Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Looking Into The Customer Crystal Ball

January 11, 2012

Do you ever wish you knew what your customers were thinking?

Wouldn''t your job be so much easier if you could predict your customers'' hot buttons, priorities and concerns?

Stepping into the shoes of the facility management professional really is not as difficult as you might think if you take advantage of some of the industry''s insightful resources.

Earlier this year, the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) published a report, "Exploring the Current Trends and Future Outlook for Facility Management," which is based on findings from surveys of facility management professionals about current and future trends.

The report highlights 10 trends identified by facility managers.

Of those 10, five tie back to cleaning organizations and their role in shaping and responding to these trends.

Coincidentally, those five are addressed in the Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS), which means CIMS-certified cleaning organizations are already ahead of the curve.

Let''s explore five of IFMA''s facility management trends.

Trend 1: Sustainability

Organizations are increasingly integrating sustainability into their mission, values and branding.

Facility management plays a tremendous role in organizations'' sustainability initiatives.

The operation of sustainable facilities requires environmentally preferable cleaning supplies and practices.

CIMS-Green Building (GB) certification complements the criteria included in the U.S. Green Building Council''s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (LEED-EBOM) standard, and both help facility managers earn substantial points toward green building certification.

Trend 4: Preparedness

Natural and manmade disasters can strike at any time and can severely damage facilities and upset business operations.

To be prepared in the event of a disaster, organizations are developing emergency preparedness plans.

These plans are often the responsibility of facility management.

CIMS requires compliant organizations to have an emergency response plan and also calls for a plan for responding to natural or manmade disasters.

A certified building service contractor (BSC) can offer customers plans that they can adopt or easily adapt to the organizations'' overall disaster planning.

Trend 6: Finding Top Talent

Recruiting and retaining a quality workforce is essential to running a successful organization.

Facility managers count on BSCs and cleaning managers to provide hardworking, skilled, reliable workers that follow quality management practices.

That is why recruitment is part of CIMS'' human resource section.

CIMS is also a great tool for BSCs to use in hiring, training and rewarding their employees to keep them happy and productive.

In addition, facility managers can use CIMS as a prequalification tool for quickly identifying top contractor organizations.

Trend 7: Elevating The Management Profession

The facility management profession is often undervalued and underappreciated for many reasons.

The whole purpose of CIMS as a standard is to elevate the cleaning and facility management professions by providing guidelines for running professional, organized, third-party accredited quality operations.

In just going through the process of certification, BSCs can help facility management improve professionalism with knowledge in essential areas from budget management to measuring and tracking productivity and performance, to health, safety and environment goals.

CIMS also doubles as a marketing tool to increase recognition of facility management and demonstrate to building occupants that they are cared for by a team focused on providing a safer, healthier facility.

Trend 9: Enhancing Workplace Productivity

A new responsibility and expectation of facility management is for it to have a positive impact on the efficiency, productivity and profitability of its occupants.

Employees tend to be more productive in clean, comfortable workspaces.

Cleaning programs focused on health and high performance can help decrease employee absenteeism and lost productivity due to illnesses and/or adverse effects from cleaning products.


These five trends are things that are important to facility managers today — and they are not unfamiliar to BSCs and cleaning organizations who follow the principles of CIMS.

CIMS prepares cleaning organizations by addressing customers'' concerns before they happen.

Think of it as "customer ESP."

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.