Compliance in check

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With compliance understandably high on every manufacturer’s agenda, Keith Tilley, CEO at Intoware Ltd, looks at the ways digitalisation can help companies ensure they’re fulfilling the required rules and regulations. 

Regulation has never been more important. In today’s complex world, it can feel like there are endless boxes to be ticked and hoops to be jumped through. Industry standards and supplier protocols can be overwhelming and call for thorough systems and processes to be put in place to ensure each requirement is met in the right way, at the right time, avoiding non-conformity penalties.

Moving these compliance checks over to digital formats can also feel overwhelming. Many companies are still reliant on paper trails and manual checklists to ensure processes have been followed.

But, with the right approach, digitalisation has the power to make sure manufacturing businesses meet their compliance requirements more efficiently and effectively.

Tracking evolution

Regulation is constantly changing, with industry standards, rules and regulations being reviewed and updated all the time.

For manufacturers, staying aligned with these ever-changing requirements is a mammoth task, and one we frequently hear causes headaches for businesses across the globe.

Digitalising critical procedures and guidelines allows businesses to easily update and distribute instructions in real-time, ensuring employees are notified of changes promptly and can always access the most current information. In turn, this helps organisations to stay aligned with evolving regulatory requirements and promptly address any necessary changes, reducing the risk of non-compliance due to outdated documentation.

Standardised processes

Equally, compliance often requires adherence to specific processes and protocols. Employees often have developed their own methods and shortcuts for tasks over time, but these deviations, however small, can risk compliance issues later down the line.

Digital work instructions serve as a powerful tool for standardising workflows and ensuring consistent execution of tasks across the workforce, providing clear step-by-step instructions to minimise the chances of errors or deviations from the established procedures.

This standardisation helps to maintain regulatory compliance and avoid penalties resulting from non-conformity.

Training personnel 

Compliance often requires employees to undergo specific training and hold relevant certifications. Digital work instructions can be used to create training programs, so companies can track and manage what training has been completed by each employee.

By monitoring training progress and certification validity, businesses can ensure that only qualified personnel perform tasks that require specific qualifications. This tracking capability also provides assurance that regulatory compliance is upheld throughout the workforce.

Greater transparency

Detailed audit trails can be difficult to maintain in paper form. Lengthy documents and extensive filing systems can cause confusion and, again, run the risk of non-compliance later down the line.

Digital audit trails, however, are much easier managed and maintained.

Often, digital workflows can incorporate features that capture and record details such as who has accessed the instructions, when they were accessed, and any changes made. By maintaining a comprehensive record of activities, companies can demonstrate compliance during audits and regulatory inspections, providing transparency, accountability, and traceability, enabling businesses to validate their adherence to regulatory requirements.

Data-driven insights

By collecting data throughout manufacturing workflows, organisations can use this information to identify trends and recognise potential compliance risks, allowing for remedial action to be taken before a problem occurs.

Automated reporting systems and notifications can highlight errors or steps that have been missed, allowing processes to be improved or made more efficient quickly.

By doing so, manufacturers can rest assured that by embracing digitalisation, they are maintaining a culture of compliance excellence: not just by ticking the boxes they need to but by proactively recognising and reviewing the processes and protocols they have in place across the business to create trust and confidence among regulators, stakeholders and customers alike.

 

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