The Joy of Integration
A number of organizations are looking into integrating two or more management systems. The systems most often considered are ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001. The benefits of integration are worth the investment, in my opinion, and it’s fairly easy to make a business case to do this.
Reduce the system load
When I talk to my clients about integrating systems, we start by finding out what their business goals are. If their goals can be reached more easily, more efficiently or more effectively from system integration, we put a plan together.
Typically, organizations want to reduce the time they spend ‘managing’ their management systems, and integration helps them achieve this goal. A side benefit of taking the duplication out of 3 systems is the improvement in risk management. This fits right in with ISO 9001: 2015 (DIS) and is generally a healthy approach for any organization.
An integrated system also creates synergy among processes. When an audit team finds an opportunity for improvement, the effect of the improvement gets multiplied across the organization – a bigger bang for your corporate buck.
Why have 3 different Internal Audit processes, document control procedures or 3 Management Reviews? By integrating these and other ‘core’ processes, organizations reap the benefits, and end up with a leaner Management System that is easier to use and more effective. Nothing worse than having to fill in 3 different non-conformance forms for 3 individual Corrective Action processes. There are at least a dozen common requirements across ISO 9001, 14001 and OHSAS 18001. The author has a VENN diagram he will share by dropping him a note at ‘[email protected]’.
One of the first improvements we’ve seen after integrating a management system is an improvement in communication. There are fewer misunderstood messages, both internally and externally. This saves correction time and enhances the organization’s credibility. The right hand communicates with the left.
Workloads are streamlined because more areas are using a common process. Different departments are not trying to figure out how ‘the other guys’ are doing it. This leads to fewer errors, faster throughput and happier customers. The resulting reduction in bureaucracy makes the work flow better, too.
Benefit from integrated Audits
Both internal audits and external, 3rd party audits are more valuable. British Standards Institute (BSI) developed a set of guidelines for Integrated Systems, PAS 99. There’s information on the BSI site (http://www.bsigroup.com/en-ca/pas-99/) – if it looks like it could be helpful, you can purchase a copy there. In fact, you can even get certified to PAS 99, evidence of the effectiveness of your integrated systems. You customers will know that you are a ‘continual improvement’ kind of organization.
Integration will save time spent on duplicate activities, improve the impact of corrective and preventive actions and leave more time for proactive projects, the ones with the biggest payback.
Consider integration as a means to get more value from your Management System!