Cleaning Industry Management Standard Eliminates Guesswork for Facility Executives

Nov. 30, 2006
Standard helps facilities professionals locate quality cleaning contractors

The much-anticipated Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) is now available, making it easier for facility and contract managers to find high-quality, customer-centered cleaning contractors.

The standard is a management framework that sets forth those processes, procedures, and supporting documentation that are universally recognized as the hallmarks of a well-run and customer-focused building service contractor (BSC). In-house custodial operations also can use the standard to benchmark and set goals for internal improvement.

Lincolnwood, IL-based ISSA, the leading association for the cleaning industry, spearheaded the standard’s creation, which was developed through a true consensus-based effort. Ultimately, the standard’s development brought together a group of organizations and other interested stakeholders representing more than 100,000 professionals from the cleaning, facilities management, and purchasing communities.

“This is an exciting day for our industry,” said ISSA Standards Development Manager Dan Wagner on Nov. 14, 2006. “We believe this standard can be a rallying point to improve professionalism, identify outstanding cleaning organizations, and communicate value to key decision-makers in terms they can easily understand.”

The standard, which is available for download at (, does not specify products or cleaning techniques that must be used, but instead outlines five areas of best-management practices believed to be the cornerstones of a well-managed and customer-centered cleaning organization: quality systems; service delivery; human resources; health, safety, and environmental stewardship; and management commitment. Many of the elements also can apply to other service areas within a facility, making it even more valuable to facilities executives as a benchmarking and evaluation tool.

“A recent benchmarking study of IFMA’s members showed that quality is a very important issue when it comes to janitorial services, and we believe this standard will help our members more easily identify providers who have a strategic plan that allows them to really service the end user,” says David Brady, executive director of the Intl. Facility Management Association, a participant in the standard’s creation.

ISSA plans to work with a number of key purchasing and facilities-management organizations throughout the next year to educate purchasers regarding the benefits of working with a CIMS-compliant BSC as well as the standard’s benefits to in-house organizations. The association also is working on tools that can help contract specifiers integrate the standard’s key elements into their own contract qualifications.

Many facility managers and contract specifiers throughout North America already have contacted ISSA to express an interest in using the standard as a qualifier for evaluating BSCs.

“I think the standard is a tool that is long overdue and will be very valuable in selecting contractors so you know they have a certain standard of management style that’s going to produce the results you want,” says Facilities Specialist Steve Spencer with State Farm Insurance.

ISSA anticipates certifying an estimated 20 North American BSCs and in-house custodial departments during the first half of 2007 in its case study program. Those certified during the program will be featured in marketing case studies that are made available to facility and purchasing managers as well as media outlets in the cleaning, facilities, and purchasing communities.

Learn more about the standard by watching the CIMS overview video, available at ( More information regarding the standard and how you can incorporate its elements in your own cleaning specifications is also available by contacting ISSA Standards Development Manager Dan Wagner at (800) 225-4772 (North America) or (847) 982-0800, or by e-mailing Wagner at ([email protected]).

This information was reprinted with permission from ISSA. As the leading international trade association for the cleaning industry, ISSA’s worldwide membership includes more than 4,800 distributor, manufacturer, building service contractor, and in-house service provider members. The association has offices in Lincolnwood, IL; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Monterrey, Mexico; Shanghai, China; and Singapore.

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