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Heavily regulated industries face ever-changing regulation and legislation. It is increasingly important therefore, to ensure your organization puts the necessary processes in place in order to remain compliant when it comes to labeling. Improving the efficiency of labeling and artwork processes across your supply chain is one way to do this. Efficient labeling review and approval process across your supply chain reduces the time taken for products to get to market, allowing for time and money to be spent on other areas of the organization. Improved visibility and traceability will also ensure that you are able to remain agile, should changes in regulations occur. So, what steps can you take to ensure your supply chain is more efficient?

 

1. Consistency

 

Supply chains across Life Sciences tend to consist of many partners including contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs). They are also tremendously intricate, containing numerous layers of wholesalers and suppliers, dependent upon receiving accurate and timely labeling content. In the end-to-end process, compliant labeling is essential to smoothing the entire flow from product development right through to customer fulfilment. Labeling is entwined with numerous parts of the development and manufacturing processes, from the product itself, the packaging materials and the bulk transporter cases. Therefore, having one single source of content that is consistent across the entire supply chain reduces the risk of non-compliance and costly product recall.

 

2. Visibility

 

In a global marketplace, ensuring labeling interoperability is crucial. With local legislations requiring adherence and local translations of the original language, utilising a master file which contains the source content throughout the organization and the supply chain is essential, as it allows you to trace back any phrase, symbol or statement type to the original single source. Visibility is also the number one measure when looking to ensure compliance throughout the supply chain. When it comes to launching new products, or engaging new partners, many organisations tend to defer to the most recently used symbol or statement, which is not always the latest approved version. There must be visibility throughout the supply chain of the most recently approved content, who it was last approved by, and when it was approved. Ownership of each individual piece of content, whether regulatory, marketing, product development, etc. also needs to be captured and clearly defined.

 

3. Ensuring Connectivity

 

Connectivity between all stakeholders is a key element of decision-making in the supply chain. By being referred back to the same single piece of labelling content, all stakeholders in the organization will know that they are always using the most up to date, approved version. This will prevent inaccuracies later down the line and avoid time wastage and risk of non-compliance.

 

4. Reconstruction and Reusability

 

The majority of label content is held in documents that can’t be easily edited, modified or reviewed, such as PDFs, printed document and emails. Ensuring that this content is made available in a granular form, broken down to a specific phrase, statement or symbol will aid discovery and simplify the review and approval process. This will allow all stakeholders to discover the latest approved content with ease, rather than having to spend time searching for and extracting content from a range of uncontrolled sources.

 

5. Quickly Update and Repurpose Content

 

Storing labeling content as digital assets allows for a more integrated supply chain making labeling more transparent to all stakeholders involved in the process whether labeling is to be printed or published electronically (e-Labeling). This approach allows you to manage all of your labeling content from one single platform making it easier to share with multiple partners whilst maintaining consistency of content across all channels. This permits greater collaboration and sharing between all supply chain players and removes, reliance on either previously printed labels or local IT solutions as being the master source which can lead to introducing inaccuracies. It is extremely efficient for all players to be able to quickly update and repurpose content for different types of print and packaging as well as electronic media and this is only possible where there is a single approved source made available to all parties Following these 5 strategies will enable your organization’s supply chain to be as efficient and transparent as possible when it comes to labelling. This will also help ensure your organization is able to quickly respond to changing legislation and in turn avoid the risk of potential fines, brand damage and disruption to product shipment.

Dave Tarbuck
Dave Tarbuck