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What is an Integrated Management System and Why Integrate?

April 23, 2019

Businesses implement management systems for a number of reasons. The most common reason I’ve come across is to either reduce waste or improve efficiency and therefore manage the risk to key aspects of the business.


Larger businesses and some smaller businesses implement multiple management systems. I see this a lot in industries like construction or manufacturing, where they have a Quality management system and a Health and Safety management system. Increasingly, I am seeing Environmental management systems being added as businesses become more aware on the impact they have on their own and greater environment.


Many of the core business management systems now available through ISO certification, are written in the High-Level Structure, meaning they have the same core 10 main clauses, integration becomes much easier. They also have other common features such as: 


  • Policies

  • Processes and Procedures

  • Documented Information



    But why Integrate?


Integrating management systems can reduce the work load on managing individual management systems. It reduces duplicated documented information. Internal Auditing can be integrated reducing the number of audits and providing a more holistic overview of departments. By integrating existing or additional management systems you strengthen the whole management system which will make if more effective and efficient, which in turn leads to increased benefits such as:


  • Reduced costs

  • Increased performance

  • Greater risk management

  • Better employee engagement

  • Increased customer satisfaction

  • Reduction in annual external audits by the certification body

  • Greater Continuous Improvement


The integrated management system is an effective solution to reduce duplicated effort such as reports and audits, reduces conflicts and, as seen above can add significantly to savings in both cost and time.


Some of the Current ISO Standards using the High-Level Structure

  • ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System

  • ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System

  • ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety Management System

  • ISO 27001:2013 Information Technology: Security techniques, Information Security Management System

  • ISO 20121:2012 Event Sustainability Management System

  • ISO 22301:2012 Business Continuity Management System

  • ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management System

  • ISO 41001:2018 Facility Management System     


Future ISO standards will be written in the same format enabling their integration with management systems.


But what if you don’t have 2 standards written in the High-Level Structure, or your own management system?


All management systems can be integrated, with those that aren’t written in the High-Level Structure, then either your management team or, a consultant can map the 2 or more management systems, identifying the common areas, looking for cross overs and duplication. Then effectively ‘splice’ them together. It takes longer, but the outcome is the same as are the benefits.


To find out more on how your business can integrate your management systems:


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