As many more organisations around the world realise the benefits of ISO certification, we’re seeing a trend towards implementing integrated systems.
Really, there’s no surprise there, as it makes complete sense – especially for SMEs.
Whereas once it was really only the major companies that followed ISO guidance and pursued certification, many small to medium-sized organisations are now following suit.
You might wonder why they would bother – but there are actually many benefits for SMEs, especially if they want to do business with those larger companies.
Such is the power and importance of ISO these days, that major businesses use strict criteria in choosing who they work with, imposing quality and environmental requirements on all in their supply chain.
Tenders and Contracts
Government departments, too, expect the same so, if an SME wants to chase tenders and major contracts, they need to implement these changes.
Whilst advisable for any sized organisation, it especially makes sense for SMEs to consider integrated management services.
At the end of the day, all ISOs have one thing in common – best practice. But different ISOs do vary. And as logical as they are, it can be hard for an SME to implement.
That’s why there are professional management system consultants – such as Standard Consulting – and that’s why they recommend implementing integrated systems.
Indeed, so supportive is ISO of integrating its standards, that it has published a handbook, The Integrated Use of Management System Standards.
Putting the tools in place, combined with professional integrated management system training, offers huge benefits and advantages. Research shows that those who have gone down that path save up to 30% in time and money, by reducing duplication.
When you’re an SME, a 30% saving is worth having!
Very often the basis of an integrated system is ISO 9001, the quality assurance standard. To this can be added environmental standard ISO 14001, and health and safety standard, OHSAS 18001.
It’s important to remember that any business currently trading and managing to keep its doors open, must be using a management system of sorts, however basic. Introducing ISO management systems, and achieving integrated management system certification are just the next steps.
System integration reduces documentation and paperwork; it allows for joint audits, and it simplifies handling, with transparency a certainty.
That transparency benefits all stakeholders in the business, especially staff, and that’s more than likely to lead to a boost in production and a much happier and fulfilled workforce.
When you’re the owner of an SME and therefore already wearing several hats, the thought of implementing new processes might seem daunting. But with the help of an integrated management services consultancy, it is actually very straight forward.
A group such as Standard Consulting run a range of training modules to suit every business, and will work within your budget and your timescale.
Integrated management system training can be done on or off-site, and tailored to match the individual business.
With their help, the system will combine all related components of your business into one, for quick, easy and efficient handling.
But the aim is not only to meet the criteria of the standards, but also to regularly review and improve procedures.
We briefly mentioned audits earlier. Audit seems to be one of those words that sends a shiver down your spine, even when you know you are doing the right thing!
With all the goodwill in the world, and even with your own internal auditors, this process will cause some disruption. Certainly by introducing an integrated management system, you can minimise that disruption.
Another advantage is the ability to improve an organisation’s overall performance. Commonly, some sections of a business will be performing better than others, largely because they are all being treated as separate entities within the whole.
With an integrated management system we are not looking at each section in isolation, but considering it as a whole. Often, the reason one section is not performing at its best is due to that isolation.
By joining forces and coming at it as a whole, it’s far easier to implement changes that will drastically improve the overall performance of any organisation.