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Interview question - IMS (Integrated Management Systems) a necessity or an ISO mistake?

#1
Recently, I attended an interview and was asked about the Integrated Management System (IMS) and my takes on it. The main question was, if I am in favor of having an IMS (14001-18001/changed-27001 etc.) or keeping various MSs separate? I m a quality guy, and never interfered within other standards or their governance. However, I don’t think that there is an organization that takes quality seriously would opt for this combination. I can not find that intrinsic relationship between the HSE, IS, BS etc. to link them together just for some theoretical advantages. What if we don’t have an ISO standard- how can these be combined?!

I’d love to hear your input on this matter- and if there is an IMS which department/function shall own it, and how would this affect the organizational structure? Shall other departments reporting for instance to a QHSE one- can we have the IT reporting to the QHSE? And how internal audit will be coordinated?

Thank you,
 

somashekar

Staff member
Super Moderator
#2
Our body, our homes are an integration of several systems. So is an organization.
Different standards are published and are evolving (including the revisions) which have a clear focus on specific systems.
Make no mistake.. ISO is not talking about your integration of management systems.
ISO has taken steps to align the standards in a way to help user to effectively integrate.
If your organization is mature and well co-ordinated, you will better integrate your systems and therefore have an effective IMS.
The ownership and reporting structure is all for you to make it the way its effective and workable to you.
When your internal auditors are well trained about how your IMS is functioning, and how it can be effectively audited, you will certainly overcome your roadblock and see the whole new approach to internal auditing.
 

RoxaneB

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#3
Recently, I attended an interview and was asked about the Integrated Management System (IMS) and my takes on it. The main question was, if I am in favor of having an IMS (14001-18001/changed-27001 etc.) or keeping various MSs separate? I m a quality guy, and never interfered within other standards or their governance. However, I don’t think that there is an organization that takes quality seriously would opt for this combination. I can not find that intrinsic relationship between the HSE, IS, BS etc. to link them together just for some theoretical advantages. What if we don’t have an ISO standard- how can these be combined?!

I’d love to hear your input on this matter- and if there is an IMS which department/function shall own it, and how would this affect the organizational structure? Shall other departments reporting for instance to a QHSE one- can we have the IT reporting to the QHSE? And how internal audit will be coordinated?

Thank you,
Personally, I believe that an integrated management system is the way to go. Why? Because in order to add value to the organization, the management system needs to be the foundation of the organizational culture. A company shouldn't do something because of quality or safety or the environment, but because it's an integral part of who they are. To separate the systems creates silos within the organization - "So, for quality issues, I do this...but for safety issues I do that." The value comes from one system, one business language, one approach - "So, for any issue, this is what we do."

How can you say that there is no relationship? We have seen numerous matrices showing alignment between the standards. And should there be a clause that is unique to a standard, great...there is still alignment between the overarching sections. For example, corrective action. Corrective action is corrective action - identify the issue, determine the root cause, take action to reduce likelihood of recurrence. It shouldn't matter if it is safety or quality or environment. In fact, INTEGRATING the systems/tools means one source of data for all issues, allowing for a more holistic analysis of the organization's events.

As for reporting, in a former organization where I worked, we had a department called Management Systems. There were dotted lines to the Quality, Environment, Safety, etc. groups, but we were responsible for the development of the tools and processes that would enable a common business language on a global scale. And yes, it worked. Having assessed sites in Canada, U.S.A, Brazil, and Chile, the use of common tools and adherence to our management system requirements was prevalent across the board.
 

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#4
Mohammed,

Your organization may comprise many subsystems. But working as the system manager advising the boss you are concerned about the effective interaction of these subsystems in fulfilling your organization’s mission.

In my experience, the most effective way of doing this while removing wasteful duplications is to focus on the one management system that is necessary for success.

For example, make sure the environment is considered when designing new products, services and processes. With so many of the procedures being handled by A.I. we must avoid the “hairball” by addressing all aspects including infosec while designing the computerized version.

Indeed I cannot see a good reason for keeping the subsystems separate except, perhaps, to win a turf war or two.

Best wishes,

John
 
#5
Totally agree, Roxane and John. IMS is kind of redundant. Really, a company has only one MS. All aspects are already integrated in any company (at least in part), but maybe not very well. The new ISO standards high-level structure has made life much easier over here.
 

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#7
Historically, many ISO systems were written around the standard largely ignoring the organization's business system.

It would be interesting to learn how many of those separate subsystems (written mainly for certification) still survive today and how many became part of the business management system delivering assurance of quality, security, business continuity, social responsibility and profit.
 
#8
It would be interesting to learn how many of those separate subsystems (written mainly for certification) still survive today
John
Unfortunately there are still too many! Perhaps if ISO themselves recognised that 9001 etc needs to be written in such a way as to make it clear that an organisation has one management system and the standard is aimed at managing the quality aspects of that system. Business processes are "how work is done", and each standard focusses on a specific aspect of those processes. There are no "QMS processes" as such.
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#9
There are no "QMS processes" as such.
Amen. It is utterly frustrating that the ISO TC's have been failing to make this point clearer after so much confusion over the years. The "QMS processes" are the components of the organization's business/operational processes that deal with product conformity and/or customer satisfaction. It should be THAT simple.

Every ISO Standard should make ABUNDANTLY clear that their respective disciplines relate to the organization's BUSINESS PROCESSES. The HLS requirement in 5.1.1.c) needs to be CENTRAL to the implementation of any discipline specific standard. Until all people understand that, we will be sub-optimizing subsets of the organization's systems.

511c.GIF
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#10
It makes sense to integrate 14001 with 18001/45001 because those things that are harmful to people are very often also harmful to the environment. Auditing them at the same time also makes sense. Control of chemicals would be done the same way. There would be additional requirements such as equipment inspections for safety and industrial hygiene, but those can be audited to 18001/45001 alone.

Whether it is an "ISO mistake" to integrate them or not is purely up to the organization and its business interests. There is no single right or wrong answer.
 


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