An integrated management system (IMS) combines all related components of a business into one system for easier management and operations. Quality (QMS), Environmental (EMS), and Safety (OHSMS) management systems are the ones most often combined and managed as an IMS but you can integrate any of the ISO management system standards.

What’s in Common?

It makes sense to integrate management standards because approximately 30% of the requirements in ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and AS/NZS 4801 or ISO 18001 are the same. They all, for example, require procedures that explain how you manage:

  • Documents.
  • Records.
  • Reviews of the system by management.
  • Internal audits.
  • Non conformances.
  • Corrective & preventive actions.

If you wrote a separate procedure for each it would result in at least 6 procedures x 3 standards = 18 procedures just to cover the points above, not to mention an awful lot of repetition.

So you can see I’m not talking about separate systems joined together at the hip, I’m talking about an integrated management system with linkages so that similar processes are seamlessly managed and executed without the duplication of documents, time and effort. I’m talking about saving money!

What  are the Advantages of an Integrated Management System?

Integrated management systems can provide significant advantages:

  • Identification of areas where there may be duplication of effort.
  • Facilitation of better decisions by providing a more complete view of the impact of the quality, environmental and work health & safety programs on business performance.
  • Development of objectives and plans that don’t t compete or contradict, and are consistent with business needs.
  • Better planning and allocation of available resources.
  • Reduction in the amount of documentation and the provision of all relevant information in one place.
  • Faster and hence less expensive certification audits.

Most importantly, all of the above means that the implementation and operation of the system costs less.

If you’d like some guidance or need a sounding board please email me at Alternatively, visit my website where you’ll find my Top 5 Essential Tips for the Quality, Environmental and OHS Standards.

 All the best – Liz