Learn about the journeys of success through your fellow members with individual certifications through ISSA’s Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) and companies who have positively changed their trajectory through becoming certified in the various CIMS Certification programs.
21st Century Janitorial Services Delivers Value to Customers and Employees with CIMS Certification
21st Century Janitorial Services is a full-service commercial cleaning provider founded in 2001 and located in Little Rock, Arkansas. It’s certified by the State of Arkansas and Mississippi as a Minority Business Enterprise and was recently nominated for Minority Business of the Year by the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce. It provides complete and professional janitorial services to more than three million square feet of commercial and government office space daily. Its clients include commercial buildings, medical facilities, manufacturing sites, retail stores, and government facilities.
In 2020, 21st Century Janitorial Services experienced 100% growth as more facilities required cleaning and disinfection services to handle the pandemic. To face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and provide more value to its customers, employees, and community, the service provider decided to pursue formal cleaning certification through ISSA’s Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS).
“CIMS is the standard of excellence in our industry,” said Arlene Camacho-Kassees, Chief Operating Officer, 21st Century Janitorial Services. “It was the obvious choice to ensure we meet the highest professional standards while serving the buildings we are entrusted to clean.”
In November 2020, 21st Century Janitorial Services pursued the sustainability-focused CIMS Green Building (CIMS-GB) certification with honors. With the CIMS certification, building service contractors undergo a rigorous program to ensure they meet cleaning and business standards. By becoming CIMS-GB certified, companies are validating a commitment to quality practices, sustainability, and customer satisfaction as well as implementing an effective management framework.
To ensure success, the company measures performance against the scope of work and the outcome through an app. The app indicated enhanced performance across all levels of the organization. Additionally, they perform both planned and random operational and site supervisor inspections to all sites, regardless of their size, to ensure quality and consistency.
Additionally, after completing the certification, the service provider began providing each client a monthly key performance indicator (KPI) report. The KPI report includes timelines of work completion, response times to reactive service requests, billing and invoice accuracy, turnover rates, percentage of work passing audits and inspections, and innovations such as process improvements, efficiency improvements and equipment utilization.
By achieving CIMS certification, 21st Century Janitorial Services achieve the following benefits:
Consistent service improvement. The information teams learned through the certification process has enabled 21st Century Janitorial Services to improve its service and incorporate strict accountability measures. “Our framework and processes must be constantly monitored and measured to maintain high levels of service and engagement,” explained Camacho-Kassees. The rigorous reporting routine, as well as promoting its status as a CIMS certified cleaning provider, helps the company stand out from the competition.
Employee Satisfaction. After undergoing certification, the company has received positive feedback from its employees. “Our teams were especially interested in the executive development and management topics that not only improve our operations, but contribute to their career growth,” said Camacho-Kassees. “Our staff have expressed commitments to ongoing improvement in the delivery of their services.”
Enhanced sustainability. The certification also allowed 21st Century Janitorial Services to demonstrate its commitment to sustainable practices. “We all have a shared responsibility to adopt sustainable cleaning practices, from the equipment we use, to the chemicals we buy, to the waste we collect daily,” said Camacho-Kassees. “It is imperative that we set an example of how cleaning can be performed with less electricity use, fewer harmful chemicals, and reduced paper use. Something as simple as the elimination of trash cans and plastic bags at office desks can incite change.”
“Innovation in our industry will come from firms committing to raising standards internally to find better, simpler, cheaper ways to deliver our service and create value for the end user,” added Camacho-Kassees. “We have an unshakable commitment to raising the standards and constantly looking for opportunities to innovate.”
Building Maintenance Services Creates A Unified Company Culture Through ISSA CIMS and CIMS-GB Certifications
Opportunity For over 30 years, the Building Maintenance Service (BMS) family of companies has provided first-class janitorial, security and architectural restoration services to more than 100 million square feet of real estate. BMS serves a variety of markets, supporting prestigious Fortune 500 companies, college campuses, and luxury residential and hospitality groups.
With an increasing number of facilities today seeking formal sustainability certifications such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), BMS saw an opportunity to differentiate itself through environmental stewardship. BMS had created the BMS Green Clean Program, which integrates environmentally friendly policy, techniques and purchasing into every site. To be recognized as a true sustainability thought leader, BMS viewed formal certification as the next natural step.
Solution ISSA’s Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) and Green Building (GB) program certifications give participants the tools and knowledge needed to deliver superior and sustainable cleaning in the facilities they service. The rigorous certification process gives customers added assurance that the organization has the required expertise. Additionally, the CIMS-GB certification is recognized by LEED as a direct compliance path for its green cleaning requirements.
BMS chose these specific programs because it recognized ISSA as the benchmark organization for certification. The building service contractor also knew that the thorough auditing process would lead to better performance and procedures.
“Maintaining a sustainable culture while performing cleaning services must become the norm,” said Michael Doherty, president of BMS. “We are aware of the numerous studies showing benefits to building occupants and cleaners once a sustainable program is implemented. Less sick time, better productivity and a feeling of genuinely doing good are proven plusses.”
Results BMS is proud to be CIMS-GB certified with Honors since 2014. Through participation in the CIMS and CIMS-GB certification programs, BMS has realized the following benefits:
Sustainability becomes part of the corporate culture. Over 60 management personnel, including the company’s president, have participated in the programs. Both those within and outside of the sustainability department have benefitted, which has resulted in companywide buy-in. Employees especially enjoyed learning about the “why” of green cleaning as well as the triple bottom line.
BMS has greater leverage with prospects. In an increasingly competitive market, being able to showcase points of differentiation is key. Listing its certifications in proposals to prospective clients leads to discussions about how BMS is forward-thinking and is committed to environmentally preferred purchasing. Achieving the “with Honors” designation was an especially big win.
Continued adherence to best practices enhances service. According to Doherty, “the process of certification every two years ensures our business processes, including our sustainability practices, follow best practices. Adhering to these standards enhances our service, which helps us retain clients and grow business.”
Doherty doesn’t hesitate to recommend certification to other organizations. In addition to positioning BMS in the top tier of cleaning companies, he witnessed how certification brought his team together.
“Just preparing for the audit forces you to combine all the elements in your organization to unify and meet the goal. During the accreditation process, you realize how you can improve and take the necessary steps to do so. I would advise any company to apply for these programs.”
Challenge Unlimited, Inc. Empowers Employees and Enhances Cleaning Consistency through CIMS-GB Certification
For more than 50 years, Challenge Unlimited, Inc. has provided facility management, production, and staffing services across five states, including servicing the Department of Defense(DOD), federal and state governments, and clients in the commercial sector like offices, schools, medical facilities, and more.
It is also focused on creating opportunities for individuals with disabilities and an authorized partner of the AbilityOne® Program. Challenge Unlimited employs 1,000 workers, of which approximately 600 have a disability. It established its U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)-registered apprenticeship program in 2018, and, at that time, was only one of two AbilityOne nonprofit agencies to provide an apprenticeship program for
individuals with disabilities.
“Challenge Unlimited subscribes to the belief that there are no challenges that we cannot meet,” said Deb Snyder, Vice President of Operations, Challenge Unlimited, Inc. “A few years ago, many of our customers were pushing ISO standards, so we wanted to identify and participate in a similar certification process that was specific to the cleaning industry.”
After thorough research, Challenge Unlimited determined that ISSA’s Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) certification was the right fit for their needs. CIMS provides thirdparty validation of the quality of custodial providers’ systems, processes, and policies. It is also endorsed by the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), as it enables facility managers to pre-qualify contractors.
Challenge Unlimited initially pursued CIMS certification in 2014. It then received CIMS Green Building (CIMS-GB) certification with Honors in December 2014 and has been recertified every two years.
“CIMS was ideal because we wanted to position Challenge Unlimited as a credible and customer-focused organization that is capable of delivering a comprehensive green cleaning program and distinguish ourselves from other companies,” added Snyder. “Plus, CIMS-GB is a health standard that facility managers, tenants, and visitors want.”
Through CIMS and CIMS-GB certification, Challenge Unlimited has been able to:
Boost its credibility and competitiveness.
“Being a CIMS-GB certified cleaning service provider has increased our credibility tenfold,” says Snyder. “We provide healthier and cleaner environments for our customers, which has been especially important during COVID.” This creates a competitive advantage when negotiating contracts and has allowed Challenge Unlimited to secure additional contracts with current customers.
Improve the quality of clean and customer satisfaction.
Challenge Unlimited uses a Quality Inspection System based on CIMS and ISO 9001:2015 guidance. The two systems ensure that all cleaning tasks are maintained in compliance throughout the term of each custodial contract. Because CIMS takes the guesswork out of how to clean, Challenge Unlimited has experienced fewer customer complaints. According to Mary Hanson, Project Manager at Fort McCoy Army Base, “CIMS is one of the best tools to enhance customer satisfaction.”
Navigate the pandemic more easily.
During the pandemic, Challenge Unlimited had to clean faster, more thoroughly, and more often while facing labor shortages. Because cleaning teams were used to CIMS’ demand for consistency, they were able to easily keep up with continually changing guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).
Enhance its workplace culture and productivity.
Challenge Unlimited has a comprehensive training program in place that emphasizes CIMS-GB best practices, safety, and environmental stewardship. Its apprenticeship program is also based on CIMSGB standards. The standardized processes are especially helpful when training individuals with disabilities and new hires, including temporary labor during the pandemic. CIMS-GB has created an inclusive teamwork environment that experiences less downtime and better employee retention. In fact, the company’s annual janitorial turnover rate from 2015-2020 averages out to 34.6%, which is over 20% below the national average. According to Cliff Beiser, CIMS-GB auditor, “Employees are engaged and have a keen understanding of what CIMS is, why they should care about it, and how they can each do their part to fulfill the CIMS standards.”
Realize benefits in other areas of the business.
Challenge Unlimited is leveraging the CIMS-GB standards beyond its custodial services, as the core processes are easily transferrable to other business practices like grounds maintenance, food service, commissary, and more.
C&W Services Develops Large-scale Training Program Through ISSA CIMS and CIMS-GB Certifications
Opportunity For more than 70 years, C&W Services has provided innovative self-performed facility maintenance and operation services to a diverse portfolio of clients and market segments throughout the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. The service provider is 14,000 employees strong and responsible for managing 600 million square feet. C&W Services is the Facilities Services group of Cushman & Wakefield.
C&W Services sought to consolidate its training program to complement its international scale and provide consistent cleaning results at every level of the organization. The service provider also opted to pursue formal certification to distinguish its service as effective and sustainable.
Solution ISSA’s Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) and Green Building (GB) program certifications provide knowledge and skills that equip participants to clean more effectively and sustainably. These certification programs guarantee an organization offers high-quality training and sustainable cleaning practices. Moreover, CIMS and CIMS-GB provide a framework for cleaning that runs throughout the entirety of an organization.
C&W Services was drawn to ISSA’s measured approach to cleaning, which helps organizations enhance cleaning results on a company-wide scale. The service provider knew that the green cleaning practices offered in CIMS-GB would help its customers meet their sustainability goals.
“CIMS and CIMS-GB clearly outline the characteristics of a successful cleaning program and is designed to deliver consistent, high-quality cleaning services to customers,” said C&W Services Innovation & Optimization Senior Director George Schmidt. “The standards set by these certification programs align with our organization’s philosophy.”
Results C&W Services has been CIMS and CIMS-GB certified since 2005 and has renewed its certifications every two years. As a result, the company has realized the following benefits:
Streamlined training and more consistent results. The CIMS certification programs helped C&W Services form a more cohesive training program. According to Schmidt, “This is a company-wide endorsement that guarantees effective, consistent cleaning throughout our organization on an international scale. The entire C&W Services family better understands the cleaning process and how to provide our customers with the best possible service.”
Stronger customer relationships and growth. Formal certification has demonstrated C&W Services’ long-term commitment to cleanliness and sustainability. “We pursue re-certification every two years because it allows us to measure our organization’s compliance against the industry standards and highlight our dedication to continued improvement and innovation,” added Schmidt. Consequently, the organization has seen higher customer retention and more growth opportunities.
Enhanced response during the pandemic. C&W Services learned to enhance administrative aspects throughout its cleaning program, which proved indispensable during the pandemic. For example, the service provider kept a steady supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning chemicals, and environmentally sourced consumables despite supply-chain shortages. Additionally, it instilled its team with methodical detail and precision, making it better equipped to adapt to pandemic guidelines and mandates.
“The CIMS and CIMS-GB certifications provide a guidebook for setting up your cleaning program for more consistent and sustainable cleaning results,” said Schmidt. “We’ve witnessed the benefits of CIMS and CIMS-GB year after year!”
CIMS Certification The “Missing Link” For FM Services Group To Scale
FM Services Group, a contract cleaning and support services company based in Donegal, Ireland, has a vision to create change in the industry – to make cleaning a valued career in a valued sector.
With approximately 100 employees, the company primarily services the North West of Ireland, providing contract cleaning services to a vast range of commercial clients along with pest control, hygiene and washroom services.
The group also has a residential cleaning division under the brand Cleaners in a Click, and provides skills and development training in-house with its company, Bright Academy.
To help achieve its lofty ambitions, FM Services Group looked to the ISSA Cleaning Industry.
FM Services Group began its CIMS journey when Managing Director, Annette Houston, undertook the CIMS Expert Certification in September 2017 at the ISSA Convention – a decision that has since proved highly valuable.
“I can’t begin to express how valuable this process has been for our company,” says Houston.
“In order to gain the maximum benefit for the organisation, we decided to work through the standard requirements ourselves and not employ a consultant to assist us with certification. Was this more challenging? Certainly, but we feel we learned a huge amount more as an organisation by taking this route.”
Houston claims the certification process has helped the company identify areas for improvement across quality management systems, service delivery, human resources, health, safety and environmental stewardship, and management commitment.
But why did the organisation aim for CIMS Certification in the first place?
“Over the course of our two decades in business at that point, we had many of the requirements in place. But it was obvious to us we could still be better,” says Houston.
“We had undertaken the ISO triple standards of 9001, 14001 and 45001 in 2018 and while this was hugely beneficial to the company, we required industry-specific frameworks to establish a solid base enabling us to scale successfully. CIMS was the missing link – it drilled down further in each of the five key areas and gave us tools, best practice and strategies.”specific frameworks to establish a solid base enabling us to scale successfully. CIMS was the missing link – it drilled down further in each of the five key areas and gave us tools, best practice and strategies.”
To gain maximum learning for the organisation and development of its people, FM Services Group prepared for the CIMS certification process by setting up a CIMS working group with key areas of responsibility being assigned to specific people in the relevant roles.
“We met with a wider selection of the team and we set out the vision for what we wanted to achieve and by when. The COVID-19 challenge delayed this whole process by a year, but we got there in the end,” explains Houston.
“We then assigned a project lead, involved site supervisors and team leads across the organisation to assist in performing the gap analysis for all areas to see where we were and how much work needed to be done before we could proceed with certification.
“From there we set about closing the gaps. We looked at the big pieces of work first such as implementation of new software etc. that would take time to implement. We had regular meetings with the working group, continued to pull together the evidence base for the audit, and closed out any gaps.”
The initial outcomes of FM Services Group achieving CIMS certification have been extremely positive.
“One of the biggest benefits for us was the development of our team. Each of us working on the project learned so much about areas of the business we are not exposed to regularly. We learned how companies much larger than ours navigate the same issues and what we could adopt into our operations. It helped us to identify new objectives for the future and gave us a clear road map to get there,” explains Houston.
“One very welcome outcome that we didn’t expect was the feedback from our clients. We knew we had good relationships with them and we learn from them every day, but we certainly didn’t expect the level of recognition we received. It is amazing to know how much our clients value the work our teams do day in, day out,” she says.
“Specifically, the establishment of client feedback surveys has helped us gain so much insight into what elements of our service provision our clients value most. We have also seen where by recording and analysing client feedback and complaints more closely we can identify the root cause of issues more easily and resolve them quicker across the entire operations.”
And the indirect benefits of CIMS Certification go even further. “We have implemented a leadership development program through the CIMS process and to date we have 12 high potential leaders in placements throughout the company,” says Houston.
“We meet every two weeks and focus on developing team performance and continuous improvement of the services we provide. The learning we have all gained as part of this wider meet has been great. They regularly audit across each other’s sites and share learnings from the wider organisation,” she adds.
Looking to the future, FM Services Group recognises other areas for potential improvement based on CIMS Certification.
“The actual audit highlighted a number of areas for improvement that will bring greater consistency and improvement to the site – including the development of standardised templates for client scopes of work for all sites,” says Houston.
In terms of the impact CIMS will have on the overall industry in Ireland, Houston believes the global health emergency has highlighted the vital work the industry undertakes to protect its communities day after day.
“We now have clients requesting to see cleaning plans. They want high visibility cleaning carried out during daytime hours, which was unheard of a few years ago,” she says.
“Should you proceed, seek out champions within your business that will help you through the process. Involve them early and get their insight – our teams usually have solutions that we never thought of. Harness the learning for everyone.”
Job Options, Inc. Secures New Opportunities with ISSA CIMS and CIMS-GB Certifications
Since 1987, Job Options, Inc. (JOI) has been providing housekeeping, custodial, administrative support, and other services to government and commercial markets while offering meaningful employment for people with disabilities under the Ability One Program.
“We are proud to provide stable and rewarding jobs for people with disabilities,” said JOI Assistant Division Manager Leland Bonaparte. “No matter what their disability is, it gives them a sense of pride and purpose, and our customers view our employees as friends and coworkers.”
In an effort to distinguish itself as a unique and qualified service provider to customers and prospects, JOI opted to pursue formal certification to solidify its dedication to higher standards of cleanliness and sustainability.
ISSA’s Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) certification and CIMS Green Building (CIMS-GB) certification offer participants knowledge and skills that enable them to deliver superior and sustainable cleaning practices to customers. These certification programs assure customers that an organization has put staff through extensive training and is committed to implementing environmentally friendly chemicals, tools, consumables and more. Some facility managers even use CIMS and CIMS-GB to vet cleaning service providers in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
JOI recognized the depth of knowledge and cutting-edge procedures ISSA could bring to its employees and its cleaning and housekeeping services. To strengthen its offerings and secure new contract opportunities, JOI decided to commit to CIMS and CIMS-GB. Third-party certification would assure customers that employees were properly trained to clean their facilities.
“These certifications show customers that we stand by our work and we take pride in what we do,” added Bonaparte. “The processes and procedures our staff learned have truly set us up for continued success.”
Since achieving CIMS and CIMS-GB certifications with honors in 2017, JOI has realized the following benefits:
Staff are set up for success. Employees gained a better understanding of their job functions and the equipment and chemicals they use to complete these tasks. They learned how to maintain and implement the right equipment for the best results. Additionally, achieving CIMS and CIMS-GB certifications gave JOI confidence that employees had been trained properly and could maintain consistent levels of cleanliness and customer satisfaction across all sites.
New contract opportunities became available. CIMS and CIMS-GB validated JOI’s commitment to cleaning effectively and sustainably, which created opportunities to work with the United States military. According to Bonaparte, “When the customer, in our case the government, sees that we use green chemicals, how we maintain our equipment and the processes we have in place, it makes a big difference.”
JOI is prepared for the new standard of clean. The framework that CIMS and CIMS-GB put into place created a culture of following the right procedures. Thus, knowing that it had taken the time to train employees properly gave JOI confidence as an employer throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic also led to heightened public concerns for cleanliness. This has made certification much more meaningful to customers.
Bonaparte actively recommends the CIMS and CIMS-GB programs because of the continued success and benefits the certifications bring JOI and its employees. “At the annual ISSA Show North America, I was encouraging another company to pursue CIMS,” said Bonaparte. “We had a long conversation about the benefits of having this certification, as it leads to new contracts and additional opportunities for cleaning service providers.”
KB Building Services Strengthens Customer Relationships and Corporate Culture with CIMS-GB Certification
Founded in 1984, KB Building Services is a commercial janitorial services provider serving customers in Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri. Its strong commitment to internal culture, training, and leadership helps create lasting customer relationships, with some dating back to 1990.
In 2013, one of the company’s largest accounts was in the process of constructing a LEED Platinum facility. KB Building Services sought a way to make itself more desirable to this customer and others by aligning with their sustainability goals. Channing Johnson, president of KB Building Services, earned the LEED Green Associate credential to affirm her understanding of green building principles. She then looked for a company-wide certification that would further elevate and differentiate KB Building Services.
“We go up against numerous companies in the bidding process and it can be difficult for facility and property managers to determine which service provider is the right fit and will actually deliver on their proposal,” said Johnson. “A reputable certification would help us differentiate ourselves from competitors by enhancing credibility and trust in our processes and follow-through.”
Johnson had previously attended ISSA Show North America, the annual networking and educational event for cleaning industry professionals. While at the trade show, she was able to learn more about ISSA and Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) certification.
“It quickly became apparent that CIMS is a standout certification program,” said Johnson. “It was a great fit because we’re in the janitorial industry and this certification is industry-specific and built by professionals who have extensive cleaning experience and knowledge.”
KB Building Services earned CIMS-Green Building (CIMS-GB) with honors in 2014 and has successfully completed renewal every two years since then. CIMS is instrumental for its more than 300 field employees, including team members, next level leaders and some who are referred to as “day makers” rather than day porters for their ability to make a customer’s day. These employees are responsible for maintaining healthcare facilities, commercial offices, and other environments where cleanliness is paramount.
“Much of our success can be attributed to the fact that we are a process-driven organization,” added Johnson. “We live by the CIMS process and are constantly leaning on it. We have seen how it positively impacts our internal operations and the way customers perceive our business.”
Results Since becoming CIMS-GB certified, KB Building Services has witnessed both internal and external benefits. These include:
Internal alignment on mission, vision, and values. KB Building Services is dedicated to upholding a culture that its employees can thrive in. To accomplish this, it focuses on working toward the common goal of “serving others exceptionally well.” The company use CIMS certification as its baseline and a framework for accountability. All employees know what CIMS is, why it is essential, and how they are involved in helping the organization carry out CIMS processes at customer sites.
Stronger customer relationships. With all KB Building Services employees on board with CIMS, this helps to drive consistent cleanliness at every customer location. CIMS also ensures that frontline cleaners and company leaders can successfully communicate about the processes in place. As a service provider, it is focused on building long-term partnerships with customers, and this requires high-quality results and effective communication.The certification also gives customers greater peace of mind. Says Johnson, “You can’t easily tell that a surface has been disinfected. CIMS gives customers trust that we are following the right processes and are going to deliver on what we’ve promised.”By educating property and facility managers about CIMS certification, KB Building Services has also been able to further solidify its long-term success. In some cases, customers have added requirements to their RFPs about CIMS-certified service providers. This gives KB Building Services a unique advantage when contracts are up for renewal.
Opportunities with sustainable organizations. Sustainability is increasingly on executive leadership’s radar and an integral part of organizations’ core values. KB Building Services believes in the benefits that green cleaning delivers and uses Green Seal certified cleaning products and tools. Many of its customers have green cleaning programs in place. CIMS-GB certification showcases that the service provider aligns with their customers’ standards and offers added credibility when trying to secure new business with sustainability-minded organizations.
Enhanced preparedness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many other service providers, KB Building Services has been extremely busy during the pandemic and was fortunate to already have processes in place that it could rely on to address a new virus. Added Johnson, “We always felt sure in our approach because we are process-driven and have commitment from management and frontline employees.” Time is of the essence during a pandemic, and this level of preparedness helped the company quickly and strategically pivot and respond to customer requests for disinfection.
Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement. Every two years, a CIMS assessor visits various KB Building Services’ customer sites and meets with team members to complete the renewal process. Johnson notes that they have continually learned useful information from their assessor Bruce Stark, who has decades of industry experience. “He is always giving advice on changes we can make that will positively impact our business. It’s invaluable knowledge and that alone was worth us completing and upholding CIMS.”
“CIMS certification is being pursued by the greatest janitorial companies in the world,” added Johnson. “If you run a culture-centric and process-based operation, the benefits you experience will far exceed the investment.”
SmartClean® Solidifies Commitment to Sustainable Cleaning with ISSA CIMS-GB Certification
Since 2007, SmartClean® has provided customized office cleaning, commercial cleaning, and janitorial services to facilities throughout the central Iowa metro area. The service provider prides itself on superior customer service and a commitment to environmental sustainability.
SmartClean recently sought to restructure its training program to expand its green initiatives and adopt more effective cleaning practices. The organization opted to pursue formal certification because it wanted to reevaluate its cleaning and sustainability practices in a way that customers could recognize.
ISSA’s Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) certification and CIMS Green Building (CIMS-GB) certification train cleaning professionals to provide customers with more effective and sustainable cleaning practices and procedures. Certified programs allow customers to verify the quality of a service provider’s training, equipment, chemicals, and practices and the validity of its sustainability claims. More importantly, CIMS and CIMS-GB help to further distinguish service providers in an increasingly crowded and competitive market.
Impressed by ISSA’s thorough, innovative training procedures and sustainability policies, SmartClean saw CIMS and CIMS-GB as a way to enhance its cleaning services. More specifically, SmartClean recognized that these certification programs would validate and improve upon its commitment to green cleaning, both internally and in the eyes of customers.
“We wanted to take our organization to the next level and better showcase our passion for green cleaning,” said SmartClean Director of Client Services Melanie Suljic. “We believed that formal certification by a recognized leader like ISSA would help us grow as well as show our customers that we’re invested in their well-being.”
Results Since completing ISSA’s certification programs, SmartClean has witnessed the following benefits:
Increased cleaning efficiency and sustainability. CIMS and CIMS-GB provide guidelines that enable SmartClean’s employees to clean more thoroughly, effectively, and sustainably every day. Consequently, staff now have a much easier time adapting to the demands and challenges associated with maintaining buildings that are new to them as well as cleaning during a pandemic. Additionally, employees now check equipment more frequently to ensure machines are always operating at peak performance, thereby reducing downtime or subpar cleaning results.
Lower employee turnover rates. High turnover among custodial workers is an industry-wide problem that presents many challenges to service providers, including extra training costs. However, Suljic reports that completion of CIMS and CIMS-GB has reduced employee turnover rates by improving SmartClean’s training program and incorporating more sustainable equipment and practices. For instance, by using equipment that doesn’t produce sound levels above 70 decibels, the company provides employees with a better work environment. Changes like these also enhance the experience for building occupants, thus making it easier to conduct daytime cleaning.
New business opportunities and stronger customer relationships. SmartClean is currently the only CIMS-GB certified cleaning service provider in Iowa, which differentiates the company greatly. “When potential clients vet our offerings and qualifications, their eyes always light up when they hear about our CIMS and CIMS-GB. These certifications instill an added level of trust,” noted Suljic. Additionally, these programs have helped SmartClean retain current customers by demonstrating a commitment to sustainability and continuous improvement.
Suljic is happy to recommend ISSA’s certification programs to other cleaning providers. “We knew investing in CIMS and CIMS-GB would effect positive change in our cleaning procedures and our customers’ daily lives,” she added. “If your organization is striving to overhaul and improve its policies and procedures, these programs can help create a more sustainable and effective cleaning program that benefits employees, clients, and building occupants and visitors.”
Daigle Cleaning Systems, based in Albany, NY, is an ISSA member company and takes advantage of ISSA programs, such as the Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) certification. Derek Foster, president and CEO, discusses what his company is doing to compete and to grow in a competitive marketplace.
Strategies to Building a Profitable Building Service Contracting Company
DMS Facility Services is a multi-disciplined commercial and facility services provider, with a laser focus on taking care of clients. With a dynamic team, environmental stewardship, and focused cost management, the company has enjoyed growth consistently since 1969. To make it all work, the company has implemented the Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) certification and with it, land new contracts and keep clients long term. Here is the success story behind DMS.
Brian Harris is the Quality Assurance Manager with Janitronics, a building service contracting company in Albany, New York. The secret to the company’s success is both simple and complex, and much of it is tied to programs such as the Cleaning Industry Management Standard certification (CIMS), an ISSA program.
How Commercial & Industrial Solutions, Inc., Implemented the Strategies of ISSA
Ryan Bridges is the president of Commercial & Industrial Solutions, Inc, a building service contracting company serving North and South Carolina and part of Tennessee. To quickly grow and create a profitable company, in 2019 he embraced several programs offered by ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association, including CIMS certification, GBAC STAR Service Accreditation, CMI training programs, and more. Here is his story.
The CIMS-GB Advantage for Supreme Maintenance Organization
Diana Wilson is the vice president of business development with Supreme Maintenance Organization in Greensboro, North Carolina. The company has experienced tremendous growth over the years, largely in part because it has utilized the Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) program. Here is their story.
In this interview with Christi Redfearn, the chief strategy officer with Redlee/SCS, learn how the CIMS program works and helps building service contracting companies become more competitive in a tough marketplace.