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Misconceptions of an Integrated ISO Management System

I wanted to share with you a discussion we had in our office a short while ago. 

Two of our experienced ISO consultants were speaking to a business owner about developing a partnership (where we support mutual clients) when they were a little taken aback when they were told that it was impossible to integrate an ISO management system. For those who are unsure what I’m talking about, let me explain briefly. This is when you have two or more ISO systems for example ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 27001. 

This company wanted ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 but were told by their ISO Consultants that this was impossible to integrate, so they opted just for ISO 27001.

My response ‘Who on earth told them that?!’

Now clearly, I’m not going to mention the parties involved but it made me think. There must be hundreds if not thousands of business owners out there who have more than one ISO system, that are being told it’s impossible to integrate them.

Having worked in this field for many years now and having a team who collectively have over 60 years of experience, I’d like to put the record straight. 

I can hear you saying, ‘why should I believe you’. Well, the simple answer is that we have copious amounts of evidence that it can be done and has been done, time and time again.  In fact, it is the only approach we take. Just ask anyone of our many clients. We’ll put you in touch if you want to speak directly to them and you’ll have all the evidence you need, but for now let me explain, why you should integrate your ISO management system.

Why should an ISO management system be integrated when you have more than one?

Speak to any business owner and ask what the most important aspects are of running their business and they are likely to tell you that they want to save time and money. Of course, they’ll be lots of other reasons, but realistically who wants to spend more than they need to and who wouldn’t wish time to slow down so you can get more into your day? Well, integrating your ISO management systems, just does that.

All the commonly used ISO management systems and I’d go as far as saying, even the uncommon ones, such as BS10008, will all have an aspect of a quality management system. 

If you implemented for example, ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 but treated them as two separate systems, you are simply duplicating a large chunk of your work, therefore wasting time and money.

You are also paying extra for your external auditor’s time, to audit two separate systems, therefore wasting even more money and time. Your auditor will have to audit what they have just audited because you have the two ISO systems documented separately. Crazy, I know but it is true.

Another factor to consider when implementing an ISO management system is deciding if you need at least two ISO systems. Implementing them at the same time will save you money, if you implement them separately, you will be paying nearly twice as much to your chosen certification body and for your consultant’s fees, if you use one. 

What should I do, now I know this?

Start by comparing your two or more ISO systems and identify where the duplications are and merge them.  For example, if you still maintain an ISO manual (and we recommend that you do), then just have the one. You’ll be surprised how many duplications you will have.

Speak to your certification body and tell them what you are planning or have completed and that you now want all future audits to be based around an integrated system. You should at a minimum save one day of audit time and importantly money and your time.

If you are unsure how to integrate the rest of your ISO systems, seek a reputable ISO Consultant.  Check out their track record, any testimonials or case studies. Let them know your plan and if they tell you this cannot be done, then simply move on to the next one on your list.

Remember this is your time and money that is being wasted.

Of course, if you want to add us here at Synergos Consultancy to your list of reputable ISO Consultants then we’ll be happy to talk you through the steps and support we provide.

Just call us on 01484 666160 or email to get through to one of our superstars, who will ensure you are given practical advice on how you can save time and money by integrating your ISO systems.

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Jenny Kilburn
Completed my Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in 2012 I was looking to start my own business. With over 10 years improving and streamlining business systems, I grasped an opportunity to assist a local business to improve their quality and communication processes by researching the requirements of a quality management system based upon ISO 9001 and conducted my first internal audit that resulted in 97 improvement recommendations. After a successful outcome, I was recommended again and again with glowing reviews and in February 2014, Synergos Consultancy was born. I now have the role of regularly reviewing and planning the strategic direction of the business to ensure that Synergos continues to develop, whilst at the same time, still actively working closely with some of our clients. In my spare time I love to attend the theatre to watch musicals, dance productions and plays. In 2019, I attended the theatre a whopping 24 times. I follow a plant-based diet which I absolutely love. A keen tick-tock follower, I have picked up a lot of interesting recipes. A firm favourite is Brussel sprouts and sriracha sauce baked in the oven. Delicious!
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