Integrated management systems are a common sense response to the proliferation of management systems, and to changes in manufacturing supply chains.

Integrated systems are a response for companies with multiple certifications. There are common components in many management systems since each system has to stand on its own. The potential for duplication of effort increases, especially as the number of installed systems gets to three, four or five. Integrated systems rationalize this duplication while preserving the unique elements of each system.

Changes in manufacturing supply chains also are driving the development of integrated systems. Operations among companies in some manufacturing complexes have become so intertwined that it is easier to evaluate the entire “super-facility” than each piece individually.

For example:

  1. In discrete product manufacturing, supplier facilities are co-located with prime manufacturer facilities. An integrated management system approach treats the entire complex as a super facility.
  2. In process industries, some large chemical facilities have been sold in pieces to different companies who focus on particular markets and products. Physically, the pieces of the facility are interoperable, although they have differing ownership. An integrated management systems approach starts with the super-facility, and then works with individual pieces only to the extent that they have unique operations.

Integrated management systems are a natural response to changes in the market. But only registrars with the long-term perspective of certification from pre-ISO time can best combine the essential elements to create an efficient integrated management system.