Quality, the environment, and health and safety are all unified by the concept of risk. Using three separate management systems within one organization is clearly time-consuming expensive and inefficient.
By integrating your management systems, you can minimize duplication align your objectives and reduce costs. An integrated management system (IMS) describes several previously separate management systems grouped together to form a single system. For example, it could combine ISO 9001 (quality) certification with ISO 14001 (environment) certification. A management system is integrated when at least two out of three possible systems (quality, environment and health and safety) are integrated. The different possibilities are:
- Quality + Environment
- Quality + Health & Safety
- Environment + Health & Safety
- Quality + Environment + Health & Safety
The aim of an integrated system is to streamline processes even further and avoid duplication. However, just because a system is integrated does not mean less attention is paid to auditing individual systems. The system must conform to the requirements of the individual standards, in order to maintain a high level of credibility and effectiveness.