Benchmarking your cleaning operations

Tim Poskin, executive director of ISSA's Workloading and Benchmarking Council, recommends some easy tips for improving benchmarking processes.
Friday, October 22, 2021

Benchmarking operations is key for cleaning and maintenance companies, as it provides an independent and objective measurement of how well a company compares to others, offering understanding that leads to a path to betterment and assessing various components including training, leadership, culture, and practices.

However, understanding your company’s comparative strengths and weaknesses can be a challenge, and finding a peer group of organizations to benchmark against can be near impossible.

Tim Poskin, founder and systems integrator of ISSA’s Cleaning Change Solutions Consulting and executive director of the ISSA Workloading and Benchmarking Council, recommends some easy tips for improving your benchmarking processes.

He recommends company leaders start by asking themselvesthese questions:

  • What quantifiable standards and established cleaning practices do you currently use to run your operations?
  • Is the standard based solely on appearance and budget? 
  • Do you have a scientific method of measuring effectiveness and performance?

If you answered no to any of these questions, he suggests considering:

  1. Benchmarking at ISSA Show North America 2021. With more than 1,000 industry professionals, the annual show is a great place to start benchmarking, with more than 80 educational sessions, workshops, panel discussions, training sessions, and certification courses. Industry trade shows and events such as this one are great opportunities to find the right people and knowledge to start the benchmarking process.
  2. Benchmarking against an existing standard for cleaning. For example, the ISSA Clean Standards are focused on achieving and maintaining an effective cleaning program through a systematic approach and standardized guidelines, and provide a framework and protocol along with qualitative methods to measure and assess cleaning effectiveness on a periodic and consistent basis.
  3. Benchmarking labour using The Official ISSA Cleaning Times resource. Calculating cleaning times or production rates can be a difficult task because each situation has so many variables. This newly revised resource provides excellent guidelines for cleaning times, which provide a starting point for preparing bids and estimates for budgeting labour and workloading based on cleaning tasks and the time it takes to complete them. The Official ISSA Cleaning Times provides a set of average cleaning times for both individual cleaning tasks as well as bundled cleaning processes.

Benchmarking helps organizations to identify the gaps between their performance and the industry standard and provides ideas on how to go forward. By gathering useful data that an organization may not even know it is lacking, benchmarking can identify specific actions an organization can take to significantly improve its day-to-day functionality. 

Above all, Poskin stresses that leaders should remember to follow one simple rule: be open to looking at what others are doing to achieve their success. Successful organizations have improved their programs in a measurable way by benchmarking best practices with each other. 

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