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Management And Training

The Three Vs: Part Two

September 19, 2010
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Last month, "Raising Standards" outlined the significance in understanding the power of "the three Vs" to justify staffing numbers and cleaning frequencies and improve the way people view cleaning operations — more like an asset rather than a cost.

To verify business numbers, validate business practices and communicate value, managers need a toolbox of information, including workloading data, a staffing plan and budget numbers.

Need a checklist? You can find workloading, budgeting and staffing plan criteria listed in ISSA''s Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS), under the category of Service Delivery.

As a comprehensive management framework, the Standard includes these and additional principles to help managers gather all the documentation to execute the three Vs.

CIMS prompts organizations to dive deep into their cleaning operations, putting into place every detail outlining all processes, procedures and practices, or "the three Ps," to establish themselves as quality, customer-centered organizations.


The first "P" represents the sequence of cleaning and the priority of that sequence.

In other words, the documentation of processes describes each step in each task, in order and by priority.

It''s all of the information that would be incorporated into a job card.

It includes the building blueprints for each area, complete with arrows and other notations illustrating the path of cleaning and the time it takes to clean each area.

Cleaning management professionals cannot afford to have "overcleaners" or "undercleaners."

Having blueprints and supporting documentation of processes for each task ensures workers are doing cleaning tasks based on the processes in place.


Every cleaning organization should have simple wall charts or icon-based instructions available for all cleaning tasks.

These are the organization''s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

Long, detailed manuals are often not used or ignored and, therefore, are not effective.

Short, step-by-step procedure lists are more useful.

Post simple, bulleted lists or illustrated instructions where the information is needed for a quick reference, such as handwashing instructions at sinks or procedures for floor scrubbing by autoscrubbers.

CIMS also requires that tasks are not only documented, but standardized across the organization.

Whether they''re demonstrating how to strip a floor or how to put on a backpack vacuum, SOPs ensure the safety and quality of cleaning tasks.


The third "P" is for practices, but I prefer best practices.

A best practice is a method or process that is believed to be the most effective.

In this case, best practices are related to products, tools and equipment.

Each piece of equipment and each product a cleaning manager specifies has features that make it the most effective choice for an organization.

A health care facility manager might list an ergonomic, velcro-based flat mop as a best practice tool because it helps reduce the risk of worker injury and cross contamination.

The custodial manager at a school district might include Green Seal-certified products as a best practice.

Managers should have their best practices on paper and ready to use as documentation when verifying business practices.

Ps, Vs And The Bottom Line

Documented processes, procedures and practices can be the difference between cleaning efficiently and overcleaning.

For example, one 300-bed hospital recently saved nearly $115,000 each year by training workers to clean each patient room effectively in 10 minutes instead of 15 minutes.

The cost of labor decreased from $344,925 per year to $229,950 per year, based on one shift of workers.

Looking at processes, procedures and practices helped validate the numbers and identify the significant bottom line savings.

Communicating the value of quality cleaning operations has never been easier than that.

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

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