cleaning process, Van Kan has been able to count on high customer satisfaction ratings for years. This is also why the firm recently invested in a brand-new computer system that helps managing each customer’s specific wishes to the tiniest detail and to keep them informed of the cleaning process.

At the vanguard of corporate social responsibility

When it comes to a socially responsible way of operating, Stomerij Van Kan is a frontrunner in the Dutch textile care industry and it has been for decades. In 2016, for example, when the company received the title of Royal Purveyor, owner Ron van Kan organised a collection event to raise money for a project by the World Wildlife Fund to protect forests all over the world, and in the Amazon in particular.

Van Kan’s social conscious dates back to much earlier, though. In 1994, for example, a national project was set up in the Netherlands to study waste prevention methods. Stomerij Van Kan was the only dry cleaner in the country to participate in the project in order to find out in which ways the textile cleaning industry can contribute to a better future for everyone. As a result, the organising institution nominated the company for the Milieuprijs 1994, an award for excellence in the area of environmental responsibility in the region of The Hague.

Stomerij Van Kan has also received several meaningful and prestigious certificates in regard to corporate social responsibility over the years. They obtained the NETEX quality guarantee certificate, as well as the NETEX environment certificate. Last year, the company was also the first dry cleaning operation in the world to receive the Cerclean certificate. This is an internationally acknowledged recognition of best practices in the areas of textile cleaning, environmental regulation, and ISO 9001.

Stomerij Van Kan: the world’s first dry cleaner to obtain the CerClean certificate

Thinking outside of the box since 1916

By starting a laundry service back in 1916, company founder Kees van Kan recognised a need in his community that wasn’t being met appropriately and acted he found a way to improve that situation for everyone. In other words, creative solutions and innovation are in the company’s DNA. Nowadays, for example, Stomerij Van Kan has its own mobile app to make interaction with the company a lot more convenient for its customers.

To further increase the customer experience when working with Van Kan, the company has agreements with several fashion outlets in the region to function as a drop-off and delivery point. On top of that, the stores in question will provide the customers with cleaning tips for specific textile items to improve the overall service experience.

Stomerij Van Kan has also recognised the changing needs in terms of textile cleaning for the elderly in their region. As less and less money is made available to them for the hiring of a cleaning help, more and more of those cleaning tasks are outsourced. In order to make life a bit more convenient for these people, Van Kan has set up three so-called “Ontzorgpunten”. These are spots that the company has set up at three neighbourhood centres where people and care professionals working at the centres in question can go to have their textile cleaned. This way, they don’t need to come to the store in order to enjoy Stomerij Van Kan’s outstanding service.