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) … Read more...

To integrate, or not to integrate… Part 2

A consideration of the relative advantages and disadvantages of an IMS is a sound starting point to evaluate whether the time has come to integrate management platforms, or whether integration would generate no immediate or long-term payoff.

  • Cost efficiency: The aforementioned standards share several common requirements, including document control, auditing and training. An obvious cost-reduction arises when a business addresses each of these areas with shared software and processes. Also, registrars tend to provide discounts when they are able to audit two or more management systems together, as opposed to one at a time.
  • Time efficiency: While the logistics of implementing an IMS may be complicated at the onset, the relative simplicity of managing EHSQ systems together on an ongoing basis will ultimately save time and frustration.
  • Corporate Brand: Most Businesses understand that a negative EHSQ ‘event’ (for example, a spill, a product recall or an employee
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To integrate, or not to integrate…

Though environment, health, safety (EHS) and quality management issues are often handled by individual management systems, the guiding principles behind each of these areas share a common link — W. Edwards Deming. The American quality guru is most commonly associated with the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle, an iterative problem-solving process used to resolve quality issues and improve business performance. But it is important to remember the foremost EHS and quality management standards — including ISO14001 (environment), OSHAS 18000 (health and safety) and ISO 9001 (quality) — are all rooted in the PDCA or Deming Cycle.

Businesses that encounter regular overlap between these areas ought to consider the potential benefits of an Integrated Management System (IMS). An IMS coordinates all of an organization’s procedures, systems and processes within one complete framework and, in an ideal scenario, allows the organization to operate as a seamless whole, with unified objectives across all departments.

But a … Read more...

‘If we don’t pass the audit, you can fire me’: Achieving the flawless EMS audit

 

Joey Ebanks, EHS and Training Manager for Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC) and Intelex client, dropped by the Intelex offices in Toronto, Canada this week to make a presentation to Intelexians on how CUC is using Intelex software, and how it has boosted the performance of its EHS programs.

Below is an excerpt from his presentation, an excellent anecdote that reflects Joey’s confidence as he entered an audit of his environmental management system (EMS) last month:

“In April we had a surveillance audit. The auditor came back in to look at 50 per cent of our EMS system. And I actually took the weekend off and went to Fort Lauderdale, had some fun. My boss, our VP, was very upset that I was not there, making sure everyone was ready for the audit. But I was absolutely sure we were ready. In fact I said to him, ‘I’m 99 … Read more...