The International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA) is launching a consensus-based effort to create a new Quality Management Standard that will help facility service providers (FSPs) develop customer-centered, quality cleaning organizations. The new standard will apply to a cleaning organization as a whole, as opposed to specific personnel, programs or products.

“The ISSA Quality Management Standard will allow companies to ensure that their systems and processes are structured to deliver consistent, quality services,” says John Garfinkel, ISSA executive director. “Ultimately, cleaning organizations will be encouraged to use the standard as a quality management framework.”

The ISSA standard will be “non-prescriptive” and will afford organizations great flexibility in meeting its parameters. It will not require the use of specific cleaning processes or products, but rather will be performance-based and allow individual companies to choose the most-effective ways in which to comply with its management requirements.

Further, the new standard will recognize and compliment existing industry standards and certification programs as evidence of compliance with specific portions of the requirements. FSPs will be encouraged to use such certifications in their attempts to meet the overall ISSA quality management standard.

The new standard will be applicable to all FSPs – building service contractors (BSCs) and in-house organizations. ISSA plans to roll out the standard for use first in the North American market with hopes of future international applications. The ultimate goal of this project is to help in-house purchasing authorities more easily identify quality and well-managed BSCs, as well as help in-house departments better communicate their value and effectiveness to upper management and building occupants.

“Meeting the standard will demonstrate a true-dedication to professionalism and customer service,” notes Garfinkel. “It will allow all FSPs to operate more efficiently and improve the overall quality of service in our industry.”

The new ISSA Quality Management Standard will be based on universally accepted management principles and identified through a consensus-building process over the next eight to 12 months.

A group of standards committees representing a cross-section of the cleaning and facility management industries, as well as related associations and certification programs, will draft the general framework of the standard and peer review will be encouraged. ISSA expects the technical committees to meet and begin creating the new standard in mid-February.

In addition to participation by the committees, ISSA will be directly working with the American Institute for Cleaning Sciences (AICS) in the development of the standard.