For those organisations who want to implement management systems to more than one of the recognized standards, the introduction of the 10 clause format which was mandated by Annex SL makes life considerably simpler than it has been in the past.

With all management system standards now utilising the same clause structure, and 65% of the text of the standards assessed as being ‘the same’, organisations now have a real chance to build a system which crosses the boundaries between disciplines and blends the organisations activities into a seamless system.  The standards go further than just being ‘of the same structure’ as they all place a further requirement on the organisation – that of integration into other business processes.

An organisation which has achieved certification to ISO9001 can now expand to incorporate, for example, ISO14001 by considering how the expansion of scope impacts on issues such as their context – the focus for quality may have been on customer service, but what does the organisation see as it’s environmental context?  Risks and opportunities identified for quality can now be expanded to look at environmental issues too.

Some of the considerations may raise tensions which need to be debated – for instance an organisation which prides itself on having a sales force who are out and about making calls on customers might, when expanding their thinking into environmental issues, find that this presents the organisation with one of their biggest environmental aspects – emissions to air from their vehicle fleet.   Do they discourage sales visits to be environmentally friendly or maintain them to keep the customer focus. What are the risks and opportunities of each scenario? What are the needs and expectations of relevant interested parties? Factor in safety too – if the organisation is pushing for 45001 compliance and starts reviewing accident statistics which show a high rate of vehicle incidents what impact will that have on their decision making processes?  How is the organisation going to define, set and deliver objectives which address all these issues?

What we see here is the reality of the ‘joined up thinking’ which comes from true system integration, and we welcome the positive changes which organisations can make through the integration of their management system activities.