Originally posted on LinkedIn by Sithandilizwe Sly Malunga

PART I: What is the Integrated Management System (IMS)?


In addition to delivering profits for their shareholders, companies around the world are increasingly being required to conform and comply with statutory, regulatory and other requirements in order to stay in business.

Statutory requirements compel organisations to comply with local and national legislature e.g. Acts of Parliament, Local Authority By-Laws and related regulations in the regions or countries within which they operate.

Other requirements include but not limited to industry codes and regulations such as UK Corporate Governance Code (United Kingdom), King Code of Corporate Governance (South Africa); national and international standards such as ISO 9001 Quality Management System, ISO 14001 Environmental Management System, OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series etc.; national and international accounting standards and international treaties and protocols such as those emanating from regional and international groupings such as the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), European Union (EU), United Nations (UN).

In practise, an organisation will invest vast amounts of money, time and human capital in order to implement systems that will enable them to comply or conform with the diverse requirements stipulated upon them. Implementing a singular set of requirements can be simple and straightforward and with prudent project management costs are manageable. However, it can becomes complex when an organisation has to implement and comply with two or different more sets of requirements. It usually means two separate projects running concurrently which may result in exorbitant project costs as the projects are managed and funded separately; more time is needed for audits; awareness sessions and other processes related to implementation and maintenance as these should be done separately. As such some organisations particularly regional and global transnational conglomerates are increasingly exploring and leaning towards the implementation of integrated management systems in order to optimise on resource usage during the implementation and maintenance of statutory, regulatory and other requirements as discussed above.


The scope of this article will be limited to the integration of ISO standards/management systems in particular:

  • ISO 9001- Quality Management System- Requirements;
  • ISO 14001- Environmental management systems – Requirements with guidance for use;
  • OHSAS 18001- Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements;
  • ISO 31000- Risk Management -Principles and guidelines;
  • ISO22301-Societal security – Business continuity management systems – Requirements;
  • ISO 50001- Energy management systems – Requirements with guidance for use;
  • ISO 27000- Information technology – Security techniques – Information security management systems – Requirements ;
  • ISO 26000- Guidance on social responsibility; and
  • ISO 22000- Food safety management systems – Requirements for any organization in the food chain.
  • In addition, the article will attempt to show how other requirements, tools and techniques such as the Lean Six Sigma methodology, King Code of Corporate Governance, UK Corporate Governance Code, national and local legislation etc. can be blended into an IMS to drive continual improvement and enhance the effectiveness of compliance controls.


An “Integrated Management System (IMS) is a management system that integrates all of an organisation’s systems and processes in to one complete framework, enabling an organisation to function as a single unit with integrated goals and objectives.”

An integrated management system (IMS) integrates several related processes of an organisation into a single system for simpler implementation, management and maintenance. Most commonly incorporated into an IMS are ISO 9001 – Quality Management System), ISO 14001-Environmental Management System, and Occupational Health & Safety management systems. The approach is not just to link these management systems discretely, but to identify similar requirements and processes and establish how they interact so that they are seamlessly integrated, managed and executed without replication. The IMS model allows for resources common to all the systems to be pooled together and used optimally for the implementation and maintenance of management systems

Drivers for implementation

Organisations will have different reasons to implement management systems in their operations. Common drivers for implementation are wide-ranging and can be classified into four categories namely Enterprise, People, Market and Corporate citizenship. These drivers include but not limited to the following:

In addition, the figure below depicts how different management systems can be applied to specific areas or objectives of an organisation with a view to positively impact stakeholder value.

Benefits of implementing an IMS

The implementation and maintenance of an IMS within an organisation has several benefits. Some of these are listed below:

  • Enhanced compliance and conformity to statutory, regulatory and other requirements;
  • Savings in cost and time as review meetings, audits, procedures for different management system are integrated.
  • Improved competitive advantage;
  • Increased customer satisfaction;
  • Improved profitability and shareholder value;
  • Fostering cross functional teamwork ( No more silos)
  • Business objectives and targets becomes more understandable across all levels of the organisation;
  • Effective cross-functional problem solving;
  • Communication, consultation and participation within the organisation is improved;
  • Duplication of processes, procedures and efforts is eliminated; and
  • Incorporation of additional compliance and conformity requirements is easier to implement and manage going forward.
  • This article will run over six parts with one part published on a weekly basis for the next six weeks.

Part II will cover the implementation of IMS with a focus on process-based and risk –based implementation methodologies. This second part of the article will also explore the different approaches to implementation within an enterprise taking into consideration organisational culture, size of enterprise, nature of risks to which the organisation is exposed to and cost efficiency among other factors.

For Part II of the article please click the link below:

For Part III of the article please click the link below:

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