Introduction to Integrated Management Systems

Almost all management standards expect organizations to establish
management systems. These include at least the following:

  • ISO 9001 Quality Management Standard
  • ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard
  • ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Standard
  • ISO 22301 Business Continuity Management Standard
  • ISO 27001 Information Security Management Standard
  • ISO 13485 Quality Management Standard for Medical Devices
  • IATF 16949 Quality Management Standard for Automotive Sector
  • AS9100 Quality Management Standard for Aerospace and Defense

As a result, organizations have been forced to implement multiple systems
that usually overlap and often contradict one another. This has created much
confusion and a lot of inefficiency. Because of this, people have been trying
to find a way to create a single system that would allow organizations to
accommodate all current and future management system standards.

Even ISO recognizes that this is an important problem that should be solved.
That’s why they developed Annex SL: Harmonized approach for management
system standards
. Annex SL establishes “identical clause numbers with the
same sequence, clause titles, text, common terms and core definitions”

for all management system standards.

While Annex SL does make the problem a bit easier to solve, it doesn’t go far
enough. It doesn’t tell us exactly what an Integrated Management System is and
what it looks like and it certainly doesn’t tell us how to establish one. That’s where
we come in. But before we introduce our approach, we need to clarify a few things.

For us, a Management System (MS) is a network of interrelated and interacting
elements that organizations use to carry out activities and continuously improve
Management systems facilitate improvement because they are iterative: they are
cyclical; they repeat themselves. Improvement is possible because all aspects
of the system are continuously measured, monitored, audited, analyzed, and
reviewed. That's how organizations improve and that's why management
systems are both popular and powerful.

Management system elements include policies, procedures, programs, processes,
practices, projects, plans, objectives, rules, roles, responsibilities, relationships,
contracts, agreements, documents, records, methods, techniques, technologies,
tools, equipment, as well as all the resources that support these elements.

When you look at the elements that make up a Management System, you'll notice
many familiar items. That's because most mature organization's already have most
of these elements. This should make developing your Integrated Management
a bit easier than you might have assumed.

Integrated Management Systems are generic Management Systems that
accommodate all current and future management system standards and allow
organizations to manage their activities in accordance with all of these standards.

We identified the elements that make up an Integrated Management System (IMS)
by looking for all the things that are common to all management systems. That’s
how we created our Framework for Integrated Management Systems and our
Integrated Management System Development Plan.


How to Establish an Integrated Management System

Overview of Framework for Integrated Management Systems

Overview of Integrated Management System Development Plan

Plain English Integrated Management System Development Plan

Plain English Framework for Integrated Management Systems

Plain English Integrated Management System Audit Tool

InfoGraphics for Integrated Management Systems

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Updated on August 18, 2021. First published on June 10, 2021.

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