Organisations often struggle with managing product compliance effectively and efficiently. For many of them, developing and executing compliance initiatives can be time-intensive and cumbersome without the proper resources. That’s because they don’t totally embrace the limiters in their lifecycle process or simply don’t consider them at all. Each limiter, if not addressed on time, poses a real threat to the compliance status of a product and the company’s future. Here in this article, we’ll look at how the below-listed limiters can affect product compliance.
#1. Bill of Materials
One of the most common threads behind product performance issues is in how companies manage the bill of materials (BOM). The BOM provides accurate data on the composition used in manufacturing brand products. It helps compliance teams determine if a part is considered “off the shelf” or has been created as a custom part.
In general, organisations mishandle the BOM or have a lack of thereof. As a result, a product may end up being non-compliant with specific international product safety or country-based regulations. If the BOM is non-existing or not accurate, it can even cause production to halt and increase operating costs. An easy solution that companies can implement to control and manage changes to the BOM is as follows. First, all parts must have a part number assigned, and this often includes the use of software and firmware. And secondly, if a specific part is used multiple times, it should always have a designator for each time it is used.
Having the latest Bill of Materials (BOM) and understanding the type of product data required for meeting specific product safety requirements is a precursor to building effective and efficient product compliance programs.
#2. Supplier Data Collection
Compliance professionals should, whenever possible, collect comprehensive product data at the material composition level from suppliers to save time, effort and money. This compliance practice is called Full Material Disclosure (FMD). It enables the product data to be used for all product safety regulations, minimising the number of times needed to request information from suppliers. The lack of FMD increases the overall cost of data and the overall regulatory compliance risks to companies.
An alternative to FMD is collecting supplier declaration-based data or Certificates of Compliance that can provide a due diligence trail to authorities.
Whatever approach is followed, supplier data collection and processing should not create overhead on existing resources and cause confusion in the supply chain with continual requests. Instead, these activities should be done in a cost-efficient and time-saving manner. A good practice is integrating a compliance management system that offers a digital supplier compliance interface.
#3. Handling non-compliance
When placing a product on the market, compliance with relevant product safety regulations is mandatory. But not always, all parts in a product are fully compliant, leading to product recalls, increased compliance costs, loss of compliance status or even product destruction.
To avoid non-compliance consequences, businesses need to make sure that their compliance professionals can track the compliance status of any supplied part at any time. Suppliers of non-compliance parts should be notified immediately, so they can replace the part in question or supply any missing documentation.
This can be easily solved with continuous collaboration between internal teams and external partners. But leveraging internal resources can be costly and internal systems may not be configured to use external sources of data. Implementing a third-party supplier compliance software solution, once again, seems to be the right choice.
To sum it up, with constantly changing product safety regulations and standards, manually rolling up data for hundreds if not thousands of products is resource-intensive and prone to error. Automation seems to be the solution that can positively affect product compliance management within organisations.
Understanding their IT landscape, companies need to stop postponing and finally implement software that can automate compliance work, reduce costs and increase productivity in compliance departments. A sound compliance management system can help compliance departments quickly process product regulatory compliance data, requests and requirements.
- Get useful tips on how to improve product compliance management in the workplace.
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