4 Steps to Achieve Workflow Compliance

Posted by Romeo Elias on Thu, Apr 19, 2018 @ 11:29 AM

 

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All companies, regardless of industry, are responsible for ensuring that their policies and processes are designed to comply with applicable laws and regulations. Because of the complexities of regulations and requirements, many companies struggle to secure compliance.

Companies who compliment their efforts with technology have found that staying compliant has become far less challenging. In the past, businesses had no choice but to rely on Excel sheets and Word docs to keep track of all their people and processes. It meant exchanging numerous emails and risking communications getting lost. Innovative software means the end to duplicate reporting and copying data repeatedly.

These centralized technology tools meant having confidence in your compliance and meeting regulatory requirements. Compliance workflow automation gives you the ability to audit multiple tasks into one process and schedule these processes to run on a regular basis automatically.

While the technology has been revolutionary, it still doesn’t relieve compliance teams of monitoring people, processes, and anyone else who must meet compliance obligations.

One of the crucial steps to ensuring compliance is streamlining workflows to ensure that only employees who should have access to specific data have relevant access. The purpose of a workflow is to divide processes into smaller steps which are passed to different people with the company.

Because of the multiple exchange of hands in documents, there could be numerous submissions for review and need for amendments. All the necessary steps should be taken into account and control processes must be enforced, and verification of information should be ensured.

Here are some tips track and monitor workflows to ensure that they achieve compliance, and nothing is overlooked or goes missing:

1. Identify Legal Obligations

What are all the compliance obligations and how do they impact your business? Once you have identified what these are, interpret them into specific compliance requirement statements.

Each of these requirements should be organized according to underlying regulations and codes along with common requirements such as policy development and monitoring requirements.

2. List All Parties Subject to Audits

List everyone who will be held responsible for meeting compliance obligations; this includes people, vendors, 3rd parties, sites, and processes. Because this will likely be a comprehensive list, be sure to organize them in department folders.

3. Evaluate Level of Risk

It’s impossible to monitor every aspect of your business at all times; instead of attempting to do so, focus your attention on where risk is highest. Identify who you would consider as compliance risks to your business based on criteria that evaluate the levels of risk.

4. Determine of Level of Attention

Set up your system to conduct audits regularly. Audit frequency should be established based on the level of risk. For obvious reasons, high-risk people, processes, and parties should be audited more frequently than those that are considered as low-level risks.

While the right software can help you achieve workflow compliance, the reality is that your employees are the risk that you will have the least control over. To become fully compliant, it’s important to not only streamline your processes and systems but also regularly review your people.

 

 

Tags: digital transformation, quality data, Compliance, Workflow, Workflow Managment, Workflow and Business Process Management, workflow automation, legal, Audits, Risk Management, risks

electronic signatures

Posted by Romeo Elias on Mon, Dec 12, 2016 @ 11:06 AM

After the advent of electronic record keeping and digitized business processes, the natural evolution for companies was to support electronic signatures.  The technological requirements to support this feature have been around for some time but the laws and regulations had to catch up.  Today, electronic signatures are very common and legally accepted in numerous industries to meet a wide variety of use cases and regulations. There are also many online signature tools like DocuSign and Adobe Sign (formerly EchoSign) that have become standard for applications in real estate, contracts, and insurance transactions.

Given the flexibility in interpretation of the applicable laws and regulations, there are many ways for business software systems to support electronic signatures.  Here are a few of the requirements you should consider when evaluating software options:

1. Association

Is the electronic signature associated with the specific electronic record or document that is being reviewed?  There has to be a technological and auditable way to link the electronic signature to the record.  This can be accomplished by taking a snapshot of the record when digitally signed and associating that snapshot with the signature.  It can also be accomplished by encoding the signature and other parameters to the specific document, i.e., inside the PDF or Word document itself.

2. Authentication

How do you ensure that the user digitally signing is authenticated? This can be accomplished in a number of ways.  Some systems rely on the user simply being logged in as a form of authentication and when digitally signing, the assumption is that it is the same person.  However, more stringent regulations like the FDA’s 21 CFR Part 11 require more verification that the user digitally signing is the same person and this can be accomplished by requiring the user to enter their password again at the point of digital signature to ensure authentication.  Some systems go further and require that the user maintain two separate signatures, one for the logging into the system and another for signing.

3. Auditability

How do you track and maintain a historical record of the electronic signature? Many systems provide a full historical trail of who signed the document or record and when it was signed.  Given the nature of electronic data and that it can be changed, some go further and track the exact information that was signed off on at the time of signature, so there is an exact record of what exactly was reviewed, even if the data changed later on.

Electronic signatures are critical for meeting compliance and for a comprehensive Quality Management System (QMS), among many others. In the not too distant future, electronic signatures will permeate all aspects of our lives.  I am sure the technology will evolve further and leverage other types of authentication and means of signature that we haven’t conceived of yet.

Tags: Paperless, Paperless Office, electronic signature, Document Control, QMS, Quality Management System, Quality Management Software, Workflow, BPM, Audits

Are You still customizing your QMS by modifying source code?

Posted by Romeo Elias on Mon, Dec 05, 2016 @ 11:21 AM

It is surprising how many companies today are solving their need to customize their Quality Management Software by modifying source code.  It is understandable why a company may want to customize a software to meet its unique business and quality processes.  However, software platforms have evolved so much that there shouldn't be a need to change or add code to the vendor platform.  Not only does this require expensive development skills and expertise, it also means that the company can no longer receive vendor upgrades to their platforms as they have branched out with their own custom solutions.

Intellect has built a full Quality Management suite on our award winning Business Process Management (BPM) platform, Intellect Accelerate, to solve this problem and provide many additional benefits.

  1. Below are just 5 of the many benefits of working with Intellect:

      1. 1. BPM Platform with No Coding Required

      2. BPM platforms are designed to enable companies to automate any business process. In addition, they are designed to enable constant changes to those processes. However, the process of automating a business process on a BPM platform does not require programming.  It is a drag and drop environment designed for business analysts and process owners. It enables them to control and make all the changes they want. They don’t have to rely on the vendor.

  2. 2. QMS Suite with Incredible Flexibility

  3. Intellect Accelerate is available with an out of the box QMS solution that includes all the core modules like Nonconformance Management (NCM), Corrective and Preventive Actions (CAPA), Document Control, Change Management, Audit, Training, Supplier Management and Risk Management.  But being built on a BPM platform means every one of these processes can be modified by the company to fit their unique needs and process requirements.  Companies can add, remove or modify data fields, change business rules, change the workflow model, create custom reports and dashboards, modify security settings and on and on.  All this can be performed quickly and through simple drag and drop, without programming or modifying source code.

  4. 3. Automate Much More Than Just QMS

  5. With Intellect Accelerate, you are not limited to just the QMS processes.  The platform enables automation of any business process.  This means you can expand and automate other processes like Customer Complaints and Returns, Project Management, Time Tracking, Expense Reporting, Capital Expenditures, HR onboarding, Employee Lifecycle Management, Inventory, Asset Tracking, Bug Tracking, Issue Management, Incident Reporting, Work Management and many others.

  6. 4. Always Access the Latest Release

  7. Despite all the configuration changes you make to the processes or additional processes you automate, you can always upgrade to the latest release, and get the latest platform tools, enhancements and bug fixes. You are not stuck with an outdated custom solution that can no longer benefit from vendor innovations because you have modified source code.  BPM is designed with the expectation that each company will configure its own unique processes and make changes to them.

  8. 5. Advanced Workflow

  9. BPM includes a core feature which is critical for compliance and audits – workflow management.  With workflow, you can model your process flows, assign roles and requirements, and easily track each process with status indicators, reminders, notification, escalations, reports and full audit trails. In addition, you can easily modify the workflow as your process changes and evolves over time.

  10. The days of customizing source code to modify quality processes to fit a company's needs are numbered.  Sign up today for a demo to see how easy it is to use and modify the quality processes built on Intellect Accelerate.

Tags: QMS, BPM, Workflow, Compliance, Document Control, Paperless, configurable, nonconformance, NCM, CAPA, Corrective Action, Preventive Action, Risk Management, Training, Supplier Management, Change Management, Customer Complaints, Audits, Quality Management Software, Quality Management System

8 Mandatory Elements of a QMS System

Posted by Chris Fisher on Thu, Sep 01, 2016 @ 01:31 PM

 

Managing NonConformance (NCM) is an integral part of an organization’s continual improvement plan. Intellect’s QMS Platform enables organizations to capture, track and maintain accurate, auditable nonconformance records through a centralized database to have transparency for departments, sites, or locations. This allows organizations the ability to exceed audit, nonconformance, and corrective and preventive action requirements of common standards including ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001.

Complaints Management software is needed for customer retention, compliance with industry regulations and avoidance of potential product liability lawsuits. Quality, compliance, safety, efficiency, and costs are impacted in addition to poor communication without a proper QMS in place. Intellect QMS includes change management, automation, version control, and workflows to communicate, acknowledge, and then implement any requirements.

Change Management software is imperative for closed-loop quality and requires automation, version control, and workflows. Intellect QMS integrates with any enterprise system, so full transparency is included in the change management process. The submission of change requests and control plan revisions can be included at any point in production.

CAPA (Corrective and Preventive Action) and product registration tracking are standard features to allow implementation of corrective and preventive actions. This will meet compliance with industry regulations including GMP, ISO 9001 and 14001, TSCA, REACH, etc. CAPA process workflows provide a controlled environment and reduce the risk of repeat issues by ensuring that defined CAPA solutions and processes are met.

Document Control/management organizes all documents into a centralized database with approval workflows and audit trails. This eliminates document redundancy, reduces the risk of manufacturing products with out of date SOPs, and creates efficiency in organizing documents.

Supplier Quality Management manages the process of qualifying, selecting, and monitoring suppliers and supply chain partners. Other requirements are supplier qualification workflows and tracking systems for supplier non-conformances and CAPA. Intellect QMS offers the flexibility and configurability to adapt to company specific business processes, requirements and needs. This allows organizations to define, track, manage, and report actions.

Audit Software reduces risk by enforcing consistent and harmonized processes while securely managing all information in a centralized system. In addition, it facilitates compliance with global government regulations and industry standards providing management the data needed to evaluate audit system effectiveness. It also provides auditors authoring tools required in the field.

Employee Training Software creates a single interface to develop and manage training initiatives organizationally. This allows enterprises to maintain a complete inventory of employee education levels, job descriptions and certification records. This will maximize the effectiveness of developing employee skills internally. Intellect QMS keeps employee certifications up-to-date as a full employee life-cycle enterprise management system.

If you’d like to learn more and create a QMS Proof of Concept app with Intellect, click here for a free trial. http://www.intellect.com/free-trial

 

Tags: QMS, Quality Management System, Quality Management Software, Document Control, Audits, BPM, Workflow, Training, Risk Management, CAPA, NCM, nonconformance, Change Management, Customer Complaints