Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

The One New Year's Resolution Worth Keeping

February 8, 2012

It''s that time of year: The time of year many people give up on their New Year''s resolutions.

How are you doing with your business resolutions for the new year?

Perhaps, you vowed to be more organized, be a better manager or make a key new hire.

You can accomplish all of these things and so much more with one resolution: To run the most cost effective, high-performance cleaning operation.

This might sound like a lofty goal, but it really is manageable with the Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) as a guide.

CIMS will be the most valuable tool for cleaning managers in 2012 for the simple fact that, this year, customers need managers who can assemble the best cleaning strategy for their facilities and budgets.

Managers need to think like business owners and understand the collective pieces of how to clean a building at the lowest possible cost and then demonstrate this knowledge to customers.

This year, customers are looking for cleaning managers who have documentation of policies and procedures and all the data associated with facilities, from square footage and cost to clean the building per full-time employees (FTE) to the number of restroom fixtures and surface types per building.

Customers care about these details because they all play a role in helping managers quickly explain the cost of cleaning and/or revise the scope of work when costs need to be cut.

Managers need not worry about where to start or if they''ve got everything covered; CIMS walks cleaning managers through a list of essential data needed to run a quality cleaning operation, ensuring managers gather and document every critical number and piece of information.

• Quality systems

A framework for effectively running the cleaning operation assures customers that the cleaning function is positioned to deliver quality services.

An effective quality system includes: Defining cleaning service requirements, implementing a quality plan, measuring performance, obtaining relevant feedback from the customer and committing to continual improvement.

• Service delivery

To ensure acceptable service delivery, an organization will need to implement a service delivery plan that outlines the organization''s customer-related processes, including workloading, staffing, purchasing and handling of unexpected events.

Each organization will follow its own unique business processes, but such processes need to be structured to make certain that the customer''s needs are met and service is provided as expected.

• Human resources

A cleaning organization will only operate in an efficient and professional manner if its employees are well-trained, customer-focused and dedicated to delivering a quality service.

From hiring to training to the actual delivery of service, an organization''s human resources, including both management and cleaning personnel, must be prepared to uphold the organization''s commitment to quality.

• Health, safety and environmental stewardship

Quality cleaning and maintenance services are safe, healthy and sustainable. They also should positively impact the built environment.

This section addresses the processes, systems and documentation as they relate to an organization''s commitment to health, safety and environmental stewardship.

• Management commitment

The effective management and implementation of appropriate management systems is essential to ensuring the delivery of quality service that meets customer expectations.

An organization needs to have either a clearly defined vision for the future or an understanding of its mission, should actively plan for the future and should be prepared for times of organizational change.

Finally, an organization should ensure that it is in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations and has secured all necessary insurance and licensing.

As you step further into 2012, knowing that CIMS is your guide, it''s time to resolve to run the cost effective, high-performance cleaning operation you''ve always wanted.

Consider it a New Year''s resolution you cannot afford to let go.


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.