What is an Integrated Management System?

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An Integrated Management System (IMS) integrates all of an organisation’s systems and processes into one centralised framework, with each function aligned to work as a single unit with unified objectives.  The aim is to improve performance across all company sectors while maintaining the variety of compliance demands.

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Integrated Management System Example (1)

The benefits of an integrated management system

The benefits of the IMS over the traditional approach where standards and regulations are managed individually in silos is considerable, for example:


Some years ago ISO recognised the problem and produced ‘PAS 99 Integrated Management Systems’, but IMS still didn’t catch on.  In 2012 ISO decided that maybe the solution wasn’t a single standard; but instead continue with many specific standards but establish a consistent structure, format and wording that all the management standards would follow; so Annex SL was created.


While the Quality Management System pioneered the use of a structured approach to documenting company strategy, behaviours, and work practises from the early 1980’s, the compliance environment has mushroomed. With the standards for Health & Safety, Environment, Risk, and Security together with industry standards having been developed, the complexity to manage these simultaneously has proven to be hugely difficult to control.


As such, the risks of non-conformance can damage customer relations, expend hard-earned cash on rectification and effect company reputation.


The benefits of adopting an IMS are significant, such as:



  • Reducing duplication within multiple standards by harmonising process to standardise work practises
  • Provide greater visibility of all compliance demands across the organisation, improving individual responsibilities, and supporting company governance
  • Improving Accountability: One of the key challenges of Business Assurance professionals
  • Simplifying Bureaucracy by identifying redundant, inefficient compliance related practises
  • Realigning resources from mundane low-level compliance chores to value-adding tasks that improves efficiencies

The costs of silo’d compliance management can be significantly reduced when the integrated approach is adopted. With less resource time being wasted on managing individual standards, harmonised processes replacing duplicated documents, and the greater transparency provided for the compliance landscape, further optimisation becomes available.

How do you implement an integrated management system?

Implementation of an IMS requires the development and implementation of a strategy for change based on management commitment, employee involvement, sustainability and external stakeholder engagement.


The following steps can be taken to implement an IMS in your organisation:


Step 1: Define your current business issues and decide what you want your IMS to achieve


Step 2: Set measurable targets for improvement that can be used as benchmarks against which you can measure progress over time


Step 3: Identify key business processes and documents, both inside and outside the organisation, that need to be managed to support those requirements.


Step 4: Identify the current state of each process and determine gaps between that state and the required state for compliance with internal or external requirements.


Step 5: Develop goals with specific actions linked to them – this will help you identify priorities and determine how resources will be allocated


Step 6: Develop policies that support the new vision and values of the company including its strategic goals, objectives and targets


Step 7: Develop plans that describe how these policies will be implemented within departments or divisions within the organisation

Which industries/sectors would benefit from an integrated management system?

It’s important to remember that the purpose of an IMS is to help run a better organisation by improving performance while maintaining compliance demands. There are a multitude of sectors and industries that could benefit from implementing an IMS, for example but not limited to, engineering, defence, transport and energy.


Basically, any organisation where the existing management system or lack of one is causing performance issues such as staff duplicating work, could benefit from implementing a process-based management system or IMS.  

The Agility System integrated management system

The Agility System IMS software combines powerful elements to control process, documents, risk, and compliance. Unlike traditional quality management systems, the agility system software’s process-based approach with integrated risk complies with ISO 9001:2015 standards.


The integrated system improves communication, collaboration and knowledge sharing, which results in more efficient work routines and improved coordination of activities between disciplines and departments.  

Peter Shields
Peter Shields

With extensive experience of Quality Management, Risk & Compliance in the Energy, Nuclear & Defence industries since 1979, Peter formed BusinessPort in 1996 to specialise in Process-based Management Systems delivering both Performance and Compliance.

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