CIMS Case Study: IH Services

For a company like Greenville, SC-based IH Services — which strives to provide clean and healthy working environments for industrial, commercial, manufacturing, and institutional clients — training is of the utmost importance. The firm’s janitorial employees often work on and around heavy machinery and in many cases operate machinery of their own when performing cleaning tasks.

“We’re not out there cleaning homes or office buildings,” says IH President Taylor Bruce. “We’re in environments with heavy machinery. The careful training of our people is necessary, not only for utmost customer satisfaction, but also for the safety of our employees.”

Given IH Services’ preexisting focus on providing effective employee training, Bruce and his team figured they probably would not learn anything new when internally assessing compliance with the training requirements found in the ISSA Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS). But, after completing the CIMS self-assessment process, Bruce was surprised to learn that their training documentation wasn’t as thorough as it should be.

“We learned that we were providing the training, but we had not documented it on an individual basis,” he explains.

Before IH Services sought CIMS certification, the organization tracked training by specific job function: Janitors received one type of training, those using machinery received another, and maids were subject to their own curriculum. Overall, the approach seemed to be working, but it left IH Services with no way of tracking who had received what.

“The process seemed fine, but when we were preparing for the CIMS assessment, we found that we didn’t have a way to see if any given individual had taken any given training course,” Bruce says.

The solution, spurred by the CIMS preparation process, was to create individual employee training logs.

“Now, if a customer asks if so-and-so has training,” says Bruce, “we can go back to the logs and see that it is documented on paper.”

Another area where the CIMS preparation process identified the need for improved documentation was purchasing. Through the CIMS process, Jim Sheehy, head of purchasing for IH Services, noticed some room for improvement in the manner in which he documented and justified purchases.

“When I recommend buying something, whether it’s new equipment or a new type of floor wax, it has been based on my experience and knowledge of the products,” Sheehy explains. “But through CIMS, we had to quantify on paper what I was buying, what I was comparing it to, and how all of the choices stacked up.”

Now, when Sheehy makes a purchase, the facts and research behind the purchasing decision are documented. The data is there for all to see. He says it has caused his department to be more organized and efficient, saving money along the way.

“We can see right there on paper that we’re comparing apples to apples, and why we purchased what we did,” he says.

Parker Moore, who spearheaded the CIMS process within IH Services, explains that looking within was not a foreign concept to his company.

“We review all of our processes continually,” he says. “We don’t hesitate to make changes if they’ll make our company better, and we saw very early on that CIMS would make us a better company.”

While Moore was convinced almost immediately of the benefits of CIMS and achieving certification, Bruce admits that he was initially skeptical of the process — and of the Standard itself.

“When I first heard about CIMS, I was skeptical because I didn’t think it would be worth the effort if it wasn’t a meaningful and substantive standard,” Bruce says. “But when I saw all of the CIMS materials, I was impressed with the amount of work ISSA had put into this, the detail. This wasn’t something they just slapped together. This new standard was really going to mean something.”

Bruce also saw something else: What it would mean to his customers if IH Services achieved CIMS certification.

“Many of our customers are big manufacturers, and those industries have their own certifications and standards, ISO 9001 and so forth,” he explains. “When we’re bidding for new jobs, our potential customers always ask us what kinds of certifications we have. In the past, we’ve had to say, ‘Well, our industry doesn’t have much of that.’ But now we have CIMS. The fact that we are certified is really going to mean something to our clients because they have standards of their own. They know what is entailed in achieving them.”

Parker Moore is confident that, ultimately, the work put in by everyone in his company to achieve certification was worth it. “We knew that CIMS would be a good marketing tool for us,” he says. “This type of standard is important because it is made on the basis of an outside assessment. But more than just a marketing tool, CIMS made us a better company. And that’s what it’s all about.”

About CIMS

CIMS is the first comprehensive management and operations standard for cleaning organizations. Administered by ISSA and the American Institute for Cleaning Sciences, CIMS is a standard of excellence designed to help building service contractors and in-house service providers develop quality, customer-centered organizations.

For more information on CIMS, call 800-225-4772 or visit

Search for CIMS-certified organizations at

Looking for a qualified cleaning professional, but don’t know where to start? Look no further than the Buyers’ Guide at The industry’s leading online directory now includes a search function to find building service contractors and in-house service professionals that have achieved Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) certification—the industry’s first consensus-based certification program. Go to to find your next cleaning partner today!


Regulatory News

Missouri Finalizes Green Cleaning Guidelines

The Missouri State Board of Education formally approved the Missouri Green Cleaning Guidelines and Specifications for Schools at a meeting conducted on January 15, 2009.

ISSA Director of Legislative Affairs Bill Balek played a key role in the drafting of the Missouri guidelines, which are largely consistent with the green cleaning guidelines issued by Illinois in the spring of 2008. One major difference is that implementation of the Missouri guidelines by schools is voluntary, while Illinois schools are mandated to adopt green cleaning programs.

However, in all other regards, the Missouri guidelines are consistent with the green cleaning product-procurement recommendations set forth in the Illinois guidelines. Of particular interest, both Missouri and Illinois reference Green Seal®, the EPA Design for the Environment Formulator Program, and the Environmental Choice EcoLogoM Program in regard to defining environmentally preferable bathroom cleaners, carpet cleaners, general-purpose cleaners, glass cleaners, and hand soaps.

In general, the Missouri guidelines provide a comprehensive approach to green cleaning, including recommendations related to the purchase of “environmentally sensitive” cleaning and maintenance products, janitorial paper supplies, and cleaning equipment. In addition, the guidelines set forth specific best practices for implementation of a green cleaning program.

The Missouri guidelines were developed by the State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education pursuant to legislation signed into law on July 10, 2008, by Gov. Matt Blunt.

A copy of the Missouri green cleaning guidelines is posted at

State Green Cleaning Procurement Policies

Missouri is the fourth state to adopt green cleaning for schools policies, and the 16th state to enact a green cleaning policy generally. ISSA has summarized state, local, and federal green cleaning policies in a document entitled “Green Cleaning Product Procurement Policies, Initiatives, and Requirements in the U.S.” that has been recently updated. This document is available to ISSA members at:







31, April 1, 7, 8, 23, 29, Regional Meetings: Piecing Together a World of Standards, featuring Dave Frank. King of Prussia, PA (March 31); Worcester, MA (April 1); Chicago, IL (April 7); Atlanta, GA (April 8); Industry Hills, CA (April 23); Toronto ON, Canada — held in conjunction with Can Clean 2009 (April 29).



1, 7, 8, Regional Meetings: Piecing Together a World of Standards, featuring Dave Frank. Worcester, MA (April 1); Chicago, IL (April 7); Atlanta, GA (April 8).

14, Green Cleaning Forum. Hyatt Regency Crystal City at Reagan National Airport. Arlington, VA.

15, Legislative and Regulatory Forum. Arlington, VA. Hyatt Regency Crystal City at Reagan National Airport. Arlington, VA.

23-24, Facility Maintenance: Improve Operations In Turbulent Times, featuring Steve Spencer. Disneyland Hotel, Anaheim, CA.

23, 29, Regional Meetings: Piecing Together a World of Standards, featuring Dave Frank. Industry Hills, CA (April 23); Toronto ON, Canada — held in conjunction with Can Clean 2009 (April 29).



13-15, ISSA/INTERCLEAN® Central & Eastern Europe. Expo XXI Warsaw International Expocentre, Warsaw, Poland.



6-9, ISSA/INTERCLEAN® North America 2009. McCormick Place, Chicago, IL.



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