In today’s business environment, organizations are expected to a wide array of requirements from their customers, regulatory agencies, investors, local communities in which they operate and their own employees. These requirements are continually evolving, and organizations must adapt their way they conduct their business operations to address market and social accountability expectations.
Organizations are under constant pressure to demonstrate improved performance in their operations and for the products and services they provide. confidence to interested parties. In response to these demands, organizations have created a formalized set of processes and interacting elements that enable the organization to achieve its objectives, commonly referred to as a “management system”. The management systems are typically based on internationally recognized management system standards published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to serve as the foundation to base an organization’s processes and procedures.
Over the past 25 years, organizations have successfully implemented these requirements to assist them in ensuring the quality of their products (ISO 9001), identify and control the impact of the their operations on the environment (ISO 14001) and mitigate or eliminate the occupational health and safety risks of their work activities to their workers (ISO 45001). Organizations have sought and received recognition by independent certification bodies or CBs to attest to their internal system meet the requirements of standards.
And this is where the complexity begins. In many organizations, each of these management systems were developed and managed separately for a variety of reasons including available resources and timing among others. While improvements have been realized, independently operated management systems cannot sustain continual improvement. Independently operated systems have the potential to cause operational inefficiencies due to the development and operation of duplicate or parallel systems that dilute the effectiveness of valuable and limited resources. Independently managed systems also present the real potential for conflicting requirements to developed and passed down to the workers of the organization thereby creating confusion and frustration which undermine credibility and detract from the very goal these systems were intended to achieve.
Organizations need a single, integrated business management system (IBMS) to simply and clearly define their day to day operations, is easily understood by their employees and at the same time satisfies all of their business and customer requirements as well as those of interested parties. The current structural revisions to these ISO standards, utilizing Annex SL as their foundation support and facilitate the development and implementation of a truly integrated business management system to maximize and sustain the creation of true business value.
As with any change, there will be resistance by the organization. In order to overcome resistance, organizations should think of the integrated business management system as an overarching umbrella which provides the framework for the organization to:
- Improve their performance
- Effectively manage their risks
- Ensure the organization consistently meets customer needs
- Provide a safe workplace
- Minimize their environmental impact
- Improve the organization’s capabilities to meet its compliance obligations
Integrated Management Systems – A Framework for Business Success
An effective integration of existing management systems requires a planned and methodical approach. The integration project will require the organization to commit to investing the necessary resources to ensure success. A typical integration project would include the following steps listed below. Several of these steps could be condensed or eliminated based on the maturity and status of the current management system(s).
- Establish Organizational Commitment to provide the resources and structure to establish, implement and maintain the IBMS
- Determine the Scope and Purpose of the IBMS in order to determine the what operations / locations will come under the discipline of the IBMS and to formally document the objectives the organization’s wishes to achieve as a result of the IBMS implementation
- Conduct a gap assessment of the current systems clearly identifying (a) gaps (b) areas where further action to achieve integration is required, (c) risks and opportunities of integration, and (d) areas where current processes can leveraged to meet the requirements
- Develop IBMS Project Plan – identifying actions required to address any gaps, and to identify responsibilities, resources, timeframes etc. for a successful implementation. The plan will be used to manage the project and to monitor and report on progress
- Establish the organization’s context to determine external and internal issues relevant to the organization which can impact the intended outcomes of the IBMS
- Establish / integrate / apply IBMS planning methods process to take action on the identified risks and opportunities and to identify the relevant compliance obligations
- Establish the IBMS Policy to define the commitments of the organization
- Define the objectives, targets, and actions to achieve the objectives to support the commitments of the IBMS Policy
- Develop the required IBMS documentation to operate the organization’s processes in an effective and efficient manner. Utilize the environmental significant aspects, job hazards analysis and risk assessments, compliance obligations and mandatory documented information to prioritize document development
- Determine the required operational controls / monitoring and measurement resource identified from the documentation activities
- Develop emergency preparedness plans / contingency plans from the information collected from the IBMS planning activities
- Conduct training needs analysis / review of competencies and develop the required training plans / awareness sessions for the organization’s personnel at all levels
- Establish and implement a communication strategy for both internal and external interested parties
- Establish and implement monitoring and measuring protocols to determine what needs to be monitored and measured and define the methods used to ensure valid results
- Define and implement the internal audit program to objectively determine the current status of the IBMS
- Establish and implement incident, nonconformance and corrective action system to establish the method for investigating and controlling incidents and nonconforming products, services, and activities
- Conduct Management Review and continual improvement to evaluate the effectiveness of core IBMS processes
- Develop the IBMS sustainment and improvement plan
Developing, implementing and operating an integrated business management system requires the involvement and commitment of the organization’s leadership, the focus must adopt a process-based approach to ensure the IBMS is effective at meeting the needs of the business rather than simply addressing the requirements of the standards.
The business case for integration is clear and benefits of integration include:
- Efficiency with the aim to reduce duplication and complexity and reduce the cost of operations
- Improved organizational performance
- Supports a proactive approach to control the risks to the business
- Improved customer (internal and external) customer satisfaction
- Reduce / eliminate potential conflicts between different systems
- Improve the clarity and understanding of requirements for all members of the organization by creating one, coherent and comprehensive operating system
It is important to be able to identify and communicate the benefits of integration, not just from a larger business perspective, but also the benefits to be realized by each member of the organization. Leadership must create a culture within the organization to continually reinforce why adherence to the IBMS is critical to the achievement of business objectives and how individual job functions and responsibilities contribute to the realization of these objectives. The IBMS provides the “how” the work is to be performed in an organized and consistent manner.