The clothing worn by two hundred workers at the Grolsch brewery includes jackets and trousers made of polyester-cotton fabric from the TenCate Tecawork™ collection, a material that meets the requirements set by Grolsch. The clothing had to be attractive to the eye, of good quality, and in the Grolsch corporate colour of bottle-green.
The wearers of the new clothing work at Grolsch in Enschede and at the facilities of its full subsidiary De Klok. The Enschede departments concerned, such as haulage (draught-beer drivers), the catering tap technical service, the events department and the warehouse, have not only a support function but also an external profile.
The whole clothing process was launched in 2005. ‘We weren’t satisfied with the existing clothing,’ explains Erik Bakker (manager Grolsch Personnel & Organization), ‘It was dated and of poor quality.’ Demands made regarding the new clothing related to wearer comfort (during all four seasons), wear resistance, safety and appearance. Anyone who receives 40 to 50 thousand visitors a year is keen to see that the various departments project a well-defined corporate image in terms of clothing. So the clothing design had to be the same for the different departments, including the number of pockets and other knickknacks. ‘We wanted to reduce the number of items, which meant a more all-purpose set of clothes with few specifications. Naturally, it was quite a while before everyone was on the same wavelength.’ In addition, Grolsch wanted standardized clothing that was readily available on demand, so that repeat orders for clothing for new workers or replacement purposes could be easily arranged.
The project was put out to tender. Three clothing suppliers were selected, stylists were hired, mood boards created and a set of clothes compiled. Furthermore, materials were examined and wearer trials were carried out. Erik Bakker and his project team had the Grolsch executive board looking over their shoulders to ensure that the clothing would project the desired corporate image. Clothing supplier Crown East, which had already kitted out De Klok once before, emerged the winner and secured the tender. The company is a good customer of TenCate Protective Fabrics.
The clothing for each worker consists of three pairs of trousers, a multifunctional jacket, three sweaters, five sports shirts and five shirts - all to be supplied through Crown East. Jan Dijkstra (account manager TenCate) was contacted regarding the jackets and trousers, and the choice fell on a 310 g/m2 polyester-cotton fabric from the TenCate Tecawork™ collection in the Grolsch trademark colour of bottle-green. Bottle-green has traditionally been used in the brewery sector, along with hygienic-looking white. However, distinction was made between De Klok (seven locations) and Grolsch when it came to accent colours, with Grolsch opting for lime as its contrast colour and De Klok red. ‘Lime green is a good seller,’ says Jan Dijkstra. ‘You can see this colour becoming a trend in workwear.’
Dick Gesthuizen (sales manager) and Rob Wijnhoven (sales & marketing director) explain that Crown East has a factory in Tunisia. Production is immediately started when stocks reach a minimum level. Items of clothing are despatched to the Netherlands once a week. The jackets and trousers are expected to last two to three years; the shirts, sports shirts and sweaters not quite so long because they are changed more frequently.
The new clothing has already been worn for quite some time and has proved itself in practice. According to Erik Bakker, the colour scheme gives it a fresh and cheerful look. ‘We’re very satisfied with it and the employees are happy to wear it. That’s a good sign. They’re proud of the product and of the company. We’re all Grolsch ambassadors and that’s why comfort and the look of the clothing are so important.’
For Crown East and TenCate, supplying Grolsch and De Klok is not only ‘nice to do’, it is also a good reference. Grolsch is known for the slogan ‘Craftsmanship is Mastership’ and is consequently very careful in selecting its suppliers. ‘They assess the expert knowledge and whether they operate effectively,’ says Erik Bakker. ‘We have short lines with these partners, so they can react quickly.’ What’s more, Crown East and TenCate Protective Fabrics more frequently sit together around the same table with the end-user. ‘Efficient handling of such an order for Grolsch, along with the provision of aftercare, oils the wheels of discussion.’
Like Ten Cate, Grolsch is a royal enterprise with an imposing history. The brewery was founded in 1615 in Groenlo, and the core of its commercial activities lies in the Netherlands. Grolsch brews exclusively beer and focuses on the premium segment of the market. The company is known for the slogan ‘Vakmanschap is Meesterschap’ (Craftsmanship is Mastership) and of course for its unique gurdle bottle with swing-top cap. Grolsch is a subsidiary of SABMiller plc.
Erik Bakker, Jan Dijkstra, Dick Gesthuizen, Gerard Lohuis and Rob Wijnhoven