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Progress your Career with IMS Training

22 November 2016
Understanding the importance of an Integrated Management Systems and how training within it will help to progress your career in IMS.
My career is going well. I work in the certification industry and I have a very good understanding of ISO 9001, 14001 and OHSAS 18001. So why would I want to train in Integrated Management Systems? Surely it is just a case of mashing together what I already know?

Well that kind of thinking is often the root of the primary failings you will come across in Integrated Management Systems. In reality, they are all too often in fact Combined Management Systems. Knowledge of the individual standards alone is not enough when you are trying to construct or manage a system that brings true benefit to the organization. I like to think of a true IMS as a Business Management System, and that is exactly what is should be. A system that provides ongoing improvement and benefit to the organization, whilst also meeting the requirements of the individual standards involved.

Don’t get me wrong, it would be unwise to enforce and operate a single system that is ‘all singing and dancing’ upon the organization from the off. There are always processes and activities that need to be managed or at least viewed in isolation. However, the likelihood is that those activities or processes are inputs to the greater system that the business is working too. Potentially, it could be detrimental to operate multiple management systems in total isolation. There is common ground that is covered by the likely systems in question. Bringing the separate standards closer together is the first step in streamlining the system as a whole and working towards that integrated utopia.

This brings me back to my original question, why would I need to upskill my understanding of integration when surely; I could take the common process and procedures and simply put them together? 

Well in answer to that conundrum the proof can only be in the pudding. I thought I knew my stuff, and I did. But I know it much better and how I can apply that knowledge much more effectively through embracing the correct approach to Integration. Unlike training in an individual standard, integrated management system training covers multiple aspects, levels and functions of an organization. Therefore the successful implementation can have a considerable impact on how an organization operates and manages its various business processes.

In reality these days more and more organizations are implementing not one, but a range of management system standards. And the likelihood is that these standards are not always implemented or launched at the same time so they will be at different levels of maturity. To understand the best approach to integrate and manage the system of standards as effectively can only make sense. This will help ensure the system you run is as effective and streamlined as possible. 

All that said; I was still sceptical on what exactly I would and could learn from such a course. So what areas would you expect to focus on and take benefit from? Especially to help grow your understanding to an extent that will benefit your organization and in turn your career. The primary areas of focus are through increased efficiency and effectiveness. This is to promote slick operational performance, reduce duplication and likely cost reductions while minimizing the disruption caused by the overall management of the system. A key example would be the interruptions of several internal and external audits. This can be consolidated to one integrated audit approach. It also highlights your commitment to increased performance, stakeholder satisfaction, and continuous improvement.

With a better understanding of an integrated management system, you and your teams can work together more effectively, with each function being more aligned to a more direct goal. Thus improving the performance of the entire organization and benefiting your career.

Essentially the primary increase in my own skillset was the confidence in the ability to move away from operating in individual silos of activity or process. This means that it is easier to have a coordinated effort throughout the business, more clarity in its objectives and quite simply an integrated approach. A good integrated system should provide a clear and concise representation of your entire organization. In doing this effectively greater efficiency is gained simply from less duplication. This then also becomes easier to take on and integrate new systems in future.

So is an improved understanding and increased skillset in Integrated Management Systems a prerequisite? Probably not, however if you care about the organization you work in and more specifically your role within that greater machine. Then consider upskilling, as without it you will likely be on the back foot. 

Author: Dom Fullwood, NQA Sales Manager