The integration of regulatory ISO standards into the business management system has become a great strategy for many organisations for better management of operations. It is most commonly seen that organisations get their core management system integrated with the ISO 9001 standard for quality management with a combination of the ISO 14001 for environmental impacts and the ISO 45001 for occupational health and safety management.
Many organisations are also concerned about information security risks and so get the ISO 27001 standard for information security management system. There are other crucial standards too like the ISO 31000 for risk management which an enterprise can integrate depending on the needs or goals of the businesses.
To sum it up, the integration of ISO standards is useful for businesses because it merges all essential functions of a business. It results in the development of an integrated management system which consolidates all practices, data or information, and management controls. One single system helps the organisation to take necessary actions in every aspect (i.e. quality, environmental risks management, workers’ safety or others) and keeps everyone else in the organisation aware of the actions as well.
There are inherent benefits of having your management system integrated with multiple standards. They include:
• Reduction in costs due to streamlined management of all operations
• Better visibility by top management team of all functions and easy tracking of any issues, errors or inconsistencies in the system
• Increased agility in overall management and improved decision-making
• Less effort in integrating other related/industry-specific management standards
• Seamless and cost-effective internal audits due to unification of all management systems
If you have considered integrating your business management system with any of the ISO standards, this next section can help you with that. There are many additions or changes that you need to make in your management system beforehand.
Key Considerations for Integrating ISO Standards into Your Business Management System
Inclusion of Appropriate Policies
Depending on the ISO standard or standards that you need to implement, you must create appropriate policy or policies. For instance, for integrating ISO 9001, you need to create a strong quality policy defining all your objectives and scope for quality assurance. Similarly, you should get an environmental policy according to your environmental risks or prevalent impacts. In short, make a definite policy for each standard integration.
Policy formulation is important to include the guidelines or regulations of the ISO management standard and plan the integration of the system in the right direction.
Employee Training and Awareness
While your employees are acquainted with a general business management system, things are going to change for them if you are integrating certain ISO management systems in it. It is hence necessary to make your employees aware of the respective standards and their requirements. They need to understand how those standards whether it is ISO 9001, ISO 14001 or any other would benefit your business processes and improve your performance. A comprehensive and professional training procedure must be inducted to help employees understand your purpose for getting an ISO management system and whatever policies it includes. It can help them to decide how your existing management system can be adjusted or modified to include the ISO management system or systems.
Proper Implementation Approach
When it is a matter of ISO standards implementation, the procedure has to be well organised and to be formally done. This implies that everything should be documented and everyone, starting from top management officials to lower-level executives, should be involved in the implementation process. Most organisations follow a PDCA approach or procedure for implementation of the ISO management systems. The approach is as follows:
• Plan: Defining scope, objectives and policy of the ISO management system (quality management, health and safety management, information security management or environmental management system).
• Do: Organisational management should take responsibility for communicating and training employees, ensuring documentation and then executing the implementation procedure.
• Check: The management should monitor or assess the management system after integration and check for nonconformities with the standards to be achieved. They can also perform an internal audit to have clear documented records of the noncompliance issues and decide corrective actions accordingly.
• Act: The management next should act to initiate the changes or corrections in the system and improve it for full compliance with the concerned standard whether it be ISO 9001, ISO 45001 or ISO 14001 standard, or all of them.
By considering all these three aspects, you can assure the ISO management standard or standards are integrated seamlessly into your existing management system.
Conclusion: Is it Worth Integrating ISO Management Standards?
To know whether it is worth integrating any ISO standards into your business management system, first see if your existing management system is operating effectively and helping to reach your main goals. Most organisations have quality commitment, minimisation of workplace risks, environmental safety, information confidentiality, asset management, and risks minimisation as their key goals. If your organisation also has these goals and your present management system fails to meet them, it is worthwhile to get a consolidated management system that addresses each goal. Besides, you can save costs as well as time in the long run with a uniform or centralised management system integrated with essential management systems in compliance with ISO standards.
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