Read the story of our founder – Antonio Kouwenberg
From home I have always been told that in addition to studying, you should also learn to work, in order to simply roll up your sleeves. That is why I started my first job at the age of 14 as a brochure boy at Klien BV cleaning company.
From that moment on I started to grow in my father’s company and I had various jobs, resp. cleaner, administration and project manager.
Over time, I noticed that due to the growth of Klien, a lot of time was lost to the daily hectic and (extensive) administration. More and more employees were needed in the office to get everything arranged. The company’s information was not centrally organized and people were too dependent on each other’s memory. I thought this could be different, the processes from 1974 had to be automated, we had to innovate.
Within Klien we had a technician in our midst who arranged all ICT-related issues for us. In addition, he is also extremely good at programming apps, websites, systems and so on. This gave us the idea to develop our own system for Klien, a system that would overcome all problems and actions. As a result, no information would run out, the administrative burden would be relieved and the company would run from one central point, one collective remembrance.
I then started devising a system together with my father, the office staff and our technician. What do we all need, where do we start and what do we want to achieve?
In the end we decided to start with a planning system, linking it to the hours administration, salaries and invoicing. A simple basis to add and expand everything we needed from there. For every problem we encountered, we made a protocol, consulted with our technician and looked at the possibilities.
In this way, our system continued to grow and became a serious part of our company. As a result, we noticed that the administrative pressure decreased considerably, the daily hectic was increasingly overcome, we needed fewer people in the office and the peace and quiet increased.
Because (partly due to our system) Klien grew considerably and programming is very expensive, we also started looking at other software systems for the cleaning industry. Which ones would there be and what do they have to offer?
We soon came across a number of software suppliers and started doing further research. To our great surprise, these systems were not (much) more extensive than ours, but they were extremely expensive, cumbersome and far from complete. The costs would also increase considerably if you wanted an extra module, which we simply had in-house. Hell no! we thought. This then stimulated us even more to further develop the system and make it a complete whole.
By the end of 2019 it had grown into a full an complete system. In the meantime, we had regularly received compliments from other cleaning companies and asked if they could use our system.
The entrepreneurial blood in me started to bubble and we decided to prepare our ERP system to bring it to market. Because of our experiences with the existing software suppliers, we wanted to offer a complete all-in-one software package at an affordable price, so that the small cleaning entrepreneur also had the opportunity to innovate. We wanted to lift the entire cleaning industry to a higher level with our system. With this Klien-IT-Systems BV was born.
Marketing, however, still required an enormous amount of work. Because we had been developing this system since 2015, the complete system had to be converted to another frame. It had to be given a more modern look and be able to support a customer base for the system. We also started developing an additional app. We started this at the beginning of 2020.
Since the development of the system was mainly digital and we were still in the infancy at the beginning of 2020 with the start-up of our new company, Klien-IT-Systems BV, fortunately the arrival of Covid-19 had little effect on the developments.
With our system we were actually one step ahead of Corona. Cleaning company Klien BV was already fully digital, so everyone in the office could work directly from home without any problem and our 85 cleaners could continue to follow all processes (planning etc.) digitally. We had clearly started digitizing and innovating on time.
We also saw the arrival of Covid-19 as an extra opportunity to help other cleaning companies in their innovation and digitization. Certainly in times of a lockdown, when everything comes to a standstill and you see the turnover taking back, an affordable alternative to a complete software package that also saves costs is always welcome.
From January 1, 2021, our website has gone online and we are now welcoming our first customers.