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There are many reasons a business takes the time, money, and resources to implement a management system. Common reasons are to ensure a consistent quality output, reduce risk to the business, safeguard workers or remain compliant and vigilant with regulations or requirements of a contract.
However, in many cases, a single management system just won’t cover all the necessary areas that a business is looking to include. So, the answer is to have two, or even more, management systems. The problem with running multiple management systems as standalone entities are the duplication of resources, documents, reports, audits, and time. It seems obvious that combining, or ‘integrating’ the management systems into a single, manageable, aligned management system is the way to go.
Keep in mind that as each business sector is different, there are some areas of ISO standards that may not apply. Dependent on the ISO management systems, you may be allowed to exclude clauses and sub-clauses that are not relevant to your business. These exclusions must be documented along with the reason they are not included.
An Integrated Management System can be for those who already have a mature management system and want to integrate other management systems into it, or it can be implemented as an initial management system starting from scratch. This guide explains each section as though from scratch but can be used by those with a management system already in place too.
Implementing any management system can be a daunting task but implementing two or more together could seem impossible. So we’ve put together this guide to give you clear logical steps to implement an Integrated Management System.
An integrated management system is where two or more management systems are combined to make one management system. It finds the common ground between the management systems that are then combined. Additional requirements, specific to each standard are documented and then included within the relevant area of the management system.
You can integrate many ISO management systems, and commonly organizations integrate those with the Annex SL structure, such as ISO9001, ISO14001, ISO45001 and ISO27001. Though in theory, any management systems can be integrated, it just may be more difficult to integrate those with different structures. This guide uses the example of an ISO14001, ISO9001 and ISO45001 management system, however you can use the same principles outlined to integrate your chosen ISO management systems.
Benefits of an IMS over single entity management systems include:
It is generally accepted that when two or more systems’ procedures are 70-95% common, and at least 30% of work instructions are combined then the management system is ‘integrated’. For processes, procedures and work instructions to be considered integrated they must be managed by one process owner. It should be noted that not all processes have to be integrated. Each organization needs to decide what they want to be integrated into their management system. However, these need to be identified, especially during a certification or surveillance audit.