Benefits of an Integrated Management System (IMS)

By: Auditor Training Online | Posted 06 Jul 2020

Note – this is an excerpt from the Auditor Training Online Facebook Live, which you can see in full here


What are the benefits of an Integrated Management System (IMS) for a business?

Why would a business implement an integrated management system over just a single management system?

Firstly, let me explain what an Integrated Management System (IMS) is – it is a management system with more than one discipline or standard.

For example, the most common IMS systems are quality (ISO 9001), environment (ISO 14001) and OH&S (ISO 45001), this is what we refer to as the Big 3.

Of course, you can have other disciplines or standards as well, such as Food (ISO 22000) or Information Security (ISO 27001). 

Now, back to this list of why a business would have an IMS...

Customers require it

Some businesses are required to have an integrated management system as part of tendering for work. They are influenced by their customers to implement and demonstrate that their business’ activities, products and services within the determined scope are covered by an IMS, which is traditionally quality, environment and OH&S.

In fact, this is normally the first reason why an organization follows the path of implementing a management system. 

There are so many common elements so why not?!

I always say that ISO 9001 is the underpinning knowledge of any system. A quality management system has all of this overarching framework that you can then plug in all of the unique elements from OH&S and environment.

Just a few of the common elements across these standards are internal audits, objectives, policies, management review. Now of course even across those common elements there will be unique information required for each discipline or standard, however, this is also about having or following common processes.

For example, if you are conducting an internal audit or a management review why not cover off on all of the systems while you are at it? This is so much easier now too with all of the ISO standards following the same high-level structure from clause 1 through to 10 – so much easier to integrate!

Build up from a single system

If a business is going to start out with a single system it is normally a quality management system (ISO 9001), although I have sometimes come across OH&S as the first system too, but not as commonly as quality.

I do have a client that I have been working with for over six years now and they started off with quality and the director is now so excited by what quality has done for him, his business, his team, suppliers and customers that he is now also implementing ISO 14001 and ISO 45001. He’s not being influenced to do so by his customers – he just WANTS to do it as he has lived and breathed the benefits of having a single system and now wants more!  He’s even now enquiring about Information Security (ISO 27001). 

The beauty now is that he has a solid management system already in place and now, as I said earlier, he just has to ‘plugin’ the additional and unique requirements of the other Standards. 

There will be some unique areas such as emergency preparedness and responses, legal or compliance requirements, hazard identification and environmental aspects for example. But there are so many more common areas already with a system in place, it will be easy for him to implement.

Promote your business!

You can promote that your business is tripled certified, that his business takes quality, their product and their customer seriously, as well as their OH&S and environmental requirements.

They could have this up on their website, socials and include in tender submissions also. 

Flexibility

And to finish off I do want to say that if you’re not falling in love with what your management system is doing for your business – if it’s not flexible and agile – then it hasn’t been built well.

It means that it is not flexible and is not fitting into what you actually do. It’s the opposite, the business is trying to fit into something that does not suit. This means it is not integrated into your business processes and is a separate clunky system that works on its own and has its own mind. 

If this sounds like you, come and join us at Auditor Training Online and we can help you with one of our integrated management system courses or even the Qudos Club integrated management system toolkit.


Jackie StapletonJACKIE STAPLETON
Jackie is a Founding Director of Auditor Training Online. She loves to help others and share her excitement about auditing, consulting and management systems bringing to you her own experience and stories as a certification auditor.