The commitment to constantly enhance efficiency has always been one of the thrust of any organization; under pressure to implement management systems that satisfy the various demands from clients to stockholders. Requirements from various list of aspects from Quality to Safety to Environment etc., has to comply with, seems to go on and on.
Traditionally, organizations have focused on establishing management systems that demonstrate compliance with each specific requirement. For an industrial and globally competitive organization, one system that would run the business and addresses all of its objectives at once (be it quality, environment, safety or security) can be achieved. It's called an Integrated Management System.
An integrated management system (IMS) is a management system, which integrates all relevant components of a business into one coherent system so as to enable the optimal achievement of its objectives, targets and programmes. All systems relevant to the business, whether certifiable or otherwise, can be integrated. These could include: Quality (ISO 9001); Environment (ISO 14001); Occupational Health & Safety (OHSAS 18001 & BS 8800); Food Safety & Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP); Ethical Trading Practices (SA 8000); Social & Ethical Accounting, Auditing and Reporting (AA 1000); Investor in People (IIP); Law Society Practice Management Standard (LEXCEL), European Directives and CE Markings; Information Security (BS 7799); Quality System Requirements for Automotive Industry Suppliers (ISO/TS 16949 & QS 9000); Quality System Requirements for Telecommunications Industry Suppliers (TL 9000); and Business Excellence Model (BEM), to name a few. Implementing an IMS is a multi-phased process which involves designing a management system that suits the business model.
The IMS contributes to the sustainability of the business by offering a system that does not only provide a means to focus business energy, but also monitors its progress in attaining the organization's business objectives and targets. IMS addresses various requirements and enables a more streamlined flow of information throughout the organization; eliminating conflicting responsibilities and relationships and creates consistency. IMS improvement goals are monitored monthly, quarterly, and annually to determine its efficacy in creating cost savings and reducing non-conforming products and delivery. Key to success is having clear, simple targets that provide measurable outcomes and milestones along the way.
Instituting IMS takes a more holistic approach, promoting standardization and consistency while allowing room for creativity and flexibility. It involves a greater level of documentation which includes standard operating procedures and work instructions, thus allowing the business to track operations without stifling the creativity that is necessary to build and sustain its success.
Thus IMS, in all its facets, is built to produce efficiency in organizations. Whether an organization has an existing formal system or not, it is still best to adapt the business process approach to management system development.