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VSR - a platform for cleaning28th of April 2014
Nico Lemmens of ISS Facility Services in the Netherlands reports on independent body VSR.
Vereniging Schoonmaak Research VSR (Association for Cleaning Research) is an independent Dutch platform for all parties directly or indirectly involved in contract cleaning: cleaning companies, clients, ‘in-house’ cleaning service firms, consultants and suppliers of cleaning solutions, materials and machines.
VSR’s goal is to raise the professional level of the cleaning industry by doing and commissioning research, and through training and education. VSR’s vision is that effective cleaning maintenance not only contributes to the preservation and general maintenance of buildings and sites. It also improves the working environment and hence the well-being of personnel, both with the client and the contractor.
Providing an adequate definition of ‘cleanliness’ is less obvious than it may seem. Contractors, clients, ‘in-house’ cleaning services, suppliers and consultants may have very different views on the notion of cleanliness.
Moreover, not only a site’s maintenance condition is important, but also the type of building. For example, the required cleaning standard in a hospital environment will be different from the standard required in an office building. Professional cleaning requires professional knowledge.
To further develop this knowledge the Vereniging Schoonmaak Research VSR was founded in 1979. For all parties involved in the cleaning sector, VSR offers a unique platform to confer, to initiate or to commission research. VSR has made a major contribution to the quality management of cleaning services by developing sophisticated systems for final inspection QMS (Quality Measuring System), for process control DCS (Daily Checking System) as well as a Customer Satisfaction Benchmark. QMS fits seamlessly into the European standard EN 13549.
Software is available for the automated processing of QMS measurements. In various fields VSR commissions research of which its member organisations, companies and institutions take advantage. Research on cleaning in different types of buildings and sites like offices, hospitals and schools is the basis for the development of sector-specific, tailor-made quality measuring systems.
Market research on the buying and tendering behaviour of clients provides insight into the way they purchase cleaning services and make use of cleaning companies. Structural engineering research shows the relationship between a building’s construction and its interior, and its cost
Further research is done on the effectiveness of various cleaning methods, solutions and equipment, as well as on the influence of dust on human health. In its technical research VSR often co-operates with the Dutch Institute for Cleaning Technology TNO. In other areas VSR co-operates with a variety of independent research institutes and universities. Usually, associated VSR members are involved in this research.
In co-operation with SVS (Foundation for Training and Education in the Cleaning Industry) VSR has developed various training programmes based on its quality measuring system.
The professional level of cleaning services in the Netherlands is high. VSR’s contribution to this level has been and continues to be substantial. In no other European country an organisation similar to VSR can be found.