Monday, 6 January 2014

An integrated management system (IMS)

Further to our earlier post on QA, we have developed, with one of our Clients, an Integrated Management System, (or IMS for short).  It is proving useful because it works on a number of levels:
  • It aims to be a holistic approach to understanding the operational running of the practice.  The idea is that everyone can see the mechanics of the business and understand how their roles and responsibilities affect those of others in the office.
  • This should help communication in the practice and in time bring efficiencies in working practices.
  • The IMS strategy as shown below is more engaging and appears relevant to everyone, which the old QA acronym had difficulty achieving.
With greater engagement of the IMS in the office, its development should become more fluid with greater feedback on its operational performance and efficiencies.


The IMS in a nutshell.
This is just an outline map for the practice.  The detailed file structure developed along these lines enables each employee to see clearly how their responsibilities mesh in to the operations of the business as a whole.  As a result, it highlights the importance of efficient and economic working practices.

As noted in the previous QA post, all policy documents relevant to the business, but required for reference (mainly), are centralised in the QA core documents section.  These break down neatly in to the following sections:


The official QA documentation needed to satisfy the requirements of BS EN ISO 9001:2008 has been greatly simplified.  Documentation needs to be efficient and relevant to the business.  The Quality Manual works as a very close response to BS standard.  The procedures document focuses on the six key procedures required by the standard:

  • Control of documents (4.2.3)
  • Control of records (4.2.4)
  • Internal audits (8.2.2)
  • Control of Non-conforming product (8.3)
  • Corrective actions (8.5.2)
  • Preventative actions (8.5.3)

The flow diagrams below should offer an insight in to the documents which they support.

Collective procedures on document control

Internal audits
(or reviews - which sounds more engaging)

Preventative and corrective actions

The main body of documentation in operation within the practice is working files, used in the efficient support of project running or office management.  

If this is of relevance to your practice, please contact us to discuss how an IMS can become an engaging response to a QA requirement.

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