In any recall or withdrawal situation, quickly removing product from the supply chain in order to protect consumers is always the top priority. Regulatory compliance, however, falls at a close second in terms of actions that help protect brand and business. In both cases, time is of the essence.
Ensuring regulatory compliance is a challenge no matter where you are in the supply chain or the world. The challenge has two common components:
- Knowing what regulatory requirements your company is subject to
- Getting the needed information submitted to overseeing agencies
Finding ways to meet these challenges with effective solutions can be the difference between uneasy compliance and lasting negative impact of a recall or maintaining a strong standing in the supply chain. Let’s approach regulatory compliance as an opportunity to not just satisfy legal requirements and industry oversight, but also to leverage business best practices for the good of your brand and consumer.
Managing different regulatory requirements depends on where you are in the supply chain and in the world. Regulations typically are implemented at the local level, with each governing authority requiring a customized set of information to be submitted in a unique way.
With a global supply chain, localized requirements mean additional challenges for many companies because the regulatory requirements may not be identical from one jurisdiction to the next. The rise of digitalization and other technology tools can aid in compliance with regulatory standards in any jurisdiction by standardizing the data used for processing a recall.
Standardizing and digitizing data connected to the recall process enable faster information sharing. At the same time, they allow for picking and choosing the information to share as needed to simplify compliance with the local and/or national regulations that apply to each and every operation.
Once regulatory requirements are identified, the additional challenge remains of how to get complete, accurate information into the hands of overseeing agencies. Whether a spreadsheet, or a standard format file (i.e. xml, etc.), or a direct transfer of data into a database, creating connectivity to speed data sharing poses the next challenge.
Again, digitalization and technology innovation has allowed connectivity to be easier. Digital forms and documentation make record keeping easier and open the possibility for automatic submission with the click of a button. Although these practices may not be in place yet, it’s encouraging to know that the vision can be reality in the not too distant future.
Above and beyond compliance
Regulatory compliance can be approached as a simple matter of checking the right boxes, but when it comes to protecting your brand and consumers the bare minimum isn’t the standard to strive for. The challenges of identifying and fulfilling regulatory requirements introduce significant limiting factors to the goal of brand excellence.
A business best practice is to have your own policies and procedures beyond what’s required by regulators. Regulatory requirements should be a subset of what you’re already doing to protect your brand and your customers.
Leverage technology to assist with form completion, create automated reports, maintain timestamps, logs, and documentation, and ensure data integrity. A third-party service provider that specializes in data management and digital communication can bring greater ease and efficiency to the process.