Integrated Management Systems (IMS)

For which companies is an IMS suitable ?

An Integrated Management System (IMS) is particularly suitable for:


Large companies.

Consolidation of different management systems for greater efficiency.

Regulated industries

Fulfillment of compliance requirements through uniform processes.

SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises)

More efficient use of resources and quality improvement.


The IMS is flexible and can be adapted to the needs of almost any organization. It is therefore a viable option for many types of businesses.

Can an IMS officer manage all ISO standards alone?

Whether an IMS officer can manage all implemented ISO standards alone depends on several factors:


Size and complexity of the company.

In smaller companies with less complex requirements, an IMS officer might be able to manage all ISO standards independently.

Expertise of the IMS representative

A single officer would need to have extensive knowledge in the areas of quality, environment, safety, information security, etc. to effectively manage the various standards.


Even if the IMS officer theoretically had the knowledge for all areas, the work can be very time consuming. Therefore, it might make sense to assign specialized teams or staff to specific areas.

Support from top management

A single IMS officer would need strong support from corporate leadership to effectively manage all ISO standards.


In short, while it is theoretically possible, practical feasibility depends on several factors such as company size, resources and specific expertise. In many cases, however, it would be advisable to have a team of specialists for the various areas.

Does it make sense to review all certified HLS ISO standards in an internal audit?

The idea of reviewing all certified HLS (High-Level Structure) ISO standards in a combined internal audit is possible, may have advantages and disadvantages:


  • Efficiency: a combined audit can save time and resources, as many requirements and processes are similar across standards.
  • Consistency: An integrated audit can help ensure consistency across management systems and minimize inconsistencies.
  • Synergies: By looking at the different management systems together, synergies can be identified and leveraged.


  • Complexity: A comprehensive audit covering multiple standards can be very complex and difficult to manage.
  • Expertise: The audit team must have sufficient expertise in all relevant areas to adequately assess the standards.
  • Depth: The more standards covered in an audit, the less detailed the review could be for each standard.

Whether it makes sense depends on several factors, including the company's resources, the complexity of the systems to be audited, and the expertise of the audit team.

What does HLS High-Level Structure mean?

The High-Level Structure (HLS) is a standardized structure introduced by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 2015 to facilitate the integration of different management systems


The main elements of the HLS are usually:

  • Scope
  • Normative references
  • Terms and definitions
  • Context of the organization
  • Leadership
  • Planning
  • Support
  • Operation
  • Evaluation of performance
  • Improvement


This standardized structure makes it easier for organizations to combine different management systems (such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001, etc.) into one Integrated Management System (IMS).

What does an integrated management system IMS mean?

Integrated management systems refer to the combination of different management systems, such as quality management, environmental management and occupational safety, within a single framework. This enables companies to coordinate their processes more efficiently, exploit synergies and improve compliance with norms and standards.

What training should an IMS Rep. have?

The qualifications of an Integrated Management System (IMS) Representative may vary depending on the size of the company, the industry, and the specific requirements. However, in general, the following education and qualification characteristics are desirable:


Undergraduate Education:

A college degree in a relevant discipline (e.g., business administration, engineering, technician, master craftsman, business administration, quality management) may be helpful.

Specialized training and certificates:

Training and certificates for relevant ISO standards (e.g., ISO 9001 for quality management, ISO 14001 for environmental management, etc.).

Auditor training can be very useful to effectively perform internal and external audits.

Work Experience:

Several years of experience in management systems, preferably in implementing and maintaining ISO certified systems.

Other Qualifications:

-Knowledge of risk management

-Leadership and project management skills.

-Good communication skills

Continuing Education:

Continuing education is important to stay current with standards and best practices.


It is not essential to have all of these qualifications, but a combination of schooling, specialized training, and hands-on experience is usually very beneficial to effectively performing the role of an IMS rep.

Which ISO management systems are suitable for an IMS?

An Integrated Management System (IMS) can include different ISO management systems, depending on the specific needs and goals of the organization. Here are some of the most common integrated ISO management systems:


ISO 9001: Quality Management.

This is one of the most well-known management systems and focuses on the quality of products and services.

ISO 14001: Environmental management

This system focuses on minimizing a company's environmental impact and complying with environmental laws.

ISO 45001: Occupational health and safety

This system refers to the safety and health of employees in the work environment.

ISO 27001: Information Security

This is about the protection of information and data. This is especially important for companies that work with sensitive or personal data.

ISO 22000: Food safety

This system is often used by companies in the food industry and focuses on food safety and quality.

ISO 50001: Energy Management

This system aims to optimize a company's energy consumption and energy efficiency.


These management systems can be integrated individually or in combination in an IMS, depending on the company's requirements and objectives. An IMS makes it possible to exploit synergies between the various systems, thereby increasing efficiency and effectiveness.


What are the advantages of an IMS ?

Integrated management systems offer several benefits, including:



Saves time and resources by consolidating management systems.


Achieves uniform processes and minimizes internal inconsistencies.


Facilitates compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.


Enables rapid adaptation to market changes or new regulations.

Improving the corporate culture

Promotes a culture of continuous improvement.

Risk management

Helps identify and manage risks.

Competitive advantage

Provides a significant competitive advantage through efficiency and compliance.


An IMS can thus contribute to the optimization and strengthening of a company in many areas.


What is the ideal composition of an IMS team?

An ideal IMS team could consist of the following roles:


IMS Representative

Overview of all management systems and coordination of the team.


Experts in specific management systems such as quality, environment and safety.

Internal auditors

Responsible for conducting internal audits and quality controls.

Process owners

Heads of the respective departments who manage the operational processes.

Support team

For administrative tasks such as documentation and data management.

Upper management

Strategic support and provision of resources

External consultants (optional)

Can be brought in for specific questions or to assist with implementation and audits.


External consultants may also be added to the team as needed. Team members should bring both expertise and practical experience in their respective areas and be able to communicate well with each other.

What are the main IMS synergies?

1. Documentation

Many ISO standards require the creation and maintenance of documentation. An IMS can centralize these requirements, minimizing the documentation burden.

2. Internal audits

Both quality, environmental and occupational health and safety management systems require internal audits. An IMS can enable a unified audit strategy here.

3. Risk management

Most ISO standards integrate aspects of risk management. An IMS can bundle these different requirements and provide a coherent risk assessment and management.

4. Continuous improvement

The principles of continuous improvement are embodied in many ISO standards. An IMS can serve to centralize these processes and make them more effective.

5. Employee training and awareness

Various ISO standards require training activities for employees. An IMS can bring these requirements together and enable a unified training strategy.

6. Compliance with legal and regulatory requirements

Many ISO standards place great emphasis on compliance. An IMS can help manage and monitor the various legal and regulatory requirements more efficiently.


By addressing these overlaps, an IMS can enable more efficient and effective implementation of the various ISO standards.