Etex opted for an external cleaning partner for the first time with Cleaning Masters:

“We’ve made the ‘change story’ come true.”

Stijn Van Hoof - facility manager bij Etex

Making the switch from an in-house cleaning team to an external partner is a significant change. A big leap. But not a leap not worth taking, as Stijn Van Hoof, Facility Manager at Etex, finds out. Before the arrival of Cleaning Masters, Etex had never worked with an external cleaning partner. “We didn’t find it easy, and they knew that. They showed a lot of patience.”

Total offering of construction solutions

The origin of Etex? We find it in Kapelle-op-den-Bos, where the fiber cement factory Eternit was founded in 1905. Currently, we speak of Etex, and the company has evolved enormously. “A lot of new departments have been added,” says Stijn Van Hoof, Facility Manager at Etex. “As a result, we now speak not only of fiber cement boards, but of a total offering of construction solutions ranging from lightweight and modular constructions. From cladding, facade, roof, and terrace applications to high-quality fire protection and insulation for construction and OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) applications.”

Stijn Van Hoof (Facility manager Etex)

Although the heart of Etex lies in Kapelle-op-den-Bos, the company has become a major player in Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia over the years. “We employ a total of 13,500 people at 160 sites in 45 countries. Additionally, we have 5 innovation centers where we continue to invest in training and education. This allows us to continue growing in the market.”

Daring to change

At Etex, there is a real sense of family. “You can feel the harmony, camaraderie, and friendship from the moment you step foot here,” says Stijn. “No matter what role you have within the organization, everyone greets you in the same warm way every day. But that also makes it difficult to allow an external partner into such a close-knit team. To really dare to make a change.”

Cleaning Masters helped us make that ‘change story’ come true and showed a lot of patience in doing so. We didn’t find it easy, and they knew that. Precisely to make that change possible in a very traditional environment. One of the cleaning candidates proposed by Cleaning Masters wore a headscarf. In an inclusive organization, this is obvious, but in an environment where you’re making the switch from very traditional to very inclusive, it’s not always easy. Cleaning Masters really helped us here, to make the transition in that search.”

A smooth switch

Before the arrival of Cleaning Masters, Etex worked with its own internal cleaning team. “But it was very difficult for our cleaning coordinator to manage everything. We had a problem with quality control, operations, and budget. We systematically tried to make the switch to an external partner. And that worked out well.”

“I feel like we’re collaborating with a partner who truly understands us.”

“Cleaning Masters provides the right training, the latest products and techniques, and ensures that every role is filled every day. Budget monitoring is also very straightforward. There is an annual amount per building, so we know exactly what the cleaning costs are per building, per year. To ensure quality, a monthly quality control is carried out to make sure that the desired quality is achieved. If there are areas for improvement, we know what actions Cleaning Masters will take to still achieve the desired quality level.”

Under scrutiny

“We are very satisfied with the guidance provided during the start-up,” continues Stijn. “Cleaning Masters moved heaven and earth to do a lot of work during the Christmas holidays. We appreciate that we were served flawlessly and optimally to start everything in the new year. We had never worked with an external facility partner before. Cleaning Masters was under a magnifying glass during the first months. To then succeed so convincingly is extra positive.”

Initially, Etex entrusted 1 building entirely to Cleaning Masters. Now there are 8. “And that in just a few months. So, many cleaners were added. Cleaning Masters managed to find the right people in that short period of time. The supervision of the cleaners by the inspection also went very smoothly. The inspection was very present in the first months and ensured that everyone knew their way immediately, wore the correct PPE, received the correct toolbox training, … Cleaning Masters really anticipated this situation well.”

Stijn Van Hoof - Facility Manager - témoignage Etex

“Cleaning Masters was under a magnifying glass during the first months. To then succeed so convincingly is extra positive.”

Chantal De Herdt (Multi Masters Group) - Stijn Van Hoof (Etex) - témoignage Etex

Not just any partner

For Stijn, it was important to find a partner he could truly rely on. “We consciously weren’t looking for the cheapest ‘one-shotter’. The values and norms within Etex are connect and care: taking care of each other and finding harmony in the organization. We radiate that feeling towards our partners and also look for it in our partners.”

“The cleaning masters working at Etex are really part of the team. Whether they wear a Cleaning Masters or Etex cap, it’s ‘one happy family’, we speak the same language. They are also proud to walk around here, they enjoy their job, and they respect each other.”

A long-term partnership

With the ‘Road to Sustainability 2030’, Etex is aiming for a better, sustainable future. “We have many ecological objectives, but sustainability is more than just ecological,” says Stijn. “It’s also about how safely we can do something. How sustainable, but in terms of how long we can sustain something. How healthy a process is. That’s how we also view our partnerships with external companies.”

With Cleaning Masters, Stijn found a partner he can build on sustainably. “A very nice, close collaboration has emerged between the internal cleaning responsible and that of Cleaning Masters. I feel like we’re collaborating with a partner who truly understands us.”

Open communication culture

“I would describe Cleaning Masters as flexible, professional, fair, and people-oriented. I’ll take our internal smoking policy as an example. There is a no-smoking policy here at Etex. The Cleaning Masters inspector is quick to act to actively solve any potential problems. If a certain cleaning master does smoke, Nancy – even at 6 a.m. – comes on-site to address the cleaner. She talks to the person in question and also immediately gives them a warning. The open communication culture within Cleaning Masters certainly pays off in this way.” 

About Etex

  • Established in 1905 as a fiber cement factory and evolved into a total provider of construction solutions.
  • Operating worldwide in 45 countries across Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
  • Site in Kapelle-op-den-Bos serving as the heart of operations in Belgium with 1,200 employees.
  • Collaboration with Cleaning Masters for regular cleaning and window washing.

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