Quality management principles are the cornerstone of any successful cleaning organization.
So, when cleaning organizations choose a standard around which to build their management framework, they need to choose wisely to ensure the standard is the best fit for their organization.
ISSA's Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) and ISO 9001 from the International Organization of Standardization are two quality management standards often considered.
These standards have similarities in that they are based on like principles — effective management, a process and systems approach and a commitment to continuous improvement.
However, there are significant differences between the two standards.
These differences must be considered by both cleaning organizations and end user customers who hire cleaning organizations, and the standard chosen should be the best fit for all parties.
Consider five important criteria when choosing a standard: Relevance, standard development, principles, certification and process and cost.
Is the standard specific to my industry?
CIMS was developed specifically for the cleaning industry, addressing issues and challenges unique to the cleaning industry.
ISO 9001 applies to a range of industries and does not include any content specific to the cleaning industry.
Based on the British Standards Institution and U.S. Department of Defense organizations, ISO is considered most suited for manufacturing organizations.
2. Standard development
How was the standard developed?
CIMS was developed through a consensus-based process with input from industry stakeholders such as facilities management, cleaners and purchasing professionals.
More than 100,000 constituents were involved in the development process, which included transparent committee involvement and full peer review.
ISO 9001 also was developed through a consensus-based process and relies on standing technical committees to ensure relevance.
However, no cleaning or facilities management professionals are specifically included in the process to address issues specific to the cleaning industry.
What type of management framework does the standard provide?
CIMS is structured around five management principles — quality systems; service delivery; human resources; health, safety and environmental stewardship; and management commitment — which outline the requirements for a quality, customer-focused cleaning organization.
The details within these principles provide a framework for the management of a successful cleaning organization.
A sixth principle, green buildings, details the criteria for the development and execution of an environmentally preferable cleaning program.
ISO 9001 is built on general, process-based management and quality principles that can be applied to organizations in a variety of industries and markets.
The standard does not include criteria specific to the cleaning industry or to green cleaning.
4. Certification and process
Does the standard offer certification and what is the process for compliance?
The CIMS certification process includes an assessment performed by an accredited third-party company or individual.
The assessor reviews documents, interviews management, staffs and customers and performs an onsite observation.
The assessment process is administered jointly by ISSA and the American Institute for Cleaning Sciences (AICS).
Organizations applying for ISO 9001 certification must undergo an audit performed by a private, for-profit certification body, a process that includes consulting and an onsite assessment.
ISO issues standards on the certification process, but such standards are defined as "voluntary criteria."
How much does it cost to apply for certification?
The cost for CIMS certification ranges from approximately $5,000 for smaller organizations up to approximately $10,000 for larger organizations, plus assessor fees, and the certification is valid for 30 months.
ISO certification fees range from $7,000 for smaller organizations up to $45,000 or more for larger organizations.
When it comes to choosing the right quality management standard, cleaning organizations need to ask the following question: "Which standard is a better fit: The general standard or the one specific to my industry; do we choose the standard that was developed by general technical committees or stakeholders in my industry and how much is my organization willing to pay for certification?"