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Management And Training

Tracking Trends

February 01, 2011
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The cleaning management landscape continues to change and shift, bringing new challenges to cleaning managers.

Already strapped for time, human capital and dollars, managers are currently tackling the trials of keeping up with five major management trends: Outsourcing, sophistication, cost management, validation and sustainability.

While these trends have many positive impacts on the growth and advancement of the cleaning industry, they place pressure on managers who aren''t prepared to address them.

This is where ISSA''s Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) comes into play.

CIMS helps prepare organizations for change, whether it''s driven by an industry trend or an organizational shift, by providing organizations with a management foundation built on five key principles: Quality systems; service delivery; human resources; health, safety and environmental stewardship and management commitment.

Outsourcing non-traditional facilities

Outsourcing is often considered as a cost-cutting measure.

Recognizing that cleaning can account for as much as 20 percent to 30 percent of operations costs, cash-strapped organizations see outsourcing their cleaning service as an opportunity to significantly cut costs.

Some organizations also use an outsourced cleaning operation to gain capabilities that they don''t have in-house or to strengthen capabilities they do have.

Either way, the number of facilities outsourcing cleaning is at an all-time high.

Whether managers are trying to fight the move to an outsourced operation or looking to take advantage of the trend, they must first do their homework.

With CIMS, managers are required to know all there is to know about workloading and management best practices — they can use this information to quickly build a case against outsourced cleaning or underscore the benefits of a contract cleaning operation.

Increasing level of business sophistication

Building occupants and cleaning customers in general expect a high level of professionalism and performance from their cleaning service provider.

They will no longer stand for lackluster results; instead, they file complaints and even drive the trend towards outsourced cleaning.

CIMS certification provides in-house managers and building service contractors (BSCs) with a valuable marketing tool to demonstrate their commitment to delivering quality services and achieving customer satisfaction.

Certified organizations have proof of improved efficiency and quality with third-party validation.

Managing all costs related to business

Focused on cost cutting now more than ever, managers must work to control all costs associated with managing a cleaning operation, including costs tied to worker''s compensation claims, insurance and government regulations.

They also must control the costs of errors and rework, all of which must be monitored and measured.

CIMS requires certified organizations to document all costs, prepare a cleaning budget and ensure work is completed within workloading, budgeting and costing parameters.

Organizations also should have a plan of action for making any necessary budgetary corrections.

Standards, certifications and validation

Building managers and organizational leaders have come to expect their cleaning service provider to follow industry management standards.

Some organizations even require in their specs that their cleaning operation be certified by CIMS or at least follow Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) housekeeping criteria.

Organizations certified by CIMS and CIMS-Green Building (GB) already are recognized by a third party as meeting an industry-approved standard.

Sustainable cleaning policies

The cleaning industry is still full of confusion over what is considered sustainable cleaning and every organization seems to have its own definition of what is green or sustainable.

By following CIMS-GB, cleaning managers and their customers cut through the hype and get down to vetted and approved green cleaning criteria that once and for all defines sustainable cleaning.

Organizations certified under CIMS-GB do not need to try to prove the reasons why their cleaning operations are sustainable — the certification already does that for them.

Using CIMS as a guide, cleaning managers develop best practices and an organizational master plan, validate performance and quality and operate more efficiently — readying their organizations to take on any of today''s industry trends and come out on top.


Dave Frank is a 30-year industry veteran and the president of the American Institute for Cleaning Sciences. AICS is the registrar for ISSA''s Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) certification program.

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