Clean clothing 'on demand'
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Clean clothing 'on demand'

  • 12 October 2020
  • Door: Esther van der Lelie

Hand in uniforms worn 24/7 and collect clean garments. Automated, easy and cost effective. An ideal situation for any company where uniforms are worn. Polymark takes care of it from A to Z.

An automated uniform system relieves companies of a lot of work. It saves space, personnel and clothing costs. It works easily and is accessible. What's more, every piece of clothing is always traceable. Ronald van Vliet, operational manager at Polymark B.V. in Nieuwegein, knows all the important facts about washing, steaming, finishing and managing clothing. He has been working for the dealer company for 28 years and has experienced the developments from transport machine to professional uniform management systems.

From production to dealer company

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Sijmons family started a machine factory in the Jordaan district of Amsterdam. Here they made cleaning, confection and transport machines. In 1986, Mr Sijmons took over Polymark Nederland and transferred the machine trade to the company. The company moved to Nieuwegein, stopped making its own machines and chose to continue as a dealer. This turnaround was possible because the company could start working with top brands. As the grandfather of current owner Frans Sijmons said at the time about the business change: 'we don't make machines anymore. We do sell, maintain, repair and overhaul them. We know exactly what we are doing, we used to make those machines ourselves. They were top products. We won't stop our own production until we have the best brand in the world'. And we have succeeded.

Top brand in uniform systems

"In order to meet the growing demand from the laundry and dry-cleaning world for clothing management systems, we entered into a partnership with Metalprogetti," says Ronald. "A leading Italian manufacturer of automated cloakroom systems with logistics software and conveyors, which can be used wherever uniformity is required. Other organisations soon followed as interested customers: hotels, private organisations, hospitals and food companies such as production and food processing companies, supermarkets, butchers and bakeries. This is logical", the connoisseur continues, driven and enthusiastic. "It brings them so many benefits! "

Advantages of automation

Ronald clarifies the benefits one by one. "With our uniform system you save on costs. By saving space, one separated space is needed, without paths, the conveyors hang at several heights". According to Ronald, many companies still work with personal lockers for employees, in which everyone keeps their own clothing. "The uniform system is actually one central locker from which you can collect clothing 24/7. It's also more hygienic because the garments hang in a secluded area. The cost of clothing can be reduced by around 30%. The system selects a customised control mechanism for use instead of a name. Savings on personnel costs are also possible. Manual handling stops, the system takes over the work. Only one employee is needed to hang the clothes. Finally, I would like to mention traceability. Every piece of clothing is given a chip or permanent barcode. No more garments are lost. This gives peace of mind and an overview. The process is fully traceable from handing in, laundry, issuing, wearing and returning. In this way, companies meet the requirements of, for example, 'foodsafety' certifications.

Customer experiences

Ronald laughs when he talks about the first reaction of companies that are going to work with the system: 'how complicated is this'. An understandable reaction, since new automation always has a period of getting used to and a lot of data has to be knocked in. Think of personnel names and sizes, data on in and out of service, setting shifts and specific company characteristics. "After this introduction period, there is always a second reaction: 'we can't do without'. Then the company experiences the great added value. The total control of the clothing package, control and security. You can determine the arc of clothing perfectly. There is a walking route, everyone takes the clothing from the same system, even if it is a different type of clothing for each person. A sorting report is made immediately upon handover".

Service to rely on

"It is nice to be able to help companies with their clothing issues". Ronald's eyes shine when he talks about his work. "Traditionally, we know exactly how the systems work and we have grown along with automation over the years. We work with the best system worldwide: professional, solid and reliable. This enables us to provide our expert service". Polymark takes the work completely out of the hands of companies that want to purchase a uniform system. If desired in combination with washing. After making an inventory of wishes and taking a look at the room, the team starts signing in, making appointments with the clothing supplier, setting up and instructing. "We are only satisfied when the process has been set up and works from start to finish at our client's premises. A matter of trust."

Photos: © Herbert Wiggerman

Source: Vakblad Voedingsindustrie 2020