What is an Integrated Management System? 4 Tips to Keep in Mind

Implementing an integrated management system can eliminate repetitive data that can bog down business solutions and damper operational performance.

Organizations can streamline daily procedures by consolidating information from all processes into one centralized solution. However, companies must first understand how to implement a quality management system successfully.

Benefits of an Integrated Management System

An integrated management system (IMS) is a single centralized solution that collects and aggregates all systems within a business while meeting all international organization for standardization (ISO) requirements. Depending on the processes integrated, the IMS may have to abide by environmental, health, or safety ISO certifications.

While many companies already have systems established to meet these various standards, oftentimes, there are duplicate solutions in place. This can be a source of hidden costs for the business and creates more work for employees.

When a systems integrated management is introduced, all ISO standards are combined and addressed altogether to ensure the IMS meets requirements. By consolidating these processes, a business can significantly reduce the clerical work needed to review, record, and audit multiple solutions.

Implementing an IMS provides businesses with several benefits, including-

  • Eliminating unnecessary processes
  • Guaranteeing all ISO quality standards are met
  • Enhancing data management efficiency
  • Optimizing the use of existing systems
  • Gaining more cost-effective certification
  • Streamlining internal audits
  • Improves availability for other operations
  • Improves internal and external communication

Examples of Integrated Management Systems

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An IMS creates a framework of several collaborating systems, some of which may include-

1. Quality Management System (QMS)
A quality management system is a set of mandatory procedures, terms, and policies for handling any business operation. These operations may include production, development fulfillment, and customer service requirements. Examples of ISO certification and other regulations in QMS include-

  • ISO 9001 QMS
  • ISO 13485 Medical Devices
  • IATF 16949 Automotive
2. Environmental Management System (EMS)
An environmental management system pinpoints and improves a company's eco-friendliness. ISO standards within EMS include-

  • ISO 14001 EMS
3. Safety Management System (SMS)
Also known as OHSMS, safety management systems define and enhance an organization's health and safety performance. An example of ISO regulation in SMS include-

  • ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems
4. Energy Management System (EnMS)
An energy management system determines and optimizes a company's energy use and effects. ISO certification in EnMS include-

  • ISO 50001 EnMS
5. Food Safety Management System (FSMS)
Food safety management systems verify that businesses are following all mandatory food industry health guidelines to ensure the best products for consumers. Examples of ISO standards and other regulations within FSMS include-

  • FSSC 22000 Food Safety Certification
  • ISO 22000
  • SQF
6. Information Security Management System (ISMS)
Information security management systems define how a company can organize and optimize its information security. An example of ISO standards in ISMS include-

  • ISO 27000 Internet Security Management System

4 Tips for Successful System Integration

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It can easily become overwhelming when implementing an integrated management solution. Outlining a plan for system integration projects can help businesses better understand IMS complexities and benefits. Companies can optimize their solution by-

1. Addressing All Security Concerns
Business management systems hold sensitive information and can face repercussions if there is a breach in security, especially since many software also have mobile apps that allow users to check data via smartphones and other portable devices. While this additional platform makes accessing data more convenient, it requires unique protection to keep information secure. Therefore, businesses should address all of their safety concerns with the IMS provider.

For device users, security management such as a unique password, fingerprints, and geolocation can limit data exposure. Even monitors inside the business facility can be protected by only granting access to those with specific identification. However, regardless of where the information is retrieved, all pulled information should be encrypted to ensure it cannot be stored on external devices.

2. Utilizing Modern Integration Tools
There are several integration systems and methods available on the market, so businesses should understand which option best suits their needs. Generally, there are two types of integration tools; data synchronization and process-based integration.

If data synchronization is wanted, then a company can implement an ETL tool, which extracts, transforms, and loads information to blend data from several processes. If a business would benefit more from an automated workflow, a process-integration tool can combine all established systems so they function together. Third-party functions are also available so businesses can communicate with external vendors and clients.

3. Performing Regular Maintenance
In order to achieve continual improvement in operational efficiency, management must perform routine quality checks and maintenance on their integrated systems. Otherwise, technical issues, such as failed functions and data errors, can limit rather than improve business performance.

Therefore, systems should use confirmation features that send alerts or messages to the user when data transmittal is successful. This function ensures the integration is efficiently aggregating all processes.

4. Weighing the Benefits With the Cost
IMS can be expensive and require significant resources and labor to implement. However, organizations should look at it as an investment that will pay itself back in due time. In the long run, system integration saves businesses labor and maintenance costs by automating data sharing and system functions. This solution also enhances functionality, streamlines daily procedures, increases customer satisfaction, and ultimately allows management to focus on expansion efforts.

Understanding the advantages of an integrated management system can help organizations determine how to enhance their overall functionality. Through data and solution synchronization, organizations can save time on system management, allowing them to dedicate valuable resources to other projects.