Integrated Systems

There is a market need for separate management system standards addressing different aspects, issues, or risks. However, standards are becoming more compatible and the latest approach is to integrate them into a single management system.

Before talking about integrated management systems, we should first define a “management system”.

What is a Management System?
A management system is a set of interrelated or interacting elements to establish policy and objectives, and to achieve those objectives. It can be viewed as a structure for managing and improving policies, procedures, practices, and results.

Use of Standards
Management systems are typically based on written standards that provide a framework of best practices to apply to a business. Use of a standard helps focus an organization on the products and services it delivers, business processes it follows, and the overall management of the business.

International standards are important since many organizations operate in the global economy by selling or buying products and services from sources outside their domestic market. These standards include the features that experts in the field have reached consensus on as being the international state of the art.

Certification of System
An organization can informally adopt a standard, or choose to get outside confirmation from a recognized certification body (registrar). Certification refers to the certificate issued by the registrar when it verifies a system conforms to the requirements of a standard. Certification has proved extremely popular because of the perceived credibility of an independent assessment.

Benefits of Management System
Some companies don’t have a documented system, just “this is our way of doing things”. An organization can better manage “our way” by systemizing it to:

  • Ensure that nothing important is left out
  • Keep everyone clear about who is responsible
  • Help know what to do, why, when, how, and where
  • Ensure people are not just “doing their own thing”
  • Ensure you go about your tasks in an orderly way
  • Use time, money, and resources more efficiently

Coordination Issues
To succeed in a fast-paced business world, an organization must adapt to be competitive. But, how can you keep up if the different parts of your organization are working in different ways, and even conflicting ways? Departments may not be well coordinated to work together, and as a result, become little empires with unique processes, objectives, and standards.

What is an IMS?
An Integrated Management System (IMS) merges all of an organization’s systems and processes into one complete framework. It enables an organization to work as a single unit with common objectives.

With an integrated system, your organization becomes a unified whole, with each function aligned behind a single goal: Improving the performance of the entire organization. Instead of “silos”, you have a coordinated system that is greater than the sum of its parts and that can achieve improved results.

Integrated Approach
An integrated system provides a clear picture of all aspects of your organization, how they affect each other, and their associated risks. So, from managing employee needs to monitoring competitors; and from encouraging best practices to minimizing risks and maximizing resources; an integrated approach helps an organization reduce duplication and achieve its objectives.

Reasons for an IMS

  • Reduce costs by avoiding duplication
  • Save time through consolidated activities
  • Make best use of limited resources
  • Consider consequences of actions on others
  • Lessen conflicts between departments
  • Focus on one set of business objectives
  • Combine audits into an integrated audit

Integration Benefits
An organization is more successful if it creates a single, integrated management system with the best parts of each internal area. A unified system provides clarity, consistency, and improved results for each of its parts.

Simplified processes, and the reduced duplication and bureaucracy, saves money. Decisions are viewed in context of the whole organization and their effects on others.

Integrated Requirements Course
We offer an on-site 1.5 day “Integrated Requirements” course that presents the requirements of ISO 9001 (Quality), ISO 14001 (Environment), and OHSAS 18001 (Safety) in an integrated manner. This approach shows how you can develop an integrated policy manual and implement an integrated management system.

For a training quote, call Larry Whittington at 770-517-7944, or send him a note: larry@whittingtonassociates.com.