1. How do I ensure effective design and implementation of IMS?
To ensure this is done effectively, the steps listed below should be followed:
- Define the Business Model and Primary Functions
- Analyse business processes using flow charts, standards and failure mode analysis techniques
- Formulate operational policies which will govern the processes and their inter-linkages
- Develop internal business procedures to control each business process which define who does what and where, when and how Implement the new & improved practices, if required Identify optimum documentation needs by linkage to the control procedures
- Document the system
2. How should systems be integrated?
There are several approaches, which can be taken, depending on an organisation’s current position. However, all systems should eventually share the following processes:
- Management review
- Document development and control
- Monitoring, analysis and review
- Internal audit
- Continual improvement (Corrective and Preventive Actions)
3. What are Integrated Management Systems?
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 business objectives. The integrated approach requires combining all the internal business management practices into one system. For the different systems to be properly integrated, rather than simply being separate systems joined together, there have to be effective linkages so that the boundaries between processes are seamless. The fundamental components of the system include the organisation, resources and processes. Therefore, people, equipment and business culture are part of the system as well as the documented policies and practices.
4. What can be integrated?
Any system, which is required by the effective running of a business, can be integrated either totally or partially under a unified management structure. In essence any system, which has an impact on overall business performance, should be part of the integrated management system.
5. What is required to ensure effective integrated management systems?
To ensure effective systems, the following functions must be performed:
- Risk Assessment- this should address customer perceptions, health & safety risks, environmental concerns & impacts and process failure modes. By having a common approach it will be easier to compare risks occurring in different parts of the business.
- Norms & Regulations Management – to capture norms and regulations with respect to product specifications, environment and health & safety and their impacts on the business.
- Continual Improvement Management – this should focus on specific improvement programmes related to quality, health & safety and environment.
- Stakeholders Awareness – this should address needs of customers, staff and general public with respect to quality, health & safety and environment
6. What is the best approach to take?
Whether an organisation has an existing formal system or not, it is best to adopt the business process approach to management system development. The benefits are that one coherent system can be built which serves business needs and does not tie the organisation to a particular standard. The standards are used to assist identify tasks and processes. This approach starts by looking at the business as a whole and establishing its objectives, mission and core processes which deliver the objectives and achieve this mission.
7. What types of systems can be integrated?
All systems relevant to the business, whether certifiable or otherwise, can be included. These could include: Quality (ISO 9001); Environment (ISO 14001); Occupational Health & Safety (OHSAS 18001); 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); European Directives and CE Markings; Information Security (BS 7799); Quality System Requirements for Automotive Industry Suppliers (ISO/TS 16949); Quality System Requirements for Oil & Gas Industry Suppliers (ISO/TS 29001); Quality System Requirements for Telecommunications Industry Suppliers (TL 9000); and Business Excellence Model (BEM).
8. Why should management systems be integrated?
Integration is designed to:
- Ensure focus on business goals & objectives
- Harmonise and optimise practices
- Reduce risks to the business and increase profitability
- Balance conflicting objectives
- Eliminate conflicting responsibilities and relationships
- Create consistency
- Reduce duplication and therefore costs
- Improve communications
- Facilitate training and development
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