- THE MAGAZINE
ICM is an open-source, unified-systems approach to institutional and industrial cleaning that uses measurement as a product and process selection, enhancement and validation tool. The proper use and application of devices measuring cleanliness levels is critical to qualifying the equipment and procedures being used by maintenance staff.
“ICM is a starting point to trying to apply measurement processes to the actual cleaning environment, ones that are reality-based or realistic in the workplace,” William R. Griffin, president of Cleaning Consultant Services, Inc., said. “It’s one thing to do this in a laboratory or controlled environment, but we have to find a way to transition it to the actual workplace.”
Griffin will be leading the inaugural class being taught to the supervisors and managers of the custodial services department of the University of Washington on Nov. 24. He has led seminars and taught IICRC-certification classes and other certification classes around the world for almost 30 years, with a focus on cleaning and maintenance and business management-related subjects.
“We’ll be making sure the procedures are understood and performed correctly, that they understand what it is that is being tested,” Griffin said. “We’ll cover everything from the storage of the measurement equipment to care and use, the protocols involved with each piece of equipment, when to test, how often and so on … It’s exciting, because quantitative measurement brings greater validity to the cleaning industry. We do the cleaning, now we need to prove that it actually works."
Following a 30-minute presentation and class overview, the class will work hands-on with ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) meters, particle counters, scales for weighing dust and soil, test papers and other measuring devices and equipment, learning the proper protocols and techniques.
“It’s about doing it correctly and doing it with consistency,” Griffin said. “If a person swabs an area that’s a square foot and another swabs an area that’s two inches, you’re going to get totally different readings. You’ve got to get consistency in the process.”
Gene Woodard, Director of Facilities Services – Custodial Department for UW, is excited that the course has finally come to fruition.
“I was approached by the IEHA some time ago to see if the University was interested in being part of something with the potential for measuring various procedures and cleaning processes,” Woodard said. “I did some research and found that it was something that aligned with our facilities services mission, so we agreed to use our facility to train our staff as part of a beta test for ICM.”
Woodard oversees a staff of more than 280 people responsible for maintaining all academic and research facilities on campus, a total of 10.9 million square feet.
“We’re hoping to come away with a better understanding of proper testing protocol, and be able to develop that protocol and apply it so that we’re collecting accurate data that will be of some value to us as we compare various processes and procedures over time,” Woodard said.
Plans are underway to capture the data collected from field measurements for benchmarking and process improvement. Elliott Affiliates Ltd., a consulting firm specializing in performance-based outsourcing and management, will manage an online resource to assist facilities in collecting data and making meaningful decisions based on the information.
“I see four fundamental metrics that need to be measured, tracked and managed: occupant satisfaction; image or cleanliness appearance of the facility; biological contamination issues based on ATP measures; and particulate count,” said Vince Elliott, founder and CEO of Elliott Affiliates. “By drilling down into the root cause, you can actually change the way the work is done and constantly improve it. But you need the data to do that, so what we advocate is, you go after the data that will reduce the level of complaints, improve the image of the facility, and create a safe environment and a healthy environment.
“When people measure performance, they are better able to manage it and improve it; and best of all they can accomplish all this while reducing cost!” Elliott said. “I see ongoing measurement as a way to effectively manage cleaning operations, so when your measurements tell you that something is not working, it’s a flag to take action.”
Elliott currently has half a dozen people in the field working with various measuring devices, collecting data. The expectation is to interpret and translate the information into an electronic format that will be available online. Elliott Affiliates will also help people who desire more hands-on assistance as they develop their own cleaning and measurement protocols.
“Companies that adopt this model will be not only able to manage and produce a better result, but they’ll be able to do it for less than their competitor, even in-house,” Elliott said. “So when you have budget cuts, it will allow you to operate more effectively with existing resources.”