For many, the initial costs incurred when introducing integrated management systems can be discouraging, deterring them from considering such a pursuit any further.
If you’re in this position, it can be easy to completely write off integrated management systems as a viable option for your organisation. However, by doing that, you could be missing out on the opportunity to gain a competitive edge, improve your existing processes, reduce ongoing costs and achieve long-term business success.
Rather than purely focusing on now, when it comes to integrated management systems, it’s important to look to the future and, ultimately, to see the time, money and resources spent on improved compliance as an investment.
All too often, organisations fail to see the inherent value in systematic, integrated robust and maintainable management systems. If you’re having trouble justifying the costs then, before dismissing this route altogether, make sure your decision is an informed one.
Many businesses find that, by streamlining processes and integrating numerous standards, they can reduce costs and boost their overall return-on-investment. But why is this the case and, more importantly, how can you make this goal a reality?
By deepening your understanding of integrated management systems and how they can work in your favour, you’ll be taking the first step towards bringing your organisation’s compliance objectives into fruition. More specifically, in this article, we’ll be looking at how integrated management systems can help your business enjoy the cost savings that come with lean, streamlined processes.
What is an Integrated Management System?
Depending on your organisation’s unique context, goals and the like, you may be striving towards the achievement of ISO certification with multiple standards.
Maybe it’s a requirement for securing certain tenders, or you simply want to demonstrate your business’ commitment to performing at the frontier of your industry – whatever the reason is, integrating your ISO systems is the way to go. This can help you minimise duplication, achieve greater consistency across operations, improve efficiencies and, of course, reduce costs.
ISO certification provides a credible, reliable representation of your organisation’s compliance with a specific standard’s requirements, as well as any relevant legislation. Integrating your management systems is a practical, systematic way to enjoy the benefits of a variety of standards at the same time, all the while effectively managing risks and compliance requirements across all operations and organisational levels.
Most commonly, those who are looking to integrate ISO standards will be aiming for improved compliance with occupational health and safety (ISO 45001), environmental (ISO 14001) and/or quality management (ISO 9001) standards. For example, companies may get compliant to ISO 45001 and ISO 14001 and establish a HSE management system that integrates the two standards into one streamlined system.
When it comes to satisfying numerous standards simultaneously, you need to do more than just ‘tick the boxes’. Your business will need to adopt a holistic, formalised and value-driven approach that effectively streamlines systems in a way which makes them easy to maintain.
However, in achieving your compliance objectives and beyond, the responsibility of improving systems can’t sit solely with top management. While strong leadership is important, all employees, regardless of their position in a business, need to recognise their role in successfully implementing and maintaining systems. Thus, instilling a culture of continual improvement and compliance excellence among team members across all organisational levels needs to be a priority.
Getting the Most Out of Your Efforts
When becoming ISO compliant with two or more standards, while it may be tempting to look for opportunities to ‘cut corners’ along the way, it’s important to understand the implications this can have.
First and foremost, well-executed management systems will be far more effective and maintainable than those that are focused solely on meeting the minimum requirements. If you’re interested in reducing costs over time and getting the most out of your efforts, you need to fully commit to your organisation’s compliance from the get-go.
If you fail to establish strong strategies for managing risks, improving efficiencies and the like, as well as complying with your chosen standard’s requirements, you’ll likely struggle to pass the certification audit.
This simply drags out the certification process, making your development of integrated management systems all the more costly in relation to time, money and resources. Thus, when looking to achieve and maintain compliance with numerous ISO standards simultaneously, focusing on developing value-driven, well designed, high-quality systems from the start is key.
Reducing Costs With Integrated Management Systems
Integrated management systems can deliver a range of benefits for your business, one of which is, as mentioned, cost reduction across a number of key areas. But why is this the case, and how can you lower costs by investing in improved compliance?
1. Get Compliant With Multiple ISO Standards at a Lower Cost
Once your organisation has paid the upfront cost of setting up a single system from scratch and, subsequently, achieved ISO certification, each integrated system that follows will typically cost a fraction of the price.
After having made your initial investment and, ultimately, becoming compliant, you’ll have laid solid foundations. This is particularly true of ISO 9001 which is an excellent place to start if you are intending on getting compliance with additional standards. This means that, if you decide to integrate additional ISO standards into your existing management systems, this process will likely be far easier and cheaper than before.
While different ISO standards aren’t interchangeable, fundamentally, they’re highly standardised and share a number of common elements. Thus, integrating two or more systems or, in other words, implementing them simultaneously, can be as much as 33-50% cheaper than introducing the same systems separately.
Beyond this, with streamlined, integrated systems, you can avoid duplication and reduce documentation. This makes monitoring, maintaining and continually improving your business’ processes less of a drain of resources, saving you time and money. In addition, when it comes time to audit your integrated management systems, you can do so efficiently, as overlapping areas can be reviewed concurrently.
2. Boost Productivity & Improve Efficiency
Through the implementation of numerous standards concurrently, you can focus on improving performance across multiple key business areas, helping to effectively boost efficiencies and overall productivity.
Continual improvement plays an important role in an organisation’s ability to achieve and maintain ISO certification. Even after developing integrated management systems, organisations need to regularly monitor their processes, looking for potential areas of improvement. In doing this, businesses can eliminate inefficiencies, all the while taking proactive action to minimise waste and further optimise operations. This, in turn, means they can strategically allocate resources, time and money and alleviate any unnecessary costs.
Of course, all of the above also impacts productivity, as companies have the opportunity to pinpoint any downfalls in their existing processes and, subsequently, introduce viable solutions for resolving them. In doing this, they can refine their systems and address any risks before they evolve and, consequently, turn into expensive mistakes that require rework, imposing significant financial burdens.
In addition, with clearly defined focus and direction, employees can dedicate their time to meaningful, value-driven tasks, rather than wasting time on those that are unnecessary or out-dated. This will, in turn, keep you well on track to achieving and surpassing your business’ organisational objectives, as staff member’s time is optimised and individuals work cooperatively and productively towards shared goals.
3. Avoid Costly Fines & Penalties
After having achieved compliance with two or more standards, you can rest assured that your business is operating in accordance with any relevant legislative requirements.
This is because, in standards such as ISO 45001 and ISO 14001, a business’ regulatory obligations are directly addressed. Thus, once awarded ISO certification, organisations can be confident that, in meeting the standard’s guidelines, they are also in compliance with any laws that apply to them.
But how does this relate to reducing costs?
By actively working to maintain their adherence to legislation, organisations can avoid the financial burden of costly fines and penalties, which may otherwise arise if they aren’t taking the time to effectively manage risks and the like. This is particularly important when it comes to workplace safety.
Through the effective, systematic maintenance of their integrated management systems, businesses can ensure that they stay up-to-date with the latest legislative updates and; thus, that they don’t make avoidable, costly mistakes that could hinder their ongoing feasibility and future success.
Take the First Step Towards Improved Compliance
If you’re ready to start working towards introducing and integrating numerous ISO standards, get in touch with our team of consultants today.
We understand that, at first glance, the prospect of becoming ISO certified may be overwhelming and daunting. With extensive experience in compliance, we can provide you with expert guidance every step of the way, taking the difficulty out of achieving your certification objectives.
With consultants located across Australia, we can assist you in integrating a variety of standards, such as ISO 9001, ISO 45001, ISO 14001 and ISO 27001. For more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.