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ISSA launches SIMS certification in the UK

Published 3rd February, 2014 by Neil Nixon

ISSA launches SIMS certification in the UK

After a thorough evaluation of many different countries and regions, ISSA, the world's leading association for the cleaning and sanitary services industry, has chosen the UK and Republic of Ireland as the first two countries outside of the US in which to launch its acclaimed Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS).

CIMS is a trailblazing consensus-based management standard that is geared towards validating and improving the professionalism of cleaning service providers. The standard lays out a framework based on management principles that are universally considered hallmarks of successful cleaning organisations organisations namely: Quality Systems; Health, Safety & Environmental Stewardship; Service Delivery; Management Commitment; and HR.

The CIMS Standard was originally created through a true consensus-based process. Led and managed by ISSA, this involved top organisations from the cleaning, facility management, and purchasing communities, in a true collaborative effort that represented the interests of more than 100,000 industry stakeholders.

The standard was first introduced in the US in 2006 and to date 186 organisations have achieved certification. CIMS is also the subject of a fast-growing ISSA subgroup on LinkedIn which already has over 1200 members drawn from around the world.

Certification to the CIMS Standard provides a conclusive way for a contract cleaning company to differentiate itself from its competition through demonstrating a commitment to quality cleaning performance, as well as a keen focus on customer satisfaction, continual operational improvement, and best use of resources.

Keith Baker, director of EMEA Services at ISSA, said: “To my mind, CIMS works so well because it is based on universally accepted management principles and applies these elements to an entire organisation rather than to an individual, product or process. The use of specific products and cleaning techniques is not required, or actually even recommended, and each organisation keeps the flexibility to choose the products and cleaning techniques that best fit its needs.”

The new standard is also set to be a significant asset to facility managers and others responsible for selecting a cleaning service provider in that certification helps to identify quality providers that are completely in synch with the facility manager's needs and expectations. Facility managers can therefore gain an increased confidence in their chosen contractor by using CIMS as a powerful tender or bid pre-requisite. With this function in mind, the Standard provides specifications that fit seamlessly into most existing tender frameworks.

Keith Baker added: “Just as CIMS certification will be a strong selling point for cleaning contractors moving forward, I can also envisage an industry in just a few years' time where professional facility managers will only use CIMS certified companies or rue the consequence of not doing so.”

Organisations wishing to achieve certification must undergo a comprehensive on-site assessment by a fully independent and accredited assessor who evaluates the organisation's compliance with the Standard. In the UK and Ireland, the CIMS standard will be audited independently by ISSA's chosen exclusive partner BICS Business Services. Certification will then be reassessed every two years to ensure ongoing compliance.

Based on the experience in the US, ISSA has also identified that there is also a considerable opportunity for manufacturers and distributors, training and consultancy firms to expand their industry knowledge and strengthen their customer relationships by assisting their customers in preparing for CIMS certification. To do this individuals can take a special training session run by BICS Business Services and pass an examination to become Industry Cleaning Experts (I.C.E.).

The first two I.C.E workshops and certification sessions will be held on 4/5 March 2014 and 16/17 September 2014 at the Highgate House Hotel, Groom's Lane, Creaton, Northampton. NN6 8NN. The fee for attendance is £650 +VAT per person and registration should be made by email to: cims@bicsbusinessservices.com

Further I.C.E workshops will be announced in the coming weeks and any companies who are interested in having ISSA and BICS Business Services conduct a private, custom I.C.E. workshop at their own facility should contact Keith Baker, ISSA director of EMEA Services: keith@issa.com.