Now more than ever, cleaning organizations must raise the bar of cleaning excellence, ensuring they deliver quality service for every job while maintaining a profitable bottom line. The question for those operating within the industry is not only how to achieve this goal but how to verify that they have done so successfully.
For more than a decade, ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association, has offered the Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) and the Cleaning Industry Management Standard-Green Building (CIMS-GB) as a way for cleaning companies to prove their ability to deliver consistent, high-quality service. CIMS certification is a complete program that validates an organization’s entire operation, including the emergency protocols needed for exactly the situation we are in today with the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, the Green Building designation meets the U.S. Green Building Council’s requirements for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) buildings and confirms that the certified company uses environmentally sustainable practices.
With today’s increasingly strict expectations for cleaning and fierce competition in the industry, differentiation is critical, and CIMS-certified companies will find that obtaining third-party validation is a powerful marketing tool.
For many years, facility managers and building owners have viewed cleaning as a cost center that accounts for an average of 30% to 40% of a facility’s budget. Consequently, decisions about cleaning expenditures have been one-dimensional, focusing solely on the amount spent to clean the facility.
Not only is cleaning the largest component of a facility’s budget, but it is also the most visible part of the facility management function and affects occupant health and hygiene. By recognizing this and acknowledging the facility manager’s point of view, cleaning managers can help facility managers understand the economic benefits of cleaning and how a modest investment in cleaning can improve the bottom line as well as the health and safety of building occupants.
Moreover, cleaning organizations that follow a quality management framework such as CIMS send a message to facility managers that the organization is well managed and dependable, focused on professionalism, and committed to delivering high-quality service.
CIMS requires organizations to gather and provide documentation of all policies and procedures and to be verified by an independent assessor. This ensures that only qualified companies exemplifying the best practices put together by a group of highly regarded industry experts will be certified.
Through CIMS’s five fundamental management principles, those that apply for and earn CIMS certification gain a stamp of approval in quality systems; service delivery; human resources; health, safety, and environmental stewardship; and management commitment.
CIMS is increasingly recognized as an industry differentiator during these changing times, and as the standard continues to gain momentum, certified organizations are being seen as leaders in the industry. Manuel Cordozo, director of safety and CIMS for DMS Facility Services, stated: “DMS Facility Services is proud to be listed on ISSA’s website as one of the elite building service contractors. We use all training seminars, certificates, and awards as powerful marketing tools during the request for proposal process and when communicating with potential future clients. We encourage our employees to take pride in the workplace and being CIMS-GB certified with Honors for the past 12-plus years sets us apart from competitors.”
Cordozo also describes how “ISSA can help companies like DMS by recommending to building owners and facilities management companies that they require CIMS certification on request for proposals from cleaning companies. DMS Facility Services can bring value to clients during their LEED certification and can help their buildings reach and keep LEED certification.”
By putting the focus back on delivering what they promise—efficient and quality service—cleaning organizations can reduce labor, inventory, and operations costs while creating a safe work environment for cleaning employees and building occupants alike. Additionally, CIMS-GB certification shows facility managers and building owners how this green program is different from others and, specifically, how it can help them achieve points under the LEED rating system.
As our public spaces continue to reopen, it is the cleaning industry that will take the lead to ensure the safety and sustainability of our gathering places. Building owners and facility managers can be confident that CIMS-certified organizations are ready to rise to this challenge.