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Companies in every industry commonly tout the quality of their products and services, using it as a marketing tactic to differentiate themselves from the competition. However, for companies in highly-regulated industries such as food and beverage, medical device manufacturing, children’s toys, cannabis, and nutraceuticals, quality is much more than a marketing tactic — it’s a fundamental demand of doing business. Highly regulated companies must identify, track, and trace quality-related factors throughout their production cycles in order to remain in compliance with various federal, state, local, and industry regulations.
What are best practices for managing quality tests and related data in highly regulated industries? We have identified five strategies that will help companies better manage quality control.
1. It starts at the start
Product traceability is fundamental to managing quality tests and data — and it starts at the beginning. Traceability is the ability to uniquely identifying products throughout the supply chain, even as those products get manufactured into other products before being sold.
From the time a company receives products, ingredients, components, or raw materials into its warehouse, a system must be in place to track them. The amount of data companies track will depend upon the industry and the item. In its simplest form, tracing may consist of simply capturing the vendor, serial or lot number, and date received. For more complex situations, companies may perform a battery of tests on incoming items, recording the results and comparing them to thresholds and tolerances.