Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

What Do You Manage?

September 19, 2010

Great companies have developed systems and processes that work in concert to produce consistent quality at the price point and service level that each client expects.

The great leaders within our industry have built their operations around the Cleaning Industry Management Standard''s (CIMS) five universally accepted management principles:

  1. Quality systems
  2. Service delivery
  3. Human resources
  4. Health, safety and environment
  5. Management commitment.

In absence of well-defined and ubiquitous systems, managers deal with constant turmoil.

As a leader, you have a choice: You can either manage the system or manage the confusion.

Quick Operations Check-up

There''s no room for chaos and confusion in CIMS-compliant cleaning operations.

What about your business or cleaning operation; are you managing a quality system or are you in a reactive mode?

Quiz your operation by asking yourself the following questions.

  • Can I walk into any account at any time and be 100 percent confident in the results of what I will find?

    Owners and managers of organizations that follow a management system should know exactly what to expect — consistent, quality service regardless of customer location.

  • Am I surprised when a customer calls with an issue?

    It is not a good thing to be surprised, and if you have effectively implemented quality systems, a customer call should never ruin your day.

  • Do I proactively teach and develop mid-level managers and supervisors?

    Building a great management team is essential to success.

    CIMS sets forth a helpful framework for developing your managers.

  • Am I constantly scrambling to fill positions?

    If you''re constantly scrambling to fill open positions, there may be a breakdown in your human resources function.

    You should have a proactive hiring process and retention plans because hiring "bodies" is a symptom of far bigger issues.

  • Do I have an approved product and equipment list that is used throughout the organization?

    Product standardization is the foundation for smooth running operations.

    A well-managed product and equipment list gets rid of employee confusion, lowers costs and drives consistency.

  • Do I have standardized work instructions in place?

    Standardized work instructions go hand-in-hand with the approved product and equipment list.

    Employees must be clear on what is expected of them and how to deliver service.

  • Is each of my job sites organized in a consistent manner?

    When all customer locations are managed under the same processes and policies, you''ll quickly be able to identify when a site is not using the system.

  • Are my startups seamless or is each one an "event?"

    If you use a system for all locations, then a startup should be a breeze since everyone knows what to expect and how to perform.

  • Does my organization use workloading methodology that is accurate, competitive and reproducible?

    Workloading systems allow for easy cleaning system tailoring for any new customer or new building.

    Workloading also ensures buildings are set up with the best combination of workers and tasks.

  • Can my organization withstand an audit?

    If your organization meets CIMS'' health, safety and environmental requirements, an inspection from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) should not scare you.

  • Are you in full compliance with all wages, hour regulations and hiring requirements?

    This is how you attain quality employees and protect your business from legal issues.

Are you exposing your customers to your organization''s inefficiencies or are you demonstrating professionalism?

The difference between mediocrity and greatness is how comprehensively these principles have been implemented.

Exposing your customers to even small issues can have huge consequences.

Adhering to a comprehensive quality management system such as the Cleaning Industry Management Standard enables leaders to devote their time and energy to delivering customer value.

Simply stated, it is easier to lead when you are out in front.

The choice is yours: Manage chaos or manage a system.


Jim Peduto is the president of Matrix Integrated Facility Management LLC and the co-founder of the American Institute for Cleaning Sciences (AICS). AICS is the registrar for ISSA''s Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) certification program. Visit www.issa.com/cims.