Friday, August 24, 2012

Integrated Business Management Systems

Within the scope of this article, an integrated management system is considered as a management system encompassing ISO 14001 plus at least one other management system - in a growing number of cases this means ISO9001 and/or ISO18001. Such systems can run concurrently with each other within an organization and are capable of being audited seamlessly to a recognized standard.

Management system integration is still concerned with elements of procedural compliance and considers the broad criteria required to effectively operate a business, such as;

• Management roles, responsibilities and accountabilities
• Business processes
• Deployment of resources, skills, knowledge and technology

These aspects are integrated to ensure that the business delivers its aims and objectives. The objectives of the business include elements of quality, the environment and occupational health and safety. These objectives will often match the requirements of customers and stakeholders;

• Safe and reliable products and services
• Return on investment
• Reliability of supply
• Profitable business
• Fitness for purpose
• Legal compliance
• Environmentally safe product
• Positive image
• Value for money
• Growth

In many ways, these requirements are not met merely through environmental responsibility but by a much wider range of employer care and responsibility. This is key to understanding why organizations integrate management systems in the first place.

Two principal reasons for management system integration are;

1. Reduce costs to the business and add value to processes

Costs referenced herein relate to the most efficient use of management time, including better use of auditors' time. The reduction in management time has significant internal cost benefits, for example, more efficient maintenance of the management systems. The burden on management time within the organization can be reduced if all management system elements can be addressed at the same time.

For example, fees incurred to carry out routine system surveillance can be minimized by conducting a review and audit of the environmental management system (ISO 14001) alongside the quality management systems review for ISO 9001.

2. Reduce business risk

Most forward thinking organizations look at three primary components when considering business risk;

• Quality - what are the risks of supplying products or services that do not meet customer requirements and do not keep up to date with changes - the basic concept of continuous improvement. ISO 9001:2008 reduces this risk.
• Environment - what are the risks of not complying with legislation? News and social media has heightened customer awareness of environmental issues and poor practices and a business risks adverse publicity if it is perceived as not taking its environmental responsibilities seriously. ISO 14001:2004 reduces these risks.
• Occupational Health and Safety - what are the risks of causing injury to the workforce through negligent work practices? These risks range from loss of productive time to civil or criminal proceedings against an employer, with associated financial penalties and reputational damage. OHSAS 18001:2007 manages these risks.

Organizations understand that there are always new challenges and demands to be met when managing any business, especially when viewed against;

• Significant competition
• High customer, stakeholder and community expectations
• Returns on capital deployed
• Regulatory compliance
• Corporate / executive liability

If an organization is to successfully address these challenges, then it needs to be able to draw on all of its management resources - especially when fulfilling the requirements of Quality, Health and Safety and Environmental Standards. Integration of these management standards makes sense and allows common areas of the standards to be managed, making for a more effective use of management time.

In short, the implications and consequences of adopting separate / non-integrated management systems include;

• Actions and decisions are made in isolation
• Staff are presented with too much information, often leading to conflicting instructions which may put the company at risk
• Bureaucracy - how many systems can the organization cope with?
• Lack of ownership
• Poor, erroneous and costly decisions are made due to non-optimization of resources

Alternatively, an integrated approach to quality, health and safety, and environmental management will flush out areas of waste and no-value-added activity, providing an opportunity for rationalization of;

• Documentation
• Auditing and review processes
• Barriers across departments and functions (by their removal)

EMC Business Solutions aims to assist businesses in the development of environmental and quality management systems, providing a platform for sustainable development and business growth.

Find out more at

You can also visit our blog at

Article Source:

1 comment:

  1. Yes, that’s right. It is important that the company does not forget to pause for a while and see if they are still achieving their aims and objectives. In that way, it won’t be too late for them to realize that they have already deviated from their goals. This is also where certification and management programs come in; these play a role in making sure that companies stay on track and keep on doing better.

    Clark Adams