What is an Integrated Management System (IMS)?
Before we look at integrated management system development, what is an integrated management system (‘IMS’)?
An IMS is a system that integrates all of a business’s policies, processes, and procedures into one unified management framework with teams using the same documents and following unified processes. Learn more about the basics of integrated management systems here.
Key Challenges with IMS Development and Implementation
It is not hard for companies to clearly see the benefits and value of having an integrated management system, however, there can be challenges and complexity when it comes to development and implementation.
Having commitment and buy-in from every individual within an organization is essential to the success of IMS implementation, in particular upper management and key stakeholders. The management team will share their key insights into business operations and gather and collate input from their teams to assist in making decisions with key stakeholders.
Before attempting to develop and implement an IMS, ensure that adequate resources are available for the project. This includes human resources as well as things like software and hardware resources.
Complicated Document Management
Some industry requirements can be highly complex, particularly where health, safety, and the environment are concerned. This can complicate document management needs and make the IMS development process more challenging.
IMS Elements and Functions
Before we look at the actual process of developing and implementing an IMS, take a look at the below list of the elements and functions that they generally incorporate to give you a good understanding of what documentation you need to be developing and including in your IMS.
- Process manuals and company policies;
- Company structure and responsibilities;
- Objectives and goals;
- Work instructions;
- Document control;
- Emergency response procedures;
- Performance indicators;
- Monitoring and measuring resources;
- Critical analysis; and,
- Internal and external audits process.
Developing and Implementing an Integrated Management System
Below we take a look at an excellent workflow for IMS development and implementation, provided by Rodger Holdsworth in his publication ‘Practical Applications Approach to Design, Development, and Implementation of an Integrated Management System.’
IMS Development: 6 Guiding Principles
Lastly, there are 6 guiding principles for IMS development which we have included in the table below to assist you in the IMS development process.
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