What is an Integrated Management System (IMS)
An IMS integrates all of an organization’s systems and processes into one complete framework. This allows an organization to work as a single unit with unified objectives. Most organizations focus on management systems individually, in silos and sometimes even in conflict. When you work within an IMS, your organization implements the OH&S system throughout the entire organization.
With the IMS, the different branches of an organization will work together, with each function aligned behind a single goal of improving the performance of the entire organization in regards to the OH&S management system. When an organization is able to accomplish this, they will have a coordinated effort which is greater than the sum of its parts and is not only more efficient but more effective. IMS provides a clear, uniform image of your entire organization, how they impact each other and the associated risks. Efficiency is gained from less duplication, and it becomes easier to adopt new systems in the future.
Common standards which are simultaneously certified through an integrated audit include:
- ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems, as well as specific sector requirements like:
- ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems
- Your organization’s impact on the environment
- “Outside” the building
An IMS is designed so that an organization’s management team can create one system that can be integrated throughout the entire organization to meet their objectives. From managing employees’ needs to monitoring risks and hazards, from reducing inefficiencies and maximizing resources, an integrated approach can help achieve objectives.
Is it right for you?
Preferably, an organization would have an IMS that addresses all of their objectives at once. However, it is difficult to meet the needs of the various management systems operating within a single business.
Integrated Management is relevant to all organizations. Integrating several management systems into a unified system is efficient and the best approach. Ideal candidates are those who have been using one or more management systems and are contemplating the introduction of other systems into the mix.
The Benefits of an Integrated Management System
An IMS can benefit an organization because of its increase in efficiency and effectiveness. An IMS also reduces cost and minimizes the disruption caused by several external audits. Also, it shows your commitment to increased performance, employee and customer satisfaction and continuous improvement.
Contrary to many other types of standards, management system standards cover multiple aspects, levels, and functions of an organization and, therefore, practicing these standards can have a substantial impact on how an organization operates and manages business processes. Moreover, organizations are applying to not just one, but to many management system standards to satisfy their own needs as well as those of external stakeholders.
The book acknowledges that there is a market need for separate management system standards addressing different aspects, issues or risks that organizations need to manage. It provides guidance on how organizations can apply the different standards in a combined way, integrated with their business processes.