Imagine a business without any kind of management system. It would be chaotic, with poor communication between departments, and it would likely not be running smoothly. An integrated management system is the solution to this problem! IMS is an efficient way designed to help businesses integrate their operations such as inventory, purchasing, manufacturing, and distribution.
This allows organizations to streamline their processes and reduce costs. They enable companies to use their time and resources more efficiently and help them maintain consistency in quality across all operations. Integrated Management Systems also provide managers with data on the company’s performance to make better decisions about how to run their company more efficiently. This type of strategy is especially beneficial for small-to-medium-sized companies since they typically have limited resources but need information from all areas of their operations.
Integrated Management Systems Standards
The use of Integrated Management Systems (IMS) has been a growing trend in various industries. As a result, many organizations have been adopting Integrated management System to manage their business operations more efficiently and effectively. Here are some IMS standards that are widely used across industries.
ISO 9001 is a quality management system standard that ensures products or services are consistently produced at the same high level of quality. It also provides guidelines for continual improvement toward excellence. To become certified, an organization must undergo a rigorous evaluation process to meet ISO standards and provide evidence of its ability to do so. Achieving ISO 9001 certification is the first step to ensure that your business operates in a way that consistently meets customer and regulatory requirements.
ISO 14001 is a protocol created by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to encourage organizations to assess how they can lessen their environmental impacts while also improving efficiency in general. It helps companies to set clear goals and objectives and identify their effects on the environment.
Quality Management System is an international standard for quality management systems in the environment, health, and safety at work. ISO’s technical committee developed it on environmental management systems (TCEMS). The process includes all aspects of managing a business, from conception through production or services to final disposal or recycling. The goal of the standard is to create a framework that will help organizations implement a comprehensive occupational health and safety management system to improve employees working conditions.
Benefits of integrated management systems
- Integrated management systems provide a direction for a company to manage its supply chain, inventory, and operations more efficiently. This saves time and money by avoiding the manual entry of data into different databases that are not connected. It allows you to improve productivity and manage compliance with regulatory requirements while delivering higher levels of customer satisfaction.
- IMS enables organizations to identify and mitigate different types of risks related to finance and data security to ensure the organization’s continuous development. This enables the organization to make changes based on the requirements of clients and stakeholders.
- Integrated Management system can align the standards and procedures to achieve an objective. For example, you can have an integrated audit system instead of spending on 2-3 different audits to meet the requirements of each standard. Simultaneously there can be a single procedure for training, documentation control.
- An integrated approach will create consistency in achieving the objectives of an organization, making the management systems less complex. This will also reduce any departmental barriers and enhance communication and decision-making.
Limitations of Integrated management systems :Companies that implemented this strategy found significant benefits in managing their operations more efficiently. However, there are also some downsides to using this type of system just like any other strategy:
- One of the significant disadvantages of Integrated Management System is that it requires a lot of time and money to implement. Although it is worth the investment in the long run, this can be very difficult for small business owners who are just starting.
- Due to the whole system being integrated and anything goes wrong in one area or department, it could cascade down into other areas causing more problems than before.
- Scalability measures how well an IT system can grow and expand with time without sacrificing performance or quality. As the number of users increases, so makes the demand for storage space and processing power; integration management systems must support these requirements as they grow.
Best practices to integrate several standards
- The standards need to be clearly defined before integrating them along with their level of integration. Any similarities between different standards must be identified and implemented together. For example, there are standards like ISO9001, 14001 which are integrated into one system. Determine the objectives, identify any concerns that need to be addressed and create a process map.
- Once you create a process map, identify a process owner for each process level and select appropriate tools to support the system. Use software tools like document control to ensure compliance with an organization’s policies and procedures.
- Any measures taken should be aligned with the primary objectives of the system and must be applicable based on the organizational size and complexity. The management needs to review its procedures if it is not consistent with the business plan.
- In various organizations, departments manage different standards like ISO9001 and ISO14001 for environment and quality. They should collaborate and work closely to successfully implement the system since specific issues may arise due to people having multiple backgrounds.
- Organizations should implement IMS within their scope and capabilities. A person responsible for one standard, if asked to manage another standard, may lead to poor implementation.
- Integrated Management System documents should be written in a language that is easy to understand. Organizations that find it difficult to implement initially can refer to ISO guidance documents on the environment, health and safety, and quality management, which explains the ISO requirement and examples of its implementation.