Integrating multiple management systems can provide businesses with a more coordinated approach to addressing growing numbers of organizational concerns and responsibilities. This integration can be accomplished prior to implementing a management system or after implementing any number of systems. Once accomplished however, an organization can realize enhanced planning, accountability, and reduction of costs.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has published a handbook that outlines methods and approaches for performing these integrations. This handbook also illustrates the potential benefits to an organization performing these implementations.
The Growth of Management System Standards
In recent years management systems have been created to address the growing arenas of business involvement. These arenas include quality, compliance, information security, energy, and environmental management. Many of these standards are industry specific but they all share similar formats. These standards include:
- ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems
- ISO 13485 Quality Management for Medical Devices
- AS9100D Quality Systems – Aerospace – Model for Quality Assurance in Design, Development, Production, Installation and Servicing
- ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems
- ISO IEC 27001:2013 Information Security Management
- ISO 37301 Compliance Management Systems
These and other widely adopted international standards adhere to fundamental quality management principles that include a process approach to their specific areas. As such they allow for organizational continuous improvement.
Reasons to Consider Integration
There are numerous benefits in integrating multiple management systems. These benefits all lead to developing flexibility in adapting to new requirements and addressing the concerns of interested parties.
Management systems share common requirements such as policies, processes, and resources. They also share in activities such as planning, training, management review, internal audits, document control. Reducing duplication of these requirements and activities can increase efficiencies.
If systems are operated separately, they can work against each other and create confusion. A single policy that incorporates all of the organization’s objectives will facilitate consistency and avoid inter tier frictions.
Integration of management systems can streamline processes by reducing the amount of personnel to maintain the system. It allows for cross-functional teams that can breakdown inter tier barriers.
Reduction of Costs
Maintaining multiple systems requires people, resources, and time, all of which relate to the bottom line. Coordinated systems can consolidate assessment and audit functions processes which can yield better efficiency.
Optimization of Processes and Procedures
Every process in an organization is interdependent with other activities and requirements. Performance of a regulatory process will incur the necessity of assuring that information exchanged maintains confidentiality, integrity, availability. An action to address an environmental compliance risk should not compromise customer satisfaction. These drawbacks can be avoided by optimizing processes and procedures to accomplish tasks across tiers.
Consolidation of Audits and Assessments
Functions, like audits and assessments, can be combined to reduce efforts spent in the maintenance of systems. Aside from saving resources by performing these activities multiple times, consolidation can provide information of how well linked processes work together.
Better Management Decision Making
Integrating multiple management systems reduces redundancies and allows for more consistent performance across areas of interest. This increase in performance also extends to upper management. Because processes are more interrelated, functional and departmental barriers are lessened. This results in better communication.
Decision making is further enhanced by assessments that are conducted on cross linked activities. These assessments provide a more wholistic picture of an organization’s performance. Better data in leads to better decisions made. These better decisions thereby can have a more positive effect across the board.
Tailoring an Integrated Solution
There are many factors to be considered when implementing an integration of standards. Key among them is establishing which standards are to be used and what is the priority of those standards to the organization’s goals and interested parties. Other factors include specific objectives and processes that have been selected for integration. These variables will define the scope of the integration.
Decisions can also be made as to whether implementation is to conducted in one exercise or incrementally. These decisions can be made based on the size of the organization, the required resources for implementation, and required time for completion.
Once the scope of the project has been defined, the interrelation of processes can be mapped clause by clause with the selected standards. While there are variances from standard to standard the intent of the clauses is the same. This allows the clauses to be combined to follow the requirements for both standard and the involved process.
This is of particular importance when integrating the plan, do, check, act components of a standard. Proper implementation of these clauses will provide accurate monitoring of the process in question. This in turn will allow for effective management decision making and create more positive effects as the system matures.
To effectively combine management standard, tailoring must be executed that addresses how each standard requirement fits into the overall direction of the organization. This can be accomplished through mapping. This mapping will eliminate the creation of separate standard based focuses in the organization. This will minimize redundancies and maximize synergies.
There are several approaches to mapping. One such approach is the matrix technique in which the requirements of the standards are mapped against an existing management system. Another approach is to overly common requirements and then linking them with the corresponding components of a management system.
CVG Strategy Experts
Our Exemplar Global Lead Auditor Consultants can help you with integrating multiple management systems. CVG Strategy has prepared, trained and implemented management systems for manufacturing companies in many business sectors.
Our quality strategy allows clients new to Quality Management Systems to rapidly implement a tailored system, because everything we do as consultants is processed based. Our Quality Experts have experience with ISO9001:2015, AS9100D, ISO 13485:2016, ISO 27001:2013 and Association of American Railroads (AAR) M-1003 and can readily deliver compliant procedures and work instructions.
CVG Strategy is a consultancy offering coaching, mentoring, training and program development focused on areas including Business Process Improvement, ITAR and Export Compliance, Cyber Security and Product Test and Evaluation.