Integrated Management Systems


All organisations have a management system, even those that profess that they do not. It may not have been documented but no organisation can operate unless personnel understand what is required of them. This may be
communicated to them by a form of training, at meetings, or through simply
performing tasks on a regular basis.

In a well-run organisation, management will define the management system
framework using variations of the following techniques:

• Defined vision and mission
• Defined goals / aims / objectives
• Defined policies and values
• Defined scope of supply
• Defined processes
• Training programme
• Defined instructional material
• Specified competencies
• Meetings or team knowledge


Integrated means combined; putting all the internal management practices into one system but not as separate components. For these systems to be an integral part of the company's management system there have to be linkages so that the boundaries between processes are seamless.
An integrated management system (IMS) is a management system which integrates all components of a business into one coherent system so as to enable the achievement of its purpose and mission
What integration is not
For something to be integrated it does not just sit next to the other components - it has to be fixed to the others so as to make a whole.
Therefore, putting the financial system, the quality system and the environmental system into one book of policies and procedures is not integrating management systems. Creating one national standard for management systems is not integration. Buying a software package which handles quality, safety and environmental documentation is not integration. Merging disciplines such as putting the quality manager, safety manager and environmental manager in one department is not integration. But neither are integrating just quality, health, safety and environment an IMS, as there is only one system in any business. It just so happens that some parts may be formalised and others not.

Why should management systems be integrated?

There are several good reasons for integration, to:

• reduce duplication and therefore costs
• reduce risks and increase profitability
• balance conflicting objectives
• eliminate conflicting responsibilities and relationships
• diffuse the power system
• turn the focus onto business goals
• formalise informal systems
• harmonise and optimise practices
• create consistency
• improve communication
• facilitate training and development

Integrated Management Systems and Certification

The continued development of management system standards has reinforced the call for an integrated approach to systems certification. The tide of change however, has almost been too fast for the certification industry, which is only now considering the implications of assessing a potentially infinite variety of management systems.

Organisations have but one hierarchy of management and it therefore seems logical to adopt one management system that contains all the necessary methodologies and aims to meet all management obligations.

An integrated management system is the most effective way to discharge an organisation’s obligations to its employees, customers and the wider community. One of the key measures of success with regard to the implementation of an IMS is the effectiveness of the process that has been developed for continually improving the system. If this is achieved successfully, the system will provide a good return on the resources committed to developing and installing it.

At this time there is no known accredited certification scheme for integrated management systems.

Organisations seeking certification need to carefully select a suitable certification body. There must be a strong, healthy relationship (mutually beneficial), which will assist in the direction and development of the IMS.

We are currently involved with a number of organisations moving them from current position into an integrated approach to management information.

Some organisations have already achieved a range of certifications to management system standards whilst others have no such certification. The common factor is that they understand their business and are able to translate customer requirements into effective and efficient actions.

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