What is an IMS?
An Integrated Management System (IMS) combines all the components of
an organisation into one coherent response to the full purpose and
mission of the organisation.
There exists a multitude of recognised management systems standards
and regulations, addressing different subject areas and components of an
organisation. The objectives in one subject area will mostly complement
other objectives of the organisation, such as those relating to quality,
financial results, the
environment and occupational health and safety. The different management
standards therefore tend to all have a degree of overlap and repetition.
Implementing standards in isolation of each other, in a bolted together
approach, results in duplication inefficiencies and potentially creates
needlessly conflicting approaches. When you want to optimally address
all standards at once and overall best plan the organisation's resources
allocation, then you need to align all the different subject areas and
components to the common organisational purpose.
The notion of an all-encompassing integrated standard is too big and
complex to contemplate. The standards must remain as separate entities,
in a modular form. Instead, it is the implementation response to
the chosen collection of separate standards that effectively
‘integrates’ them into one system. Integration comes about by
introducing a combined practice, in place of multiple separate
Any area or component of an organisation that influences its outcome
or result should belong in the IMS. This means all formal activities for managing
quality, environment, energy, data security, safety, finance etc.
Processes and their documentation should combine into a single coherent system. For example, the quality audit process, environmental audit
process and safety audit process are combined into a single audit
process that simultaneously verifies quality, environmental and safety
Integrated management is a concept wherein functional
responsibilities are dispersed - but not segregated. In an IMS, the
responsibilities for managing quality, for example, is integrated across all functions
within the organisation, in effect acting as one coherent single function.
The QFD approach integrates with the
ISO 9001 approach in two ways. Firstly, ISO 9001
describes best practices in operational delivery processes. It thereby provide some of the
input requirements into the QFD Phase 3 and 4 plans. Secondly, the QFD approach
is itself a sub-system, and process, within the QMS ‘operation’ element.
Design and Operations processes integrated within the ISO High Level
Structure (HLS) model. The system may also integrate other management
system standards. [Note: In the ISO 9001 HLS model, 'Design' is actually
defined as a sub-process under 'Operations'. Design is separated out
here for illustration purposes, but the model remains true to ISO 9001]
International Standards Organisation (ISO) have prescribed a universal
High Level Structure (HLS) and core language to be shared across all its
future management systems standards. The HLS is an enabler of
integration and has been implemented in its
ISO 9001:2015, for example. See more on the implementation of a HLS and
process-based integrated management