A Quality System That Collaborates With Technology

By: Marci Lynn Crane

"I have always thought that the best way to find out what is right and what is not right, what should be done and what should not be done, is not to give a sermon, but to talk and discuss, and out of discussion sometimes a little bit of truth comes out."

---Nehru, Jawaharlal Indian statesman (1889-1964)

Purposeful discussion with the purpose of eventual action has long been viewed by the wisest of the wise as a process that results in better products or ideas than would have originally been conceived by one person.

This combined "effort of the minds" is often referred to as collaboration.

Technology as a Catalyst for Collaboration
Technology is the great advocate of collaboration since technology shrinks communication gaps and speeds essential communication.

Technology and Collaboration
For life science and high tech companies managing a quality system is one of the most essential, if not the most essential, aspect of product development and since the essence of managing a quality system lies in communication (i.e. documentation and training people to adhere to that documentation) collaboration capabilities should be one of the main features that a life science or high tech company implements within a quality system. A quality system with collaboration isn't enough however. The ever developing element of technology must be included for better and faster collaboration.

Collaborative Technology for Quality Systems
The benefits of investing in http://www.mastercontrol.com/solutions/collaboration_software.html"">collaborative technology for quality systems are many.

Listed below are just a few:

Benefit #1 of Collaborative Technology for a Quality System: Not just for People
Concepts of collaboration don't just connect people. With technology, processes can also "collaborate" automatically. Take for example the many processes that make up a quality system:

&bullDeviations Identification
&bullNonconformance Identification
&bullCustomer Complaints Management
&bullCAPA (Corrective and Preventative Action)
&bullInternal Audits
&bullEquipment Calibration
&bullChange Control
&bullEmployee Training

Many of these processes are currently handled sufficiently by life science and high tech companies but when information is transferred from one process to another, information has a tendency to get lost (communication gaps), delayed or even misinterpreted. With the right collaborative technology however, communication gaps shrink by automating process-to-process transitions (i.e. a customer complaint to a CAPA) and by allowing people to collaborate and confer as to whether process information is accurate. Misinterpreted information will also be less likely to occur if life science and high tech professionals search for a quality system that allows for the appropriate personnel to track process-to-process audit trails and approve those procedures when necessary.

Benefit #2: Documentation
The lifeblood of quality and compliance are the documents that control quality and compliance. In fact, it is often by documents that the FDA or any other regulatory organization will judge whether or not a life science company is adhering to a sound quality system. Life science and high tech professionals can search for an electronic quality system that will allow for the integration of document control. Document control systems (with collaborative features) can allow experts to collaborate together without meeting in the same physical location. A document control system can also provide version control, safety features, a centralized archive, web-based technology, reporting features and perhaps even additional features determined by a client's URS (user requirement specifications) and by the software company's ability to provide customized configuration.

Benefit #3: Saves People Time
Most importantly, the right quality system (with collaborative features) will save company employees time by providing document control, process connection features and the right kinds of services.

Conclusion
With collaboration catalyzed by technology, a life science company can more effectively manage a quality system.

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