A management system is the way in which an organization manages the inter-related parts of its business in order to achieve its objectives. These objectives can relate to a number of different topics, including product or service quality, operational efficiency, environmental performance, health and safety in the workplace and many more.
The level of complexity of the system will depend on each organization’s specific context. For some organizations, especially smaller ones, it may simply mean having strong leadership from the business owner, providing a clear definition of what is expected from each individual employee and how they contribute to the organization’s overall objectives, without the need for extensive documentation. More complex businesses operating, for example, in highly regulated sectors, may need extensive documentation and controls in order to fulfil their legal obligations and meet their organizational objectives.
ISO management system standards (MSS) help organizations improve their performance by specifying repeatable steps that organizations consciously implement to achieve their goals and objectives, and to create an organizational culture that reflexively engages in a continuous cycle of self-evaluation, correction and improvement of operations and processes through heightened employee awareness and management leadership and commitment.
The benefits of an effective management system to an organization include:
MSS are the result of consensus among international experts with expertise in global management, leadership strategies, and efficient and effective processes and practices. MSS standards can be implemented by any organization, large or small.
This picture explains what are the different types of ISO documents supporting the management of an organization and what these documents deal with. Examples of standards for each quadrant are also provided.
Audits are a vital part of the management system approach as they enable the company or organization to check how far their achievements meet their objectives and show conformity to the standard.
In order to help the auditing related to these standards, ISO has released ISO 19011:2011 providing specific guidance on internal and external management system audits.
Many ISO management system standards have the same structure [PDF] and contain many of the same terms and definitions. This is particularly useful for those organizations that choose to operate a single (sometimes called “integrated”) management system that can meet the requirements of two or more management system standards simultaneously.
Standards are developed by the people who need them – that could mean you.
Technical committees include experts from both standards and industry and these experts are put forward by ISO’s national members. If you want to help shape future standards in your field, contact your national member.
Certification to management system standards is not a requirement. You can benefit from implementing these standards without being certified to them.
However, if you are looking to get certified to one or more of our management system standards, then you need to get in touch with an external certification body.
That's because ISO does not perform certification.
Read more about certification to ISO standards.
Certification is not the only way to show conformity to standards. Read more about conformity assessment.
Find out how many certificates to ISO management standards are awarded in each country, each year.
Useful to know when it comes to conformity.
We have a number of management system standards, each focusing on different issues affecting global business.
More information can be found by clicking on the following links.