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Published

20 January 2015

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Case Study: Cinderella Cleaning

ISO 9001

Cinderella Cleaning is a Sheffield-based contract cleaning and ground maintenance provider, used by universities, local councils, the NHS, property management companies and private businesses.

Achieving ISO 9001 certification in early 2007, here Cinderella Cleaning share their thoughts on the ongoing experience with the standard and the British Assessment Bureau (BAB).


Cinderella Cleaning

The challenge

Since forming in 1993, Cinderella Cleaning has grown to become a trusted supplier to a range of well known businesses. In 2006, the company celebrated their continuing success by beginning the implementation of the ISO 9001 quality standard. Helen Robertshaw, General Manager at Cinderella Cleaning, explained the motivation for seeking certification;

“We had started completing tenders in order to bid for new work. We soon found ISO 9001 made a difference to our scores from buyers, sometimes even being a prerequisite of the tender.”

The solution

Many fear that ISO 9001 will swamp a business with unnecessary bureaucracy. In fact, the quality standard is intended to create efficiency, making it easier for people to do their jobs, with the resulting benefit of improved customer service. In fact, many organisations have most of the required processes already in place; they just need a little tweaking. Helen realised this when first visited by her auditor;

“BAB were helpful and keen to point out what we already had in place, rather than making us start again. The auditors are friendly and take into consideration that our Quality Management System (QMS) has to work for the business.”

This initial ‘Stage 1’ visit that BAB carries out helps to identify what gaps there are in meeting the requirements of ISO 9001. A report sets out exactly what needs to be in place so you can be best prepared for your formal audit for certification.

Once you feel ready, your auditor will then recommend they come in for your formal ‘Stage 2’ audit. This proved successful for Cinderella, and they were duly recommended for certification by their auditor. Helen recalled the experience;

“I liked the fact that the auditor took pains to let us know what we were doing well, and I felt confident that we were running a business professionally once the audit was over. We are always busy and appreciate that creating a QMS worked with our living and breathing business systems.

Cinderella Cleaning

The results

Since achieving certification, Helen has remained the person responsible for ongoing implementation, reporting on quality statistics in order to improve customer service. Together with a colleague, Helen also carries out internal audits to ensure continual improvement, ready for their annual surveillance audits. Helen commented;

“The annual audit schedule reminds us to look at important procedures and review that they are still current and being used.”

Although ISO 9001 has provided Cinderella Cleaning with internal benefits, it was the aforementioned external benefits that the company was initially hoping to prosper from. Helen went on to explain what it means for the business to hold certification to the internationally recognised standard;

“Holding certification is a good way to show potential customers, who do not already know the pride we take in our work, that we deliver a professional service.”


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