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February 2013 Raising Standards

The Facilities Management Connection

Instead of being autonomous, facilities management departments have huge influences on entire organizations and companies.

February 12, 2013
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Historically, cleaning has been viewed by facilities managers and building owners as a cost center, accounting for an average of 30 to 40 percent of the facilities budget.

Consequently, decisions about cleaning expenditures have been one-dimensional and focused on the amount spent to clean the facility.

Not only is cleaning the largest component of the facilities budget, but it is also the most visible piece of the management function — and, it has an impact on occupant health and hygiene.

The Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS)Cleaning managers must recognize this idea and acknowledge the facilities manager’s point of view in order to help everyone understand that cleaning has economic benefits, and that a modest investment in cleaning actually improves the bottom line.

Moreover, cleaning organizations that follow a quality management framework, such as ISSA’s Cleaning Management Standard (CIMS), send a message to facilities managers that the organization is a well-managed, dependable entity focused on professionalism and a commitment to excellence.

The Standard’s principles actually align with management principles, which helps facilities managers see the value of cleaning and make better decisions regarding cleaning.

Facilities Management Trends

In 2011, the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA) released a research report titled, “Facility Management Forecast — Exploring the Current Trends and Future Outlook for Facility Management.”

The report identifies several trends and issues that will influence facilities management in the future.

The principles of CIMS address many of these topics, positioning cleaning managers to be a part of the solution facilities managers are seeking, especially when it comes to improving productivity, reducing overall costs and enhancing the image of the organization.

Some internally-driven trends include:

  • Analyzing data

The increasing quantity and complexity of data available to facilities managers through new reporting protocols poses challenges and opportunities for the profession.

More cleaning and maintenance departments have added the ability to convert raw data into usable and meaningful information that fosters informed decision making.

The CIMS connection: CIMS requires cleaning organizations to gather and have available various valuable data as outlined in its quality management and service delivery principles — workloading numbers, budgets, costing data, industry benchmarks, etc.

Facilities managers will be seeking that data and cleaning organizations following the Standard will be able to provide it.

  • Recruiting staffs

Finding top talent in facilities management is gaining greater importance.

Recognizing that facility management is often not the first choice of today’s new graduates, the profession will need to increase its branding and outreach.

The CIMS connection: The Standard’s human resources principle focuses on efficiently and effectively managing human capital in a way that enhances organizational performance.

This includes written plans for recruitment, selection and retention as well as a plan for management training.

  • Increasing value

There is a growing desire to elevate facilities management operations to improve the recognition and perceived value of the profession within the corporate hierarchy.

Many have achieved success in this arena through careful alignment with their organization’s mission and by emphasizing facilities professionals’ role as managers of significant assets and enablers of the organization’s mission, vision and values.

The CIMS connection: CIMS certification provides cleaning organizations with third-party validation that the organization is a well-managed, quality-driven cleaning operation.

The certification helps elevate and enhance the professionalism of the cleaning organization within the facilities management function.

Some organizationally-driven trends include:

  • Expanding expectations

Increasingly, organizations are expanding their expectations of facilities management to include both technical and business acumen, which drives the need for an evolving skillset for those in the profession.

While the technical aspects are generally well understood, the increased focus on business wisdom will require facilities professionals to think and act strategically and to communicate their positions in the language of the C-suite.

The CIMS connection: CIMS helps ensure facilities managers have the cleaning operations data needed to help present to executives looking for numbers and impacts on the bottom line.

Workloading and budgeting data required by the service delivery principle, along with results from surveys and inspections as covered in the quality management principle, will help illustrate the outcomes of changes in labor numbers and cleaning frequencies.

  • Promoting wellbeing

There is a growing recognition that facilities management contributes to the health and wellbeing of building occupants, thereby benefiting efficiency, productivity and profitability — key pillars of an organization’s bottom line.

The CIMS connection: The health, safety and environmental stewardship principle ensures quality cleaning and maintenance services are safe, healthy and sustainable; they also positively impact the built environment.

Proper cleaning procedures and frequencies also outlined in the Standard reduce the spread of infection and help decrease worker absenteeism due to illness.

The Cleaning Industry Management Standard for Green Buildings(CIMS-GB)An externally-driven trend:

  • Operating sustainably

Sustainability continues to grow in importance and prominence worldwide.

Organizations have begun to incorporate it into business goals and culture and, within the profession, it has moved from an emphasis primarily for new construction to also influencing existing building operations.

The CIMS connection: To help meet the growing demand for green cleaning and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), CIMS includes green building (GB) criteria and an optional GB designation.

The CIMS-GB criteria are closely tailored to provide facilities managers with what they need to secure points under the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (LEED-EBOM) rating system while greening their operations overall.

Cleaning Has Value

These are just some examples of trends in facilities management and what managers will be looking for from cleaning organizations.

The most successful cleaning professionals will be those that proactively meet the challenges posed by these trends and lead the way for their organizations and the profession by demonstrating that cleaning is not a cost center, but rather a value center.

Speaking of the value of cleaning, ISSA recently published its “Value of Clean” white paper and calculator for member companies.

The purpose of this ISSA white paper is to provide insights to facilities decision makers in a way that enables them to fully understand, evaluate and justify their investments in cleaning in ways they currently may not be considering.

The calculator helps customers calculate savings in the areas covered by the white paper, and a PowerPoint slide deck is available to include in presentations members may want to make to upper management regarding the points covered in the paper.

To learn more, visit

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