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Integrated Management Systems

What is an Integrated Management System?

An Integrated Management System (IMS) integrates in a smart way all of an organization’s systems and processes into one complete framework, enabling an organization to work as a single unit with unified objectives.

This framework can benefit your organization through increased efficiency and effectiveness, and cost reductions while minimizing the disruption caused by potential different management systems and several external audits. It also shows your commitment to increased performance, overall objectives alignment, employee and customer satisfaction, and continuous improvement.

What is an Integrated Management System? 

An Integrated Management System (IMS) unify in a smart way all organization’s systems and processes based in different standards, into one framework, enabling an organization to work as a single unit with aligned objectives. 

It is relevant to any organization because it helps the organization to deal quickly and effectively with market challenges: limited resources, higher competitiveness, and growing expectations from customers and other interested parties, such as government, regulatory bodies. 

 

How to implement an Integrated Management System? 

Since the publication of Annex SL - the standard that defines the high-level structure for all ISO management systems standards - all ISO management systems must be developed following this structure: 

  1. Scope 
  2. Normative references 
  3. Terms and definitions 
  4. Context of the organization 
  5. Leadership 
  6. Planning 
  7. Support 
  8. Operation 
  9. Performance evaluation 
  10. Improvement 

In clauses 4, 5, 7, 9, and 10, the texts of the standards are almost the same, therefore, they can be unified without compromising the individual standards. It is the beginning of integration! 

 

Eliminating redundancies on multiple management systems 

On an integrated management system, it is possible to align the standards to find a common management system component that may include policies, objectives, processes or resources.  

When you implement more than one standard at a time you are able to find these similarities. For example, it is possible to develop a single procedure for training, document control, management reviews, internal audits or improvements.

 

Reducing waste

Reducing bureaucracy is a consequence of redundancy elimination.

In addition, when the management systems are integrated, your organization can take a systematic approach by defining clear business processes. 

The organization will identify process owners as well as responsibility and accountability for every role. When changes and decisions are easily made, this will reduce bureaucracy, improve accountability and consistency. 

With an integrated management system, you can maintain the requirements concurrently, streamlining the administrative process for updating and adding new processes. Then the organization can focus on corrections and improvements rather than maintaining multiple systems when that is unnecessary. 

 

Decision making optimization 

The integrated approach supports a lean process development and create a complete visualization of the functional needs and performance, minimize functional and department barriers that will lead to an improvement on communication and decision making. 

This will also lead to a better understanding by top management of systems issues, increasing agility and effectiveness of related decisions involving multiple standards’ requirements 

 

Cost Reduction 

Integrated Management Systems allows your organization to unify document control, training, and administration, internal audits, and decreased cost when going for an integrated certification audit, internal audits and assessments. When you can integrate these systems, it can help to optimize processes and resources and reduce the time it takes to do certain activities, eliminate the amount of time interrupted and therefore reduce costs. 

 

Improving performance 

When analyzing standard requirements, remember that they are a recognized way to implement expectations from customers, interested parties and the organization, and create a smooth and effective process.  

Integrated management systems will have a positive impact on specific management system components and outcomes such as improvements in quality, safety, risk, and productivity. Resources can be optimized because they become focused on process implementation and adding value.

This framework can benefit your organization through increased efficiency and effectiveness, and cost reductions while minimizing the disruption caused by potential different management systems and several external audits. It also shows your commitment to increased performance, overall objectives alignment, employee and customer satisfaction, and continuous improvement. 

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