What is an integrated management system (IMS)?
Integrated in this sense means combined – therefore uniting all internal management systems, such as quality and environmental, to form one core business system to achieve your intended objectives. This means that anything affecting business outcomes must be part of a single management system, so that all processes and documents are united.
What are the benefits of integration?
- Meet all standard requirements with one set of policies and procedures
- Audit more than one system at a time to save money and resources
- Improve overall efficiency by removing the need to duplicate tasks
- Clearly defined roles and responsibilities highlight common objectives
- Make it easier to continually improve all your management systems
- Embed quality/sustainability/performance throughout the organization
How can organizations implement an integrated management system?
Companies have two options when integrating management systems: conversion and consolidation (merging). Conversion involves adding new processes to an existing management system (e.g. Quality – ISO 9001) and revising documents in order to cover all management system requirements. Consolidation involves merging two systems and integrating other systems during formalization, allowing organizations to merge any documentation where it supports the same process.
Integrated management systems must share similar processes for:
- Documented information
- Internal audits
- Management reviews
- Corrective actions