Integrated Management System (IMS)

Discover what an integrated management system is, the benefits of using one, the types of systems, and the standards associated with an IMS.

What is an Integrated Management System?

Integrated management systems (IMS) are designed to integrate all current systems in place within an organization. That way, the organization can work as a singular unit towards the same goals, increasing efficiency and productivity within different teams.

Most of the time, organizations look at their systems as separate units. When this happens, there can be unforeseen conflicts between different systems that can affect productivity and efficiency. By integrating management systems with each other, organizations can unite teams and work as a singular unit.

When organizations consolidate all information and processes into a singular system, they can reap many benefits. Aside from boosting efficiency and productivity, an IMS can reduce overhead costs and offer many other benefits compared to running individual systems parallel to each other.

Benefits

An IMS is designed to be a centralized solution for organizations. It allows them to consolidate all their processes and systems into a single system while ensuring that every process adheres to international standards.

When companies manage multiple systems parallel to each other, there’s a high chance of redundancies and duplications. This can result in the organization taking more time than necessary to accomplish different tasks and spending more funds than needed. On top of that, this can lead to employees having to do more work.

So, an IMS allows you to eliminate certain redundancies and duplications in your process. That way, the workers do less while accomplishing more, and your business gets to save money on overhead costs.

Additionally, employing an IMS within an organization allows you to streamline various processes and greatly boost efficiency.

But the benefits of using an IMS don’t end there. Here are more benefits that organizations may receive by adopting an IMS:

  • Eliminate all unnecessary processes that cost the business
  • Ensure that all processes adhere to ISO standards
  • Enhance and optimize the existing systems
  • Streamline internal auditing processes
  • Enhance internal and external communication

What’s Included in an IMS?

An IMS may look different for every organization. However, here are some of the systems that you’ll commonly find consolidated in an IMS:

Environmental Management System (EMS)

An EMS is a system in place to ensure that organizations are continuously working to improve their environmental performance and reduce their impact. These systems follow the ISO 14001 standard for environmental management systems. 

Safety Management System (SMS)

Also known as SMS, these systems are for improving an organization’s health and safety performance. This is to ensure employees, customers, and everyone else involved in operations remains safe throughout the entire process.

Food Safety Management System (FSMS)

As the name suggests, an FSMS is commonly used in the food industry to ensure customer and employee safety. 

Energy Management System (EnMS)

These systems are in place to manage an organization’s consumption. An EnMS is there to make sure that the organization only consumes rough energy to accomplish its processes, reducing waste in the process.

Information Security Management System (ISMS)

These are systems that show how organizations should manage their information security to ensure that the organization’s and customers’ data is as safe as possible.

Integration of Management System Standards

One of the primary goals of an integrated management system is to ensure that the organization’s processes adhere to different standards. The exact standards the organization follows can vary greatly depending on their industry and operations. However, here are the most common standards used for crafting an IMS.

ISO 9001:2015

ISO 9001 pertains to quality management systems (QMS). These are systems designed to ensure that organizations reach certain quality standards in their products consistently. This standard includes requirements for personnel, training, facilities, services, and equipment. 

Obtaining ISO 9001 certification is largely seen as the first step in implementing quality improvement within an organization.

ISO 14001:2015

As mentioned earlier, the ISO 14001 standard is in place for organizations wishing to put up an environmental management system. This certification is essential for any organization looking to establish and implement a proper EMS.

ISO 45001:2018

ISO 45001 is a new standard geared toward Occupational Health and Safety. The standard provides the framework for reducing employee risk, improving overall safety, and creating safer and better working conditions within the organization.

FAQs about Integrated Management Systems

An integrated management system consolidates multiple management systems to allow for a more streamlined and efficient process within an organization. A QMS, on the other hand, is a singular system in place to ensure that all the organization’s products meet certain quality standards.

There is no certification for an IMS, but there are various guidelines in place for different management systems that organizations must take into account when building an IMS.

The six elements of integrated management include:

  • Systematic management
  • Standardization
  • Organizational lLearning
  • Strategic, tactic, and operational integration
  • Reducing bureaucracy
  • Continuous improvement

Implementing an integrated management system involves properly consolidating all current management systems in place to reduce redundancies. From there, organizations must conduct training, gap analysis, and an internal audit and look to continuously improve the systems currently in place.

Leon Altomonte
Article by
Leon Altomonte
Leon Altomonte is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. He got into content writing while taking up a language degree and has written copy for various web pages and blogs. Aside from working as a freelance writer, Leon is also a musician who spends most of his free time playing gigs and at the studio.