The much-anticipated Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) is now available, along with a detailed compliance guide to help cleaning organizations determine the best ways to meet the Standard’s requirements, according to an ISSA press release.

The CIMS is a management framework designed to assist cleaning organizations in developing quality, customer-centered organizations. It 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) or in-house service provider (ISP).

ISSA, the leading association for the cleaning industry, spearheaded the Standard’s creation, which was developed through a true consensus-based effort. Ultimately, development of the Standard brought together a group of organizations 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. “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 www.issa.com/standard, 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 & Environmental Stewardship; and Management Commitment

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.

“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,” said David Brady, executive director of the International Facility Management Association, a participant in the Standard’s creation.

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 you know have a standard of management style capable of producing the results that you want,” said Steve Spencer, facilities specialist with State Farm Insurance.

Compliance and Certification
Also now available is the ISSA Cleaning Industry Management Standard Certification Guide, a resource specifically designed to help organizations benchmark their operations against the Standard and prepare for possible certification. ISSA anticipates opening the CIMS Certification Program to the industry at large in October 2007, following a case-study period during which an estimated 20 BSCs and in-house operations will become charter certified organizations.

“Based on industry feedback during the public-comment period, we believe many organizations already have as much as 75 percent of the Standard’s requirements in practice already, and the rest of the criteria are reasonably obtainable for a well-run organization,” said Wagner.

The Certification Guide offers a variety of suggestions as to how BSCs and ISPs can meet the Standard’s requirements, including existing certification, compliance, and training programs that can help meet specific criteria.