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Management And Training

Achieving Excellence

February 01, 2011
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When it comes to delivering facility service, ARAMARK''s Sports & Entertainment (S&E) division focuses on one major goal every day: To provide world-class experiences, environments and outcomes for its clients and customers.

This is true in every facility and is a goal shared among all facility services staff, regardless of whether they are responsible for maintaining a convention center, cultural attraction, sports and entertainment venue, amphitheater, park and resort, racetrack or other attraction.

Ensuring that such a lofty goal is met at all locations and facility types requires a standard framework that defines quality service for the organization and its customer.

Further, success depends on making sure that the framework is capable of fostering effective and consistent results.

ARAMARK S&E found just such a framework in ISSA''s Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) and CIMS-Green Building (CIMS-GB) program.

Taking On The CIMS-GB Challenge

CIMS-GB was first introduced to ARAMARK S&E leadership by Katy Severinsen, director of facility operations.

Severinsen recognized a need within the organization to standardize facility services operations and immediately saw a solution in CIMS-GB.

"Katy and I reviewed the CIMS pillars and steps together and talked through them," says Jack O''Brien, ARAMARK president of convention centers and S&E support services. "CIMS really resonated with me because it applies to facilities services as a business, not just sports and entertainment. It provides a standard platform to achieve excellence and recognition and allows for a consistent level of service across all locations."

Although O''Brien, Severinsen and ARAMARK S&E''s two other regional facility directors were excited about the Standard and its benefits, they knew that ARAMARK S&E had never taken on a project as challenging as CIMS-GB certification.

"The process is very demanding and very time-consuming and I have to give the facility directors all the credit," O''Brien says. "They spent time together and worked with the management team to work through the process. It was definitely a collaborative effort."

The three facility directors were used to working closely together, a fact that made the process much easier and allowed them to talk through each challenge.

Further, they worked with the onsite managers at each facility location, starting with Coors Field in Denver, which served as a pilot location.

"When going through the CIMS-GB criteria, we found that we already had a lot of the required processes in place," says John Graham, general manager of ARAMARK facility services at Coors Field. "The hard part was the process of documentation — getting all the forms and checklists signed off on and filed and recorded in an online tool."

The team also identified opportunities for improvement, which forced them to ask and answer the question "How can we do it better?"

Ultimately, by asking the hard questions and taking a new look at their processes, the organization was able to implement numerous improvements, most notably to their training program.

"We were doing a lot of on-the-job training and found we were lacking a more formalized training process," Severinsen says. "Now, we''ve created a standard training program for all locations using a classroom-style approach, which has resulted in increased worker confidence and a reduction in turnover."


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

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