ISO 9000 & AUDITS WORLD CONFERENCE
Integration: The Square Peg and Round Hole Conundrum
Presenter: Terry A. Mors, Consultant Director, ERM, Inc. Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Keywords: Management Systems, Integration, Quality, Environmental, Health and Safety
A key theme within the revised ISO standards is integration. Top management encourages integration. Top management seeks opportunities to integrate. Seamless integration is discussed as the ultimate goal. “We should be able to look at our management systems through a single lens.” But consider integration as a spectrum, with one end of the spectrum being parallel, non-integrated management systems and the other end being fully integrated management systems. The degree to which any organization can achieve integration depends on several considerations:
• Where are you starting?
• What management systems are you integrating?
• What is your current organizational structure? The ISO standards now share the “Higher Level Structure,” making it easier to see the requirements that are common to the standards and thus are conducive to integrating. However, each standard still maintains requirements that are unique to the topic being managed, and these differences make integration a more complicated process. Some of these requirements are “convergent,” meaning integration is more natural and easier to achieve; this is the square peg in the square hole. Some of these requirements are “divergent,” meaning the integration is less natural, requirements are dissimilar, and integration can be more difficult; this is the square peg in the round hole. This paper will discuss the process each organization can go through when considering integrating management systems, those requirements that are convergent and those that are divergent, and the achievable goals that they can set when integrating management system requirements.