To integrate, or not to integrate… Part 4

We’ll conclude our discussion on Integrated Management Systems by looking at the supposed ‘Holy Grail’ of business management: a management system that goes many steps further than simply EHS and quality concerns, and is applied across all business lines, even those outside EHS and Quality realms. This would be a truly integrated management system that could cover areas such as corporate governance, sustainability…basically any business processes and activities.

For example, document control, Corporate Social Responsibility, auditing, and training could be governed along the same integrated management standards. According to Robert Pojasek’s 2006 article in Environment Quality Management, one synergistic or ‘umbrella’ system could enable an organization to ensure the quality of its products…and demonstrate that those products are consistent with the organization’s vision, mission, core values and objectives.”

This idea is based on the premise that, by some means or other, all business activities overlap with some other (if not all other) business activities, so rather than treating each consideration as a watertight compartment, apply the same form of a management system across all

The basic integration of ISHQ considerations could open the gateway to a holistic and synergistic approach to all business concerns, but this can be an ambitious and sometimes fruitless endeavour if the business in question is not of a size and scope necessary to warrant facing the logistical challenges demanded by such an organizational shift.

As mentioned, the essential message is that businesses shouldn’t integrate systems for the sake of integration, but rather when a clear business benefit of integration is identified. That said, if the end goal is a seamless, organization-wide management system, keep scalability at the top of your mind as you evaluate management system options, including software solutions.

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