Get in touch

Get in touch

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Privacy Notice

X

When you submit an enquiry via our website, we use the personal data you supply to respond to your query, including providing you with any requested information about our products and services. We may also email you several times after your enquiry in order to follow up on your interest and ensure that we have answered your it to your satisfaction. We will do this based on our legitimate interest in providing accurate information prior to a sale. Your enquiry is stored and processed as an email which is hosted by Microsoft within the European Economic Area (EEA). We keep enquiry emails for two years, after which they are securely archived and kept for seven years, when we delete them.

Reveal Menu

Integrated Management Systems, why bother?

There are many reasons a business invests 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 problems with running multiple management systems as standalone entities is 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.

 

Want to know more? Sign up to our webinar on Integrated Management Systems on 18th August at 4pm (UK time).

ISO Integrated management system image

Integrating with the same high-level structure

Many ISO management systems are constructed using the same high-level structure, such as ISO9001 Quality, ISO14001 Environmental, ISO27001 Information Security and ISO45001 Occupational Health and Safety. It allows these, and other management systems to be integrated much more easily.

Each of these management systems have a core of common requirements. These include:

  • Clause 4 – Context of organization
  • Clause 5 – Leadership
  • Clause 6 – Planning
  • Clause 7 – Support, especially in competencies and document control
  • Clause 9 – Performance Evaluation, which includes auditing and management review
  • Clause 10 – Improvement

Many of the common clauses ask for the same information. Depending on the management system there will be specific requirements, but around 60% will be the same or very similar, making it easy to integrate.

Integrated documentation saves time

When it comes to documentation, the situation is similar. Much of the documented information is common, reducing the need for duplicated procedures, work instructions, forms, and checklists.  This has the added benefit when it comes to auditing the integrated management system, where many of the documents cover all areas of the integrated management systems.

Integrated Management System Pyramid

The benefits of an IMS

By effectively integrating two or more management systems you reduce the work load in ongoing management of the IMS and provide a more holistic overview of departments. You strengthen the management system as a whole which in turn makes it more effective and efficient, allowing you to gain the full benefits of the embedded integrated management system, such as:

  • Increased performance
  • Better risk management
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Reduced costs of resources
  • Better employee engagement
  • Time and cost savings in implementation and audits

A question that we hear often is, ‘does it take twice as long to implement an integrated management system?’ The simple answer is no. It will take a bit longer than implementing a single management system. But, as said earlier, almost 60% of the management system requirements are the same. This is where the time saving is found. The other 40% will depend upon a number of factors, including which management systems you are integrating.

Clause 8 is always specific to the standard

For the keen eyed amongst the readers, you may have noticed that clause 8 of the standards did not appear in the list of common areas of the standards.  Clause 8, Operation, is dedicated to the actual area the standard is written for, such as Quality, Environment, InfoSec or OHAS.  These vary immensely as you would expect.

Other areas that differ include the standards objectives, although the process for planning for them is the same. Scope and Policy can be integrated, but some businesses keep these separate, for example, having a separate Quality Policy and Environmental Policy.

Can you integrate standards with different structures?

The argument for integration is compelling, and for businesses that are looking to implement a second or even third management system, or implement multiple management systems simultaneously, it makes complete sense. But what if you want to integrate ISO management systems that aren’t written in the same high-level structure?

Well, any two management systems can be integrated to help reduce duplication, resources, etc. It just takes a bit more time to identify those areas of cross over that can be shared between the management systems. By mapping the business processes aligned to the management systems, you will identify these common areas, common documents, forms and checklists and resources. Then you can effectively combine the two systems together.

Whilst embedding the integrated system, you will find areas that don’t combine as easy as first thought. This is to be expected, but on the flip side, you will find areas that weren’t identified as ‘combinable’ in fact actually do. Consistent monitoring over the first 12-24 months will see your integrated management system settle and deliver the benefits you were expecting, even if it takes a bit more time to begin with.

 

Written by Ted Spiller, CertiKit’s Compliance Consultant. Ted has helped many organizations with their integrated management systems over his varied career. Ted is an expert in many ISO management systems; he is a Lead Auditor for ISO9001 and ISO14001 and Auditor for ISO45001 and ISO22301.


We’ve helped more than 4000 businesses with their compliance

Testimonials

The sample documents are very rich in their scope. Our attorneys have reviewed our edits and can find no fault with what is presented.

Institute for Supply Management
USA

View all Testimonials