11 May 2022

What Is an Integrated Management System? (IMS)

Integrated Management System (IMS)

An Integrated Management System (IMS) is a single management system that integrates all the elements and requirements of multiple management system standards into one combined system within an organisation. The integration process combines all aspects of an organizations processes, systems, legal and interested party requirements into an intelligent system that will improve efficiency, streamline operations and reduce operational costs.

An Integrated Management System is scalable and can be built to fit any size organisation from an SME to a multi-location large corporate body.

This merger enables the organisation to combine many of the routine tasks, such as internal process and system audits, KPIs and objectives, document control, record management and management reviews, which will substantially reduce the resources and time needed to manage multiple ISO management system standards.

The bottom line is that an organisation can now implement an IMS that combines Quality, Environmental, Health & Safety and Information Security standards.

So what are the common aspects within ISO standards that make it possible to Integrated multiple standards into one smart system?

The PDCA Cycle

The PDCA cycle is a key operating principle within all ISO systems including Quality ISO 9001, Environment ISO 14001, Health & Safety ISO 45001 and Information Security Management ISO 27001.

The Plan, Do, Check Act cycle enables and organization to ensure that its processes are adequately resourced and managed and opportunities for improvement are determined and acted upon. This four step process can be best described as a model for implementing change within an organisation.

Organizations implementing this model can effectively develop, implement, monitor and improve their business performance. This process is very useful in assisting organizations establishing a continuous improvement culture within their business.


Top Management must determine and assess the risks and opportunities that may impact on the organizations ability to deliver its intended plans. The organisation is mandated to implement actions to mitigate its risks and maximise its opportunities. Organizations must establish a set of objectives taking account of the risks and opportunities that have been identified. The plan should detail interim targets that can be monitored as well as assigning responsibility to key staff members for the fulfilment of the objectives.


The organisation must implement the process as planned in order to fulfil its stated objectives.


Top Management must measure and monitor the organizations actual results  / performance against their planned objectives.


The outcome of the checking activities requires that the business must correct and modify its plans to meet and exceed its stated results. Top Management must plan & implement processes that will deliver continual improvement. Finally, top  management must implement what’s working, continually refine what isn’t, and carry on the cycle of continuous improvement within the business.

But how well will the various standards integrate with each other and is there a common roadmap or framework that will assist with the integration process?This requirement is addressed through Annex SL.

Annex SL and Integration

Annex SL is the document that defines the high level structure for all ISO management systems standards. This high-level structure simplifies and streamlines the implementation of multiple standards within any organization.

The purpose of Annex SL is to ensure consistency and compatibility between various ISO management standards by using common text, terms and definitions. This consistent formatted structure enables organizations to implement multiple standards in a more seamless and simplified fashion.

Annex SL contains the following common sections

  1. Scope
  2. Normative References
  3. Terms and Definitions
  4. Context of the Organization
  5. Leadership
  6. Planning
  7. Support
  8. Operation
  9. Performance Evaluation
  10. Improvement

Benefits of Integration

A successful merger of an organizations management systems can result in the following benefits:

  • Reduced management implementation time and operational costs.
  • Greater integration of multiple standards throughout the organization, thereby making it easier for management and staff to understand and abide by the IMS.
  • Reduced paperwork – procedures, policies.
  • Improved efficiencies.
  • Elimination of duplication – internal audits, management reviews, risk logs, objectives.
  • Reduced audit and certification costs.
  • Improved management, communication and planning processes.
  • Drives commitment to continuous improvement within the organisation.

Get in contact

If you are interested in learning more about the implementation and benefits of  Integrated Management Systems, why not contact us for a fee consultation.

Paul McDonell